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November 24, 2009 by  
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I have been having a nightmare of a November. I have been sick with Swine Flu, hunted hard in Nebraska, and then hunted for almost a week in Kentucky, and did not score. That is whitetail hunting, right? It is the great equalizer. You can do it all right for a week or two when hunting mature whitetails, and still come up empty.

 Dejected, I left home on November 20th with the Panhandle of Oklahoma as my destination. I was to hunt with Rick Rhoads and Back Rhoads Outfitters ( )out of the small town of Laverne. This is less than 20 miles from KS, and 20 miles from TX. A few days before I left, Rick told me they were seeing some good bucks and the rut was going full tilt. I had hope again.

 The first morning, cameraman Rob Snider, and I climbed into a big cottonwood in a small riverbottom. It was cool, but the fog was so thick, we couldn’t see more than 40 yards for 2 hours. The wind eventually picked up and blew out the fog, and we saw some small bucks late morning.

 At mid-day, we went with Rick to another property to check a couple of trail cams. We had a few good bucks on film, the best about a 140 9 point. Rick wasn’t too excited, so we went back to the original ranch. I asked if Rick thought it would be a good move to sit on a food source for the evening hunt as I figured we would see a lot of does, and during the rut, where there are does, there are bucks. I like to play the percentages, and hope a big boy will come out chasing a doe, or come to check all the does on a food source.

 Rick said he had a setup on a triticale field. That is a hybrid of rye and wheat. The deer were hitting it hard, so I thought we should give it a try.

 It was warm and we had a 25mph wind, but almost immediately, does began filtering into the field. We had about 20 does and one 2 year-old 8 pointer chasing them around an hour before dark when we spotted 3 deer walking in down the field to my right about 350 yards away. One look through the binos told me that this guy was a no brainer, and if he would give me a shot, I was slinging lead on the firOK Buck reducedst night.

 When the big buck saw the does closer to me, he came on a steady walk and began nosing and checking them. When he got in range, I got steady and waited for the right shot angle. He was facing me head on and began eating, so I waited a bit longer. Finally when he turned a shoulder to me, I hammered him, and my November jinx was over.

 What a great mature Oklahoma whitetail. I honestly expected to get a crack at a 140ish buck and a 150 if I was really lucky. This Back Rhoads buck was 164” with 25” beams, a typical 10 point frame, a split G-2 and a kicker on a G-3. He is a fantastic old deer.OK Buck beams

 I hung around camp a couple more days and helped scout for some of the other guys still hunting. In that timeframe, every time I went out, I saw a mature buck that anyone would be pleased to have on their wall- the best being a straight up 10 pointer that I guessed at close to 160. One hunter took a photo of a deer at 300+ yards (he didn’t feel comfortable shooting that far) that we all think was in the 170’s. They have some great deer in western Oklahoma, and it is a true sleeper state for trophy whitetails.

 Enjoy Thanksgiving!  I am spending a week with my family, and then traveling to Iowa to muzzleloader hunt with Bill Winke. Hunt Hard…Tim H. 

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