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Bowhunters enjoy big final weekend at McAlester Army Ammunition Plant

Joey Vaughn of McAlester poses wih "Heartbreaker," a buck from the Army Ammunition Plant's "10 Most Wanted" list. [PHOTO PROVIDED]

Joey Vaughn of McAlester poses wih "Heartbreaker," a buck from the Army Ammunition Plant's "10 Most Wanted" list. [PHOTO PROVIDED]

The last weekend of the traditional archery hunts on the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant was historic.

For the first time, two bucks on the plant's "10 Most Wanted List" were killed on the same day.

On Nov. 11, a buck named Heartbreaker was arrowed by Joey Vaughn of McAlester and a buck named Eclipse was taken by Don Ritter of Atoka. Heartbreaker had a green score of 178 6/8, while Eclipse measured 173 4/8.

Hunters enter a drawing for a chance to hunt on the ammo plant grounds through the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's controlled hunts program. Only traditional archery is allowed on six consecutive weekends in the fall.

The plant has always publicized its "10 Most Wanted" list, but it doesn't necessarily represent the 10 biggest bucks on the grounds, said Ryan Toby, natural resources manager at the plant.

It's a list of impressive bucks that have been seen by plant personnel during the year, he said.

Heartbreaker earned its name because its main beams curve down and resemble a heart when seen from the front, Toby said. Eclipse was first spotted this summer at the time of the solar eclipse, he said.

In addition to Heartbreaker and Eclipse, six other bucks taken by bowhunters last weekend will qualify for Pope & Young and a total of 38 deer were harvested, Toby said.

"We hit the rut pretty hard last weekend," he said.

Every hunter who harvests a deer at the plant gets to bury a rock in the campground to commemorate the accomplishment, Toby said.

"We kind of got a mini-Stonehenge going on down here," he said.

Ed Godfrey

Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more... Read more ›

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