Oklahoma hunting: Morrison teen kills once-in-a-lifetime buck
Guner Womack woke up on Wednesday morning to discover he had many more friends on social media than he did the day before.
That's what happens when you kill a state record buck on Tuesday evening.
"I woke up with 200 to 300 more friends on Facebook and I woke up (Thursday morning) with 200 to 300 more friends on Instagram," Womack said. "People just wanting to see the deer."
Womack's compound bow kill of a trophy whitetail in Pawnee County was the talk of the deer hunting world this past week.
Womack, an 18-year-old freshman at Oklahoma State University, shot the 8x8 typical buck Tuesday evening on family land.
When photos of the buck were posted by Womack and his father on their social media, it went viral and there was buzz it might be a state record and even a world record because of its nearly symmetric antlers on each side. A whitetail buck with nearly perfect 8x8 antlers is very rare.
"The most impressive typical 8x8 that I have seen period," said George Moore of Arcadia, a longtime scorer for Boone & Crockett. "It's a world-class buck."
On Wednesday night, Womack had the buck's antlers measured by Oklahoma game warden Spencer Grace, and if the score holds, it will be the new Oklahoma archery record for typical bucks. It fell just short of the state overall record for a typical buck. Typical racks are antlers that are symmetrical on each side.
- Related to this story
- Article: Oklahoma deer is the talk of the hunting world
"The deductions killed it," Womack said.
Womack's buck grossed 209 4/8th inches and netted 192 6/8th inches after deductions, inches taken away by small differences in the 16 points. The state record typical whitetail is 194 inches. The current state archery record in the typical class is 188 4/8th inches.
However, Womack's buck still must be officially scored by a three-judge panel after a mandatory 60-day drying period for a final determination.
"It's still got a shot to break the overall state record," Womack said. "It's still got a shot with the panel."
The Morrison teen, who was the quarterback for the high school football team the past four years, said he is not disappointed the buck appears to fall just short of the overall state record.
"What I told myself going in (to be scored), either way, whether it was a record or not, I was going to be super happy with it," he said. "Either way, he is an 8x8 freak of a deer."
All the attention it's getting is proof of that.
"It's been kind of overwhelming, but at the same time I have been enjoying it," Womack said. "We have been getting flooded with offers (for taxidermy). We are just going to slow play it and kind of go from there. We really don't know what is going to happen with the deer yet.
"People want to feature him in expos and stuff. We will kind of cross that bridge when it happens."
Womack and his father, Steve, had been seeing the deer on trail cameras for a few years and knew it would one day be something special. Womack said his father could have had a shot at the buck last year but passed so the animal could continue to grow and spread its genetics among the herd.
"It ended up paying off," Guner Womack said. "He really blew up this year. He was always a 6x8 or a 7x7, but he didn't gain the inches on him until this year that really bumped him up."
The Womacks work hard at deer management on their land and strive to shoot only older, mature deer.
"That's kind of our goal," Womack said. "It's not necessarily about trophy status. If we can kill a 4-, 5- or 6-year-old deer every year, we are doing what we want to do."
Womack said his father worried the 8x8 buck would be killed by another hunter before they got a shot.
"My dad was nervous the past couple of weeks because of all the hunting pressure around us," Womack said. "We knew he was on us primarily.
"We kind of had him patterned, sort of, to two places. We kind of knew his little home area where he liked to spend most of his time."
On Tuesday evening, right at dusk, the buck appeared at a food plot where Womack had a deer stand. Even though Womack has been hunting since he was 4, it was the first deer he has taken with a bow.
"I grew up hunting because dad took me hunting. It's just kind of like a calming thing for me," he said. "If I need to get away, I go hunting. If I am bored, I go hunting. It's just kind of my thing."
At age 18, Womack already has taken a once-in-a-lifetime buck.
Winter trout fishing areas to open on Friday
The six winter trout fishing areas managed by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation are scheduled to open on Friday.
Hatchery-raised rainbow trout will be stocked in the waters at Blue River near Tishomingo, Perry CCC Lake, Medicine Creek in Medicine Park, Robbers' Cave near Wilburton, Lake Carl Etling in the Panhandle and Lake Watonga.
Trout are stocked year-round at the Lower Mountain Fork River below Broken Bow Lake and the Lower Illinois River below the Lake Tenkiller Dam.