By Alan Clemons, Managing Editor
A monster Oklahoma whitetail found by a mushroom hunter has the hunting world buzzing after the Boone and Crockett score tipped out at 199 4/8 … and it could have been higher!
Landowner and cattle rancher J.W. Hart owns the skull and typical antlers, which he said were found by a friend of his who was hunting mushrooms on Hart’s 80-acre property. The tract is not high-fenced, he said, and is surrounded by a 2,000-acre tract whose owners do not allow anyone to hunt.
Hart believes the deer died sometime during the harsh winter of 2011. If not for some rodent chewing on the tips of the long, majestic and near-perfectly matched tines, the “Oklahoma Mushroom Buck” could have topped 200 inches.
“It’s bleached out and has chew marks on the tips,” Hart told Deer & Deer Hunting. “Even with those, it’s still 199 4/8. I don’t know anything else about it, if it was hit by a car or a hunter shot and lost it, or if it just died. Our winter last year (2011) was one of the worst we’ve had.”
Never seen before
Hart said he runs 6-8 trail cameras on his 80 acres along with cattle, but they never had seen the big buck until his friend found the skull.
“Nobody I know of ever has seen it alive or gotten a picture of it, that we know of,” Hart said. “It’s just one of them deals, I guess. Now we’ll probably hear something about someone five miles from here who says they have pictures of it but we haven’t heard of or seen any pictures anywhere else. No one we know of has ever seen it and I’ve never seen hide nor hair of him.”
Hart said he found a shed about three years ago on his south-central Oklahoma tract that measured 89 inches. It was by itself and, he said, about 200 yards from his property gate. But he doesn’t believe it was the same one as the Mushroom Buck.
“I know they’re not the same because they don’t even resemble,” he said. “That one (the 89-incher) was full of trash and this (new) one’s real slick. I think they were two different deer.”
Area has good bucks
Hart said they’ve killed some good bucks in the area of his property, including a 180-class and five scoring more than 150.
“But none of them had any resemblance of this (shed) buck,” he said. “All I can figure is this deer came from somewhere else, maybe a long way. We just don’t have any idea.”
Hart is a former prostaffer for Drury Outdoors. He said there was no skeleton or other bones with the skull and antlers. He also said he’s heard about the accusations by Internet pot-stirrers.
“I know Drury has had the photos on his Facebook site and people think this was a high-fence deer, pen-raised, blah blah blah,” Hart said. “We don’t have a high fence. I don’t know anything about this deer other than my friend finding it hunting mushrooms.
“The guy who measured it for me does have a high fence and measures bucks all the time. He knows what he’s doing. He also knows his property and his deer, and he said he hadn’t seen this one and it didn’t come off his place.”
Hart said all the speculation and interest has bubbled into a big brew the last few weeks. He’s just tending his own business and minding the farm.
“I don’t know if it’s a state record and really don’t care about all that,” he said. “All I know is it’s a pretty good buck and it’s on my mantel.”
Special thanks to J.W. for setting the record straight on this deer, and to Drury Outdoors for their help in helping get the word out!