February 22, 2022
Five years ago, Tim Soli found a small, unique-looking shed antler on his hunting property in Central Oklahoma. That shed was only a few inches long, but it had multiple tines branching out and it quickly made an impression on Tim.
“He was just a gnarly-looking first-year buck,” Tim recalls. “I thought it was really neat for him to already have that character his first year.”
Tim kept the unique antler in his collection and didn’t think much more about it. However, the following year he was quickly reminded of the previous year’s interesting antler when he picked up the buck’s second-year shed.
Tim ran trail cameras on his property trying to get a picture of the wild-racked buck he had named “Curly.” But Curly turned out to be elusive, and Tim still hasn’t gotten a trail camera picture of the deer. However, he did on one occasion encounter the buck in the woods.
“We were recovering a deer at night on our property,” Tim says. “And we saw Curly on lockdown with a doe and another buck. That was when he was 3 1/2 years old, and he was pretty crazy looking. That’s when he became my target buck to find his sheds year after year.”
During two consecutive years, Tim found both sides of Curly’s rack. And so far in the 2022 shed season, Tim has found Curly’s left side.
“When I found his shed from this year, I was putting some protein feed out on the property for the deer,” Tim says. “And I just happened to look down, and I thought, that is a tine sticking out of the grass. I reached down and pulled it up, and it was Curly’s left side.”
Shortly after finding Curly’s shed, Central Oklahoma received some nasty winter weather, bringing snow and far below average temperatures to Tim’s area. Although Tim is excited look for and hopefully find Curly’s other side, he’s not willing to push the deer during a stress period to do it.
“With this weather, I’m not risking pushing the deer off their food,” says Tim. “So, I’m not feeling high pressure to go find that other side yet.”
Tim loves hunting whitetails, and he enjoys doing it with traditional archery equipment. Although he’s passionate about pursuing big whitetails, he says he is curious to see how old Curly can get.
“I’ve established a story with this deer,” says Tim. “So, I really want to see what he turns into when he’s a 6 1/2- or even a 7 1/2-year-old. I know some highly managed properties would cull a buck with irregular antlers, but I really look forward to finding his sheds every year.”