John's Journal...

Big White-Tailed Bucks by the Bushel at Oklahoma’s Rut-n-Strut

How and Why I Chose My Buck

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: I’ve rarely ever hunted a place where all 8 people on a 5-day hunt either have taken nice deer or missed nice deer. However, on my recent trip to Rut-n-Strut in Sayre, Oklahoma, with outfitter Todd Rogers, that’s exactly what happened. This week, we’ll give you some of the highlights of the hunt and show you photos of deer taken on the hunt.

Click to enlargeIn the first hour of the first day of my hunt at Rut-n-Strut Outfitters in Oklahoma, I had two nice bucks coming toward me. One was a small buck, and the other buck was a mature 10 pointer that was 3- to 4- years old. Now I knew there were bigger bucks on the Rut-n-Strut property than the 10 pointer out in front of me. Rogers had asked the hunters not to take any buck less than 2-years old and to try and only harvest bucks that were 130 B&C or better. I knew this buck met those criteria. But during this first hour of a 4-day hunt, I thought about the fact that this ranch had produced some bucks that had scored 150 and 170 B&C. Therefore, making the decision on whether or not to pull the trigger was really tough.

However, 2-years ago, I had hunted in Texas where the bodies of the bucks were relatively small in comparison to the antlers that they grew. A 130-class buck would look like a 150- or a 160-class animClick to enlargeal when you considered the body portion in relationship to the antler size. I left that hunt and went to Canada where I saw plenty of 230-300-pound-plus deer. These bucks’ large bodies caused their antlers to look less impressive – especially compared to the small-bodied deer I had been hunting in Texas. On the first morning of that hunt, one of the biggest 8 points I’d ever seen walked out in front of my stand. He was so big, he waddled. And although I realized later his antlers would have scored in the high 130 to 140 class, I didn’t take the buck because his large body made his antlers appear smaller than they actually were. And every dayClick to enlarge throughout the rest of the hunt, I never saw a buck that big or had an opportunity to take a buck of that size. Ireally regretted not pulling the trigger on the first morning of that hunt.

Since then, I’ve come up with a new system of determining when to pull the trigger and when not to pull the trigger on a nice buck. As a photographer and a writer, my first concern is, “Will this buck be suitable for photographing?” If deer won’t look good in photos for some reason – if half of his antlers are gone, or his rack is malformed, for example – then I won’t take him. Then I ask myself, “Will I shoot that buck on the last day, if I already haven’t taken a buck?” In this situation, the answer was yes to both questions. He was a big, mature buck, he’d score more than 130 B&C and he was an attractive buck that would photograph well. Therefore, I made the decision to take the shot. Tomorrow, you’ll learn about the shot and what happens next.

To hunt deer, turkeys, quails, doves or predators with Todd Rogers of Rut-n-Strut, call (580) 799-1920 or (580) 225-6831, or email

Tomorrow: A Gun for All Seasons – the Thompson/Center Encore Endeavor

Check back each day this week for more about "Big White-Tailed Bucks by the Bushel at Oklahoma’s Rut-n-Strut"

Day 1: Lots of Big Bucks
Day 2: How and Why I Chose My Buck
Day 3: A Gun for All Seasons – the Thompson/Center Encore Endeavor
Day 4: Another Hunter’s Success
Day 5: More Bucks and More Stories


Entry 482, Day 2