OKLAHOMA HUNTER BAGS HUGE TYPICAL BUCK
By Mike Lambeth
Located in the heart of timber country is Rattan, Oklahoma, a rural community of 764 folks who prefer the less complicated life of a big city. The mountainous terrain there is logged extensively by large timber companies.
At Howard’s Café - the town’s chief eatery - photos of a big buck taken nearby last fall generate some interesting conversation. The café’s proprietor and namesake Howard Boyett is quick to point out to visitors, that the big buck in the photos was taken by his son Jason. Since, 30 year-old Jason Boyett, a Rattan native, has become a deer hunting celebrity. In fact, his giant buck tops the list in the state.
After hunting for 18 years, Jason humbly admits he hasn’t taken many deer. “You could probably count the number of deer I’ve taken on one hand,” Boyett stated. “I don’t hunt as much as I used to when I lived in Rattan.”
Nevertheless, each gun season Boyett goes to deer camp in the rugged southeast hills. The annual gathering takes place at a cabin built by the Boyetts and their friends in the early 90‘s, and attracts family, friends, and in-laws. The cabin is situated on nearly 430 acres of plantation pines, wooded ridges, creeks and plenty of clear cuts. The spot has previously yielded a few respectable bucks.
Last fall, Boyett had high hopes after being informed by his aunt and uncle, proprietors of a local convenience store, that a hunter had seen a buck bigger than any ever taken in this area. Jason was puzzled by the rumors, due to the fact that the only big buck ever seen on the property was a buck he had missed several years earlier. “I walked up on a big buck five or six years ago, and missed a close shot at him with my 30.30,” said Boyett. “We nicknamed the buck Old’ Mossyback. He was huge!”
Opening day of last gun season dawned to cool temperatures. Boyett was moving slow that morning after a late night in camp with relatives and friends. At first light, he went to his deer stand but failed to see any deer. The other hunters on the property also drew a blank.
The next morning Boyett insisted that David Evans, his friend from Texas, hunt his personal stand, while Jason went elsewhere on the sprawling property. Boyett drove Evans to his hunting spot in his Polaris Ranger, and then went to an area where a small branch feeds into a larger creek.
At 8:00 a.m., Boyett returned to camp for breakfast, where he met up with another friend, Walter Mack. Boyett and Mack decided to drive around the perimeter of their land to make sure no one was trespassing. After making the rounds, Boyett decided to pick up Evans to bring him in for breakfast.
Before arriving at Evans’ spot, Boyett noticed a doe mingling with a herd of cows in a brushy clearing. While surveying the opening, Boyett and Mack spotted a buck eyeing the doe. Mack grabbed Boyett’s 30.06 to attempt a shot at the buck - now running across the opening with a doe - but lost the buck in the thick cover. Soon a third deer, another buck, ran across to join the pair standing 200 yards away.
The brush made viewing the deer tough so Mack told Boyett that he couldn’t see the buck anymore. “I told Walter to hand me my rifle, because I could see the deer clearly from where I was standing,” said Boyett. “I put my scope on the deer and I could see one of the bucks in the waist-high grass looked nice.”
Boyett fired and immediately thought the buck fell when he saw the brush moving. With adrenaline coursing through his veins in magnificent doses, the pair hopped into the Polaris and drove in as far as possible to check for the buck.
Lying right where Boyett had suspected was the huge buck, and the sight was something to behold. “It was unbelievable,” Jason said. “His 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.” The buck had 21 amazing points and was wide.
Boyett hadn’t realized what he had just accomplished, but nervously dialed his cell phone to tell his dad of his fortune. “I told my dad, ‘I’ve killed the biggest buck of my life!’ But I think he thought I was exaggerating a bit.”
After loading the buck, Boyett picked up Evans and drove back to the cabin. Following some high fives at the cabin, Boyett and Mack drove to a local convenience store to check in the buck. Hank, the store’s owner told, Boyett the buck was the largest he had ever seen in all the years he ran the check station. A crowd of onlookers stopped by to see the buck and take photos.
After washing off the buck at Jason’s dad’s house, Boyett called a friend to come cape the buck. Jason and his dad took the buck to taxidermist Mike Haley in Ringold and were told Boyett’s buck may be a new state record.
Boyett’s excitement was short lived when malicious rumors swirled, accusing him of taking the buck illegally. Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation game wardens investigated Boyett, and exonerated him of any wrongdoing.
In early February, Boyett attended an outdoor show in Claremore where ODWC scorer Dick Hoar was scoring whitetail trophies. Being an official Boone & Crockett scorer, he told Boyett the buck was the largest whitetail he had ever scored.
Hoar methodically scored the giant buck and then presented Boyett with some options: Boyett could call his buck a non-typical with a net score of 229 4/8 - placing the buck tied for eighth place in the Oklahoma’s Cy Curtis Record Book, or he could call the buck a typical - with a gross score of 210 4/8 and a net score of 191 4/8 - making the buck a new state-record! Needless to say, Boyett chose to have his buck deemed a new state-record!
They say records are made to be broken. Boyett’s buck will be re-scored in July along with another huge typical touted to be an inch larger.