October 19, 2022
By Clifford Neames
“I knew something was wrong,” Mason Smith remembers thinking when he saw his damaged cell camera. That “something” turned out to be a real surprise. Mason learned the giant Oklahoma buck he was after was responsible for damaging his camera.
The camera had been sending pics of the deer, then it suddenly went dead. When Mason went in to see why, he discovered the tree it was mounted on was heavily rubbed, and the solar panel supplying power was destroyed. “That was a first,” Mason laughs. “He really did a number on it!”
The huge buck had shown up months earlier, and Mason had been prepping to ambush the deer and monitoring it with that cell cam. There was a small knoll overlooking an opening in the thick bottom the buck traveled, which looked perfect for a blind. He raked trails for quiet access and brushed-in the blind, so it wouldn’t draw attention. With a few weeks to go before the season opened, everything was in place.
Now, it was a waiting game.
Just before dawn on Oct. 1, Mason slipped in and got ready. Shortly after daylight he spotted movement, which turned out to be a group of deer. The big deer always seemed to travel alone, so Mason wasn’t expecting him to be with the group. A few does came into range, and two small bucks began sparring. The action was entertaining, but nothing to get excited about. “The setup was working,” Mason recalls. “I was really not expecting what happened next!”
Mason spotted the big buck rocking to his feet just a few yards away. “That big rack just popped up,” Mason laughs. “He had to have been bedded there when I got into the blind. And there he was, already in range!” Mason made a well-placed shot with his crossbow, and the monster buck wheeled away. But he didn’t get far. The broadhead did its job, tumbling him just out of sight.
There was no ground shrinkage on this one. The buck has a wide frame with sweeping long beams. And the rack sports giant G2s, G3s, and forks and stickers, putting the gross score over 180 inches. A true giant anywhere!