Oklahoma State student Cort Travis is extremely grateful to his landlord for allowing him to deer hunt on her land near the college.
During the muzzleloader season, the 20-year-old business management major from Edmond shot a giant nontypical white-tailed buck less than three miles from campus.
"I got the meat. I picked it up yesterday," Travis said Thursday. "I am taking her a bunch of it."
Travis, a 2019 graduate of Crossings Christian School, said he never expected to find such a massive deer on the 80-acre tract of land. The 22-point buck was a 10 x 12 that measures 213 inches before deductions. It can't be officially scored until after a 60-day drying period.
"I'm ecstatic," Travis said. "I still can't believe it."
An unexpected discovery
Travis and his roommate both were given permission by their landlord to hunt on the 80-acre tract. He went dove hunting on the property in September and received permission to put a trail camera on the land for the upcoming deer seasons.
Winter wheat is planted on one pasture on the land, primarily for cattle. The property has not been managed for deer hunting, but deer often travel through it, as Travis discovered.
"Little did I know the amount of deer that were there or the caliber of deer," he said. "Within two weeks of having the camera out, I got about 12 to 15 bucks on camera, and he (the big nontypical) just showed up out of nowhere.
"I couldn't even believe we were getting pictures of a deer that size."
Travis started seeing the big buck in trail camera photos every night for two weeks. He never got a photo in the daytime.
Then the buck disappeared from the trail camera photos for about a week, so Travis switched locations of the camera and started getting more pictures of the animal.
"By then, it was just about muzzleloader season and I'm hunting almost every single day for him," he said.
Travis was able to shoot the buck on Oct. 29, two days before the muzzleloader season ended. He passed on many bucks with his muzzleloader in hopes that the monster buck he saw on the trail camera would show up.
"I wish I could say I patterned this deer and did all the right stuff and it was all because of everything I've done, but that's not exactly how it happened," he said. "It just so happens I was in the right place at the right time. Pretty lucky."
After taking the buck, Travis learned a neighbor had been watching the buck and seeing it on his trail cameras for two years. The age of the deer was estimated to be 4 ½ years old, and the buck had a significant jump in antler growth in the past year.
"Apparently, the buck had put on roughly 50 or so inches from last year," Travis said. "He absolutely blew up."
Travis said the neighbor was OK to learn that another hunter had harvested the buck.
"He was very, very nice about it," Travis said. "He just wanted someone to shoot him that he knew. He wanted to get his hands on the deer just to see him. I took it by his house. He was really happy and excited for me."
One more year
Travis is having the buck mounted at Terry's Taxidermy in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma's 16-day deer gun season opened Saturday, but with a huge buck already bagged in muzzleloader season, Travis said he will be mostly duck hunting the rest of the year.
A junior at OSU, Travis and his roommate have already told their landlord that they plan on leasing her house for another year.
"It's in a really good location, right by campus," he said. "That's hard to find."
The perks aren't bad, either.
"I feel extremely lucky and blessed," he said. "I never would have imagined that I would get the chance to even hunt a deer of that size, let alone harvest one that size."
Sporting Clay Classic to raise money for Toby Keith's OK Kids Korral
The first annual OK Kids Korral Sporting Clay Classic will be Dec.11 at Silverleaf Shotgun Sports in Guthrie.
The Toby Keith Foundation opened the doors of the OK Kids Korral in 2014 to families whose children are receiving cancer treatment in Oklahoma City. All money raised from the event at Silverleaf will go to the OK Kids Korral.
It also will be a memorial for the late Ronald Fulkerson, a supporter of the OK Kids Korral along with his sons: Scott, Shawn and Steve.
Entry fee is $600 for a four-man team or $150 for an individual spot. To register or buy raffle ticket items, visit www.tobykeithfoundation.org. Deadline is Dec. 3.
Reporter Ed Godfrey looks for stories that impact your life. Be it news, outdoors, sports — you name it, he wants to report it. Have a story idea? Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter @EdGodfrey. Support his work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.
This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Oklahoma State student bags giant whitetailed-buck near campus