September 25, 2023
“You have to be willing to get into the thick stuff, further in than most hunters will go, to find the better bucks,” says Shawn Walker. And on Nov. 20, 2022, he and his hunting buddies pulled two from Arkansas public land doing just that!
The hunt began slow as the group of hunters pushed their way deep into the property each day. The nearly two-mile journey into the area they were hunting was not producing. “We had just a few days left before our permits expired, and we were getting tired,” Shawn says. “Then my cousin, Jeff, spotted a giant. And we got fired back up!”
The huge buck was close, but he was just off the public ground on private property. So, they had to let him walk. But knowing the big buck was around boosted their morale. The next morning, after making the long hike one more time, they ran into a bunch of opening day duck hunters, ruining that hunt. The clock was ticking, and things were not going well.
“We had to get out of there and regroup,” Shawn recalls.
Later that afternoon, the hunters jumped some deer walking to their spot. “We were talking about not having our guns loaded when we heard something in the CRP,” Shawn says. “The buck and a doe exploded out of their beds just five yards from us when we stopped to load! We named him ‘OMG’ after that, because both of us said, ‘Oh my God, did you see that buck?’”
Shawn was back in his stand early the next morning, and he only had that day and one more to get it done. At about 7:30 a.m., he heard a shot. “My first thought was, he got him,” Shawn recalls. “But there was no cell service, so all I could do was wait to find out.”
A bit later, Shawn passed a small buck. Shawn says that he was tired from the long hunt and prepared to give up at that point. Then he spotted a group of does, and he anticipated a buck being behind them.
The deer were inside of 50 yards when Shawn spotted massive antlers and raised his gun. That action alarmed the does. “I had to make a quick shot,” Shawn says. “And deer went in every direction after I pulled the trigger.”
Jeff, and a friend who had joined the hunt, Brian, showed up a few minutes later. “The shot I had heard turned out to be them shooting another buck, and they figured I had the big one down,” Shawn explains.
It didn’t take long for the group to recover OMG, and his size was overwhelming. The long trip out of there was a little easier that day, despite pulling the two bucks on game carts. Shawn’s 6 1/2-year-old trophy scores 201 7/8. A true public-land giant!