Kelly Bostian: Land development, a little luck pay off with big buck
BY KELLY BOSTIAN Outdoors
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
11/27/12 at 6:14 AM
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If deer season has been a disappointment for you so far, maybe you just need to keep your eyes open in the woods and find yourself a little good luck. That, and hunt on a leased area where your partners have worked hard to build up the deer population.
Nate McCollum of Stillwater hunts a 1,250-acre property in the Jack Fork Mountains owned by Dr. Edward Shreve, also of Stillwater. On the way to his stand the evening of Nov. 17 he found a horseshoe.
Whether the horseshoe served to keep the Devil at bay or spilled its good luck upon McCollum, the hunting party seems to believe the result was the appearance of a buck they called Crown Royal the following morning.
Steve Danley sent an email with photos of the buck along with the story of the horseshoe and Crown Royal.
"As you can see, he's holding his lucky horseshoe, which came very much into play on Sunday morning," Danley wrote.
Danley's stand was in the same neighborhood as McCollum's.
"My stand and area is below Nate's by 400 to 500 yards, and I kept getting pictures of (the buck) before, during and after the black powder season on my game camera," he wrote. "I named him Crown Royal then. We saw many really nice bucks before the season, but none of them measured up to him."
As Danley tells it, the hunters knew ol' Crown was in the neighborhood, so they held off shooting until one of them saw him.
"Nate with his horseshoe had the luck and got the shot," he wrote.
Danley said that Shreve and other lease members have developed the hunting property the past 12 years into a productive deer-hunting area with big bucks, using whitetail management techniques they learned through classes offered through Oklahoma State University and through the help of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and state biologist Jack Waymire. Shreve took a 150-inch-plus buck during muzzleloader season, he said.
McCollum's buck was a healthy 140 pounds field-dressed, good-sized for a southeast Oklahoma buck. Danley met with Josh Hughes at Coyote Creek Taxidermy at Mounds and they measured the 16-point buck, with three stickers of 2-plus inches each, with a green score of 193 inches.
Hughes guessed the age of the deer at "no more than 5 1/2" so, given good nutrition and no accidents while in velvet stage, it's possible the buck could have been even bigger next year.
Maybe McCollum has enough luck left in that horseshoe to give him a shot at some of Crown's descendants.
Still time to get out there: The feel of a cold front Monday had me wishing I were in the deer stand instead of behind the desk to pick up on some of the blessings that come with cooler weather. Generally it makes those does get up and feed a little more, and when the does are up, the bucks are up.
Peak rutting behavior probably is in our rearview mirror with this past weekend, but that doesn't mean it's over. In this "post rut" period, some does still will be coming into estrous, according to Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation big game biologist Erik Bartholomew. Some others may yet come into estrous again in 30 days if they were not bred this time around.
Cool weather had been lacking this deer season, although it's hard to know at this point if it has had any impact on deer hunters' luck in the woods overall. I have had some calls and email exchanges with hunters who said they just weren't seeing much movement.
Warm weather can do that. With the full moon and clear skies forecast this week, deer likely will move more at night with better visibility, Bartholomew said.
Biologists don't put much stock in the full moon having an effect on deer movements or the rut, but hunters sure do. With the warm weather and some rut behavior still in play I'd just recommend making the most of the time you have. Use all those extra tools you can - drag rags, calls, rattling antlers and the like. As long as the weather is comfortable, why not spend more time in the stand? You just never know when you might get lucky.
Original Print Headline: Land development, a little luck pay off
Oklahoma deer season
Rifle: Nov. 17-Dec. 2
Archery: Oct. 1-Jan. 15
Holiday antlerless deer gun: Dec. 21-30
See the Oklahoma Hunting
Guide for full regulations where
hunting licenses are sold or online
Nate McCollum of Stillwater holds his lucky horseshoe and the buck his hunting partners dubbed Crown Royal that he shot Nov. 18 in Pittsburg County. The buck's antlers green-scored at 193 inches. STEVE DANLEY / Courtesy