The old saying "Records are made to be broken" certainly rang true in Oklahoma last season when two magnificent typical bucks were taken that shattered the score of the existing state record. Here are their stories.
When Jason Boyett hopped on his ATV to go pick up a friend who was hunting, he never envisioned getting a crack at a new state record. With a net typical score of 192 5/8 inches, Jason's buck technically was a new state-record typical for 10 days. After that, John Ehmer's great 13-pointer took the No. 1 spot.
THE JASON BOYETT BUCK
Situated three hours southeast of Oklahoma City is Rattan -- a laid-back community of 764 folks. And at Howard's Café -- the town's chief eatery -- you'll see photos of a big buck taken last fall. The café's proprietor, Howard Boyett, is quick to point out that the huge buck in the photos was taken by his son Jason.
Jason Boyett, 30, has become a deer hunting celebrity in Rattan after tagging a giant buck there last season. The soft-spoken hunter has been chasing whitetails -- "not too seriously," he admits -- for 18 years and hasn't taken many deer. "You could probably count the number of deer I've taken on one hand," Jason said. "I don't hunt as much now as I used to when I lived in Rattan."
The southeast Oklahoma native now resides near Tulsa, but each gun season he returns to deer camp in the rugged southeast hills. The annual gathering takes place at a cabin built by the Boyett family and their friends in the early '90s. It attracts family, friends and in-laws. The cabin is situated on nearly 430 acres of plantation pines in Pushmataha County, with wooded ridges, creeks and plenty of clearcuts. The spot has yielded a few good bucks previously, including several that qualified for Oklahoma's Cy Curtis Record Book.
Enjoying Deer Camp
In 2007 Jason had high hopes of scoring after learning of a big-buck sighting near the camp. The buck was rumored to be bigger than any other buck ever taken in the area. Opening day of gun season dawned to cool temperatures. However, Jason was moving slowly after a late night in camp. At first light, he and several other hunters went to their stands but failed to see any deer. The next morning, Nov. 18, 2007, Jason insisted that a friend from Texas, David Evans, hunt his personal stand. Jason planned to hunt elsewhere. Jason drove David to his stand and then took a stand near a small branch feeding a larger creek.
At 8 a.m. Jason returned to camp for breakfast, meeting up with another camp member, Walter Mack. After eating, Jason and Walter drove around the perimeter of the land to check for trespassers. Later they went to pick up David.
The Shot Of A Lifetime
As they were headed out to get David on an ATV, Jason came to a brushy clearing where he noticed a doe near a herd of cattle. Instantly, he and Walter spotted a buck as well. Walter grabbed Jason's .30-06 as the deer ran across the opening, but he lost the buck in the thick cover. Soon a third deer -- a much larger buck -- appeared and ran across to join the other deer, now standing still some 200 yards away.
Heavy brush obstructed Walter's view, so James requested the gun. "I told Walter to hand me my rifle because I had a clear view of the buck," Jason said. "I put my scope on the buck and fired, and he dropped."
Tuskahoma, Oklahoma, resident John Ehmer proudly shows off the top typical whitetail ever taken in the state. The long-tined, chocolate-racked 13-pointer netted 194 typical inches.
Elated, the pair hopped into the ATV and drove as far as they could across the rough opening before bailing out to check on the buck. Lying right where he had dropped was the huge buck, and the sight was something to behold.
"It was unbelievable," Jason said. "The antlers were sticking up, and he was bigger than any buck I had ever seen. I knew I was going to get this deer mounted. He had a very wide rack and we counted 21 points."
Some Astounding News!
Jason took the buck to Ringold, Oklahoma, taxidermist Mike Haley, who green-scored the rack and suggested that it might well be a new state record. Later on, in February 2008, Jason attended an outdoor show in Claremore, where an official B&C scorer presented him with two options. The first option was that Jason's buck could be entered as a non-typical with a score of 228€‚1/8. That would place it as tied for eighth largest in the state. The second option would be for the buck to be entered as a typical. With a gross score of 218 5/8 and a net entry score of 191 4/8, the buck might well be a new state record in the typical category. Naturally, Jason opted to go with the second choice.
From there the plot thickened. About that same time, rumors of another potential state-record typical out of Pushmataha County (also taken in 2007) began to surface.
THE JOHN EHMER BUCK
Tuskahoma's John Ehmer hasn't always lived in the sprawling Jack Fork Mountains near his southeast Oklahoma home. Actually the 57-year-old Oregon transplant moved to Oklahoma in 1999.
A professed meat hunter who previously hunted mule deer and blacktails in Oregon, John estimates he's taken around 70 deer. Since moving to Oklahoma, he has only taken eight deer, with his best being a respectable 10-pointer (whitetail).
Two years prior to the 2007 season, John had secured some river-bottom hunting property from a friend. There he hunted both blackpowder and rifle deer seasons. The spot is hilly with numerous oaks and loads of acorns, but John maintains that because of the abundant mast, the deer have always been difficult to pattern.
Some Noteworthy Sign
Last gun season he hunted his spot twice but saw only one small buck, so he shifted his efforts to Honobia Creek WMA after spotting a big-bodied buck there. On Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2007, John decided to go back to his friend's place for an afternoon hunt. Only 10 days had elapsed since Jason Boyett shot his potential state record. While looking around, John noticed some fresh rubs that formed a distinct rub line. He hunted all afternoon without seeing any bucks. While walking out at last light, he spooked two deer. One appeared to be a "big" buck.
The next afternoon, John returned to his spot around 3 p.m. After chatting with the landowner, he headed into the woods to check the area where he had found the rub line. He quickly noticed several fresh rubs that
looked like they had just been made. Excited by the fresh sign, John came to a clearing and stopped to survey the area. "My mother always taught me to stop and look before you walk into a clearing, so I did," John explained. "Fifteen seconds later a deer burst out of the woods into the opening."
As the deer ran by, John could tell that it was a big buck. With tensed nerves, the excited hunter couldn't get his scope on the running deer. Finally, as the buck quartered away, John got the big whitetail in his sights and fired his .300 Magnum. The buck then vanished into a creek bottom.
His Best Buck Ever!
Not sure if he had hit the giant buck, John had mixed emotions. After waiting briefly, he walked over to the area where the deer had been running, but he found no blood. He followed in the general direction the deer had run and crossed a small creek. There, just on the other side, lay the big brute some 50 yards away in an open area.
"I said, 'Holy smoke, what a buck!' John related. "You could have heard me hollering all the way back in town!" Two other hunters in the area were alerted by the commotion and came over to help John.
It was dark before John got the huge buck loaded in the truck. He then called his girlfriend Brenda to tell her the news. "You're not going to believe this," John said. "I've just killed a monster buck!"
The tone of his voice made an indelible impression on Brenda. "I figured John had taken a pretty good deer," she said. "He usually doesn't get that excited."
The buck was field dressed and taken to a check station, where the rut-weary bruiser weighed in at only 146 pounds. The jawbone was later examined, and the deer was thought to be 5 1/2 years old.
What did John do next? The same thing any serious meat hunter would do: He promptly cut off the deer's head behind the ears and began processing the meat! Not realizing what he had, John was satisfied to have taken his best buck ever.
A New State Record?
Word traveled fast about John's monster buck taken in the hills of Pushmataha County. The next day John drove around town, showing off his stubby deer head with the massive horns. Garnering outrageous reactions, John was encouraged by a local game warden to have the buck scored.
After the official 60-day drying period, the 13-point rack was gross-scored at 199€‚5/8. It netted 192€‚3/8 (topping Jason Boyett's buck by a mere 7/8 inch). It also bested the current Oklahoma state-record typical buck by over 6 inches. That buck, scoring 185€‚6/8 B&C points, was taken by Larry D. Luman in Bryan County in 1997.
Upon hearing the news about John's buck and the caping blunder, master taxidermist Terry Mayberry of Terry's Taxidermy in Oklahoma City donated a free mount and cape for John's giant buck. The buck was quickly mounted and displayed at the February 2008 Backwoods Hunting & Fishing Show, where it hung proudly beside Jason Boyett's huge buck. The tandem buck display garnered excited reactions from most show patrons, and according to show owner Dale Welchel, the two deer heads were the highlight of the event.
|THE JASON BOYETT BUCK|
|Scorable Points:||21 (9R, 12L)||TOTAL LENGTH OF ABNORMAL POINTS: 17 6/8|
|Tip-To-Tip Spread:||6 2/8|
|Greatest Spread:||22 6/8|
|Inside Spread:||20 1/8|
|Main Beam||30 5/8||29 4/8||1 1/8|
|1st Point (G-1)||6 6/8||7 2/8||4/8|
|2nd Point (G-2)||14 4/8||14 6/8||2/8|
|3rd Point (G-3)||13 7/8||12 6/8||1 1/8|
|4th Point (G-4)||11 1/8||10 2/8||7/8|
|5th Point (G-5)||2 5/8||5 7/8||3 2/8|
|1st circ. (H-1)||5 2/8||5 4/8||2/8|
|2nd circ. (H-2)||4 5/8||4 6/8||1/8|
|3rd circ. (H-3)||4 5/8||4 4/8||1/8|
|4th circ. (H-4)||4 3/8||5 0/8||5/8|
|TOTALS:||98 3/8||100 1/8||8 2/8|
|Gross Typical Score:||218 5/8|
|Subtract side-to-side differences:||-8 2/8|
|Subtract abnormal points||-17 6/8|
|FINAL NET TYPICAL SCORE:||192 5/8|
|TAKEN BY: Jason Boyett, DATE: November 18, 2007, LOCATION: Pushmataha County, Oklahoma |
Making It Official
For a buck to be certified as an Oklahoma state record, it must be panel scored to be official. And with less than one inch separating the two giant bucks, no one could predict what the outcome would be.
On July 9, 2007, a panel of three ODWC scorers (who are also B&C certified scorers) measured both bucks. Jim Edwards, Wade Free and longtime whitetail expert Mike Shaw meticulously scored both racks before some anxious onlookers.
Jason nervously watched as the trio measured and tallied the score on his impressive buck. They arrived at an unbelievable gross typical score of 218€‚5/8. After subtracting 26 inches in deductions, the net typical score was 192€‚5/8.
Tension mounted as John Ehmer watched while his chocolate-horned 13-pointer was being scored. With John's buck originally scoring 192 3/8, John knew that his rack would need to gain 3/8 of an inch in order to be the new state record. When the scoring was completed, several measurements had changed -- some for the better, and some for the worse. Mike Shaw tallied up the inches and arrived at a gross score of 202€‚1/8. After subtracting deductions of 8€‚1/8 inches, the awesome 13-point rack netted 194 B&C points. John Ehmer's buck would be the new Oklahoma state record.
Both bucks were taken in Pushmataha County, Oklahoma, only about 30 miles apart. The bucks were taken within 10 days of each other, and both giant racks were scored as main-frame 6x6s. However, that's where the similarities end. While the rack of John Ehmer's new 194-inch state record has a very typical frame with only one small sticker point, the 5x5 typical portion of the frame alone on Jason Boyett's incredible buck measures an unbelievable 218€‚5/8 gross inches (as mentioned), making this a world-class rack in a league by itself!
Add to this the 17€‚6/8 inches in non-typical points, and the massive rack nets 228€‚1/8 non-typical inches (after side-to-side deductions). But just for perspective, think about this: Had Jason's rack not had those eight abnormal points, it would have netted 210€‚3/8 typical points, besting the score of the former world-record James Jordan buck (206€‚1/8) by 4 2/8 inches!
Truly, Oklahomans have a lot to be proud of.
|THE JOHN EHMER BUCK|
|Scorable Points:||13 (6R, 7L)||TOTAL LENGTH OF ABNORMAL POINTS: 1 1/8|
|Tip-To-Tip Spread:||9 2/8|
|Greatest Spread:||20 7/8|
|Inside Spread:||18 3/8|
|Main Beam||28 1/8||26 5/8||1 4/8|
|1st Point (G-1)||7 1/8||6 5/8||4/8|
|2nd Point (G-2)||12 3/8||13 2/8||7/8|
|3rd Point (G-3)||12 7/8||12 3/8||4/8|
|4th Point (G-4)||9 6/8||8 7/8||7/8|
|5th Point (G-5)||3 0/8||5 2/8||2 2/8|
|1st circ. (H-1)||5 0/8||5 0/8||--|
|2nd circ. (H-2)||4 4/8||4 2/8||2/8|
|3rd circ. (H-3)||4 6/8||4 7/8||1/8|
|4th circ. (H-4)||4 5/8||4 4/8||1/8|
|TOTALS:||92 1/8||91 5/8||7 0/8|
|Gross Typical Score:||202 1/8|
|Subtract side-to-side differences:||-7 0/8|
|Subtract abnormal points||-1 1/8|
|FINAL NET TYPICAL SCORE:||194 0/8|
|TAKEN BY: John Ehmer, DATE: November 28, 2007, LOCATION: Pushmataha County, Oklahoma |