George Moore's instincts told him this would be a good day for deer hunting. He had been pursuing an elusive trophy buck nicknamed "Most Wanted" that usually left him perplexed, but today was different.
Most Wanted was a cautious buck that spent the daylight hours in dense bedding cover before coming out at dark. Though Moore chronicled the buck's routine on game cameras, previous attempts to arrow the bruiser had been futile.
On October 18, 2010, when Moore climbed into his tree stand for an afternoon hunt, he noticed the temperature had cooled off. His wait was brief before does and a small buck appeared and fed beneath him. Suddenly, the deer were alerted to something Moore couldn't see. Peering intently into the nearby trees, the agitated deer slowly moved away.
Moore wondered if a bigger buck was approaching. With tensed nerves he slowly reached for his bow, knowing that something lurked just beyond his view.
In seconds, Most Wanted appeared from behind a big cedar! While staring at the huge antlers of a true trophy buck, Moore nervously drew his bow.
A DEER FANATIC
A resident of Jones, Oklahoma, Moore hunts some prime pieces of suburban property in eastern Oklahoma County surrounded by housing additions and a golf course. His hunting area produced a state-record typical buck 20 years ago and has churned out many good bucks since.
In 2009, Moore was told that a giant whitetail had been seen on the property next to his hunting area. It was believed the wide-racked brute shared time on Moore's property as well. However, Moore had never seen the buck nor captured any images on his game cameras. He wondered if the giant buck actually existed until a friend confirmed his suspicions with a trail camera picture of the brute.
One glimpse at the great buck was enough to cause Moore to become obsessed. His zeal drove him to strategically prepare the food plots on his hunting property before the 2010 season. In addition, Moore decided to feed huge amounts of rice bran to supplement the deer on his property.
Care was also taken to hang three tree stands near areas where the buck traveled, in hopes that Moore or his son, Matt, would get a crack at Most Wanted.
Less than a month before the archery season opener, Most Wanted was photographed directly beneath Moore's stand with a smaller 7-point buck. Moore was ecstatic that the phantom whitetail had a penchant for the area by his favorite tree stand and vowed only to hunt the deer when the wind was right.
In photos, the buck appeared to be very typical with all the ingredients necessary to score well — several long tines, mass and a wide spread. In an effort to carefully monitor the buck, Moore set out cameras along a creek where the buck traveled.
Since Moore's hunting property was surrounded by a housing addition and golf course, he wondered if others were after the big buck, too.
ARCHERY SEASON OPENS
On opening day of archery season, Moore's son, Matt, was unable to hunt, so Moore took his son-in-law, Chris McMiller, instead. McMiller was given his choice of the three stands and chose the "Hilltop Stand" where his father-in-law usually hunted himself. Moore decided to hunt a stand near the creek nicknamed the "Fenceline Stand."
As darkness approached that evening, Moore saw nothing, so he walked to his truck and drove towards McMiller's location. When McMiller wasn't at the meeting place, Moore glassed the distant tree stand and noticed he was still there.
Moore grabbed a flashlight and walked to the stand, sensing something was wrong. McMiller was shaking. He told his father-in-law that Most Wanted stood beneath his tree stand for 15 minutes, but he was shaking too badly to shoot.
"The buck's tines were long and dark-colored," McMiller told his father-in-law. "He was huge!"
Moore knew that if he was going to kill the big buck he needed to hunt the Hilltop Stand only, and the wind would have to be perfect.
THE FATEFUL DAY
Being in the oil and gas business, Moore stayed very busy for the next 10 days and was only afforded one day to bowhunt, which produced the same small bucks and does he had become accustomed to seeing.
On October 18, Moore had a feeling that his luck was going to change, and knew he needed to go hunting. Stymied by morning meetings at work, Moore called Matt and set up an afternoon hunt.
Moore and his son arrived at their lease just before 3 p.m., parked their vehicles, and loaded up in the Polaris to head to their stands. Moore drove Matt to the Fenceline Stand and then headed to his spot on the hillside.
At 3:15 p.m., Moore climbed 30 feet into his stand. He saw nothing for the first two hours. With a little more than an hour of light left, Moore saw some does and fawns approaching his location.
The deer were feeding 20 yards away when the biggest doe in the group snapped her head up and gazed intently into the trees. Unnerved by what she saw, the doe began easing away with the other deer.
In a few minutes, a 7-point buck walked out and began feeding on the rice bran. Soon the other deer returned, but their attention was focused on the woods. Coming out of the trees with his nose to the ground was Most Wanted, now feeding 20 yards away.
"I couldn't believe he was finally in front of me" Moore said, "I was going nuts. I closed my eyes for a few seconds, so I wouldn't get nervous from staring at his massive antlers."
When Moore opened his eyes Most Wanted was consuming the rice bran that mysteriously appeared every few days. Taking careful aim, Moore released an arrow that struck the buck's left shoulder. The buck spun and ran with the arrow buried to the fletching.
After waiting in his stand until 6 p.m., Moore called Matt with the good news. Matt soon drove up in the Polaris, and the pair started to look for the buck as darkness fell. Moore found hair near the spot where the buck was standing. At Matt's urging, they decided to return the next morning to look for the buck.
The next morning, Matt met his dad at the lease at 9:15 and they drove to the spot near the Hilltop Stand. Matt found a good blood trail and 80 yards away lay Most Wanted. When Moore saw the huge buck he was overcome with emotion.
"I thanked God as I grabbed the buck's rack," Moore said. "I was amazed. The buck was awesome!"
The antlers were a mainframe 7x7, but one side had seven sticker points. Moore took the buck to Terry's Taxidermy in Oklahoma City, where the veteran taxidermist estimated the buck to score in the 180s.
Sixty days later, the buck was officially measured and the non-typical rack grossed an amazing 206 5/8 and netted 191 7/8.