On Monday November 5, 2012, Tecomate Pro Staffer Duncan Dobie and I returned to our homes from our Traditions Muzzleloader whitetail hunt with Larry Ellis of Extreme Wildlife Adventures in the Oklahoma panhandle. True to the name of Larry`s outfit this was an exciting adventure to say the least.
As Tecomate videographer Matt Carmen and I were en route to Freedom Oklahoma from Denver, Colorado the day before our three day trophy whitetail hunt, we received word from Larry that a big mature 12-pointer with a double main beam and extra points had been showing up daily at one of his trail cams. My first thought was that one of us, Duncan Dobie or myself, was in for a quick easy hunt for known bruiser that was patterned. Heck, one of us might even be finished the first morning if Larry`s trail cam photos were any indication. But as is often the case with big mature whitetail bucks, that isn’t how the story goes. Big whitetails are masters of transforming confidence to hopelessness. Duncan would be the hunter on the hot-seat for this hunt. Duncan would hunt the big 12 at the buck`s most frequented known hang out.
Larry decided that in order to keep all our bases covered he and I should hunt at a secondary location near another trail cam where the 12-pointer had ventured about on at least one occasion during the last week. We would start our hunt at a bow stand perched high on a giant cottonwood tree on the Cimarron River bottom approximately a mile and a half from Duncan. The big 12 could easily show up at the bow stand. And scores of other good bucks that Larry had previously encountered were frequenting the bow stand area regularly. Larry performed guide and camera duties while Matt and Duncan hunted together for the known giant 12.
It was warm and humid the first morning. We enjoyed the sunrise on our initial outing with temps in the low 30`s. Winds swirled at twilight but I was still fortunate to have a great mature 10-pointer pass within range shortly after shooting light. Later a few does approached and picked us off as they crossed our scent line that whipped in the ever changing morning wind. We had an opportunity to end it all right there on the spot with the solid 140 class 10-pointer. But it was early in the hunt and there was a chance that the double main beam 12 that Duncan was hunting could fool us all and show up at the bow stand. We kept our powder dry.
On day two we awoke to slightly cooler weather and a steady west to northwest wind. The weatherman had promised highs for the day capped in the 60`s. We saw a couple of young bucks and few does but no shooters. Larry and I changed stands to close day two after we checked his five trail cams. No big 12 pics but we found that a heavy beamed tall 9-pointer had passed by trail cams twice in darkness within the last 24 hours. With high hopes of cooler temperatures yielding daylight opportunity at the big 9 point we set up on a high bluff above an open feeding area that was lined by a creek bottom and thicket. We struck out that second afternoon. We saw coyotes, quail, and turkeys but no deer movement at all. And still there was no action for Duncan with regard to the big 12.
On the last morning of the hunt no one had fired a shot. We were down to the wire. Larry and I headed back to the bow stand hoping for the best. Shortly after daylight we spotted the great 10-pointer that we had seen the first morning. He approached three does that were feeding close by in front of us. Although we were hunting pre-rut the mature buck did show some interest in the does. I shouldered my .50 caliber Traditions Vortek Ultralight that rested on my Bog Pod and aimed at the big 10 that was now only 80 yards out. Larry had the video rolling. Smoke filled the view finder and a white flag departed stage left. I had hit the buck solidly in his left shoulder. Larry, who was above me in the cottonwood, watched the buck go down. That’s when the real excitement started.
There is more though. The short story is that we got our last minute buck in the Oklahoma panhandle. But there are more details of the recovery of our trophy 10-pointer that involve a needed second shot opportunity, then a reloaded 50 caliber bullet without powder in the barrel, a bit of quick gunsmithing to undo my reloading error, and third and final finishing shot opportunity under trophy whitetail induced duress. The excitement level during the recovery of our buck was an “Extreme Wildlife Adventure” due to the antics that came along with an acute case “buck fever”. But all`s well that ends well. Thanks to Larry and the grace of God we were successful. We celebrated in a plum thicket on the plains and then enjoyed a significant deer drag back to our pickup. My tall tined heavy beamed muzzleloader 10-pointer was 5 years old and 200 pounds live weight, a fine Oklahoma Traditions Muzzleloader trophy.
As for Duncan Dobie and the rest of his hunt, there is a story. Duncan will fill you in on that one. Thank you Larry Ellis for the great adventure! You run a great outfit at EWA. I hope to return in the spring for the turkey version of Extreme Wildlife Adventures!
Be safe! Good hunting!
Posted by David Shashy