John's Journal...

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

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

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.

I was hunting with a 50-caliber Thompson/Center Encore Endeavor, a blackpowder rifle. The advantage to the Encore is it’s a gun for any season. By simply changing barrels, you can hunt with a blackpowder barrel during blackpowder season, a rifle barrel during gun-deer season and a varmint-hunting barrel after deer season ends. The choices are even greater than that. You can choose between a multitude of calibers, and when you change a barrel, your point of aim changes very little.

So if you want to be a one-gun hunter, you can get a Thompson/Center EncoreClick to enlarge and by changing barrels, you can hunt at different times of the year for various game species with different calibers. If you’re a waterfowl hunter, a turkey hunter or an upland bird hunter, you can change the Encore by putting barrels designed for hunting these species on the frame. The firing system on the Encore remains the same, and the way the barrels attach to the stock and the trigger mechanism stays the same. So, all you have to do is have barrels for the species you hunt.

We were hunting the early blackpowder season in Oklahoma, and I was excited about hunting with the new T/C Encore Endeavor rifle. I had a Sightron scope on the barrel and was loading the gun with Black Horn 209 powder, a new type of powder that solves the age-old problem of having to clean a nasty blackpowder rifle after you fire it. This new powder requires little or no cleaning, is somewhat water-resistant and may signal a new wave ofcleaner-burning powders for the future of muzzleloading hunting.

I loaded 100 grains of powder into the rifle and seated a Click to enlargeThompson/Center Shock Wave 200-grain sabot bullet on top of the powder. The Shock Wave was a soft-tip bullet with great expandability and penetration. In testing, this bullet delivered a 28-inch wound channel.  But one of the features I liked best about this bullet was the sabot that it fit into – the Thompson/Center Super Glide Sabot. In many blackpowder rifles, you would need 29 pounds of pressure to load the bullet to have a tight fit of the bullet against the barrel to get good bullet performance. However, with the new Super Glide Sabot, I only needed 9 pounds of pressure to push the bullet down the barrel and seat it over the powder – an extremely-important factor while reloading for a second shot.

Once I’d made the decision that this buck met all the criteria for me to take a shot, I mounted the rifle and cocked the hammer. I watched the buck through the riflescope and let him come to within 100 yards of my blind. Then I waited for the buck to turn broadside. The buck never knew I was there because I’d bathed, sprayed-down and washed my clothes in Hunter’s Specialties Scent-A-Way odor-elimination products. Realizing a could can come from downwind as well as upwind, I knew I had to eliminate as much human odor as possible. Because I knew I was scent-free, I didn’t hesitate to let the buck come as close as I wanted him to take the shot. When the buck turned broadside, I squeezed the trigger on the Encore. As the rifle reported, I heard the smack that the bullet made as it hit the buck. I knew I had a lethal hit, so I watched the deer rather than reloading as quickly as possible. The buck jumped, walked about 10 steps, and then turned and started to walk back before falling over.

Because I’d hunted for so many years, I knew that the ground you saw from your stand, especially if that stand was elevated, often Click to enlargedidn’t look like the same terrain you saw when you began to search for a downed buck. So, while I was waiting in my blind, I took out my Bushnell BackTrack GPS, a new, easy-to-use and inexpensive GPS device that not only had a built-in compass but allowed me to mark three waypoints. Since 90% of hunters would use GPS units primarily to get from their trucks to their tree stands and mark where their deer went down, the new BackTrack might be the only GPS and compass that you would need. Because of its inexpensive price, you also could use it when you park in a large parking lot at an airport or for a major football game to find your car quickly and easily. Since I needed to wait on the buck (I always tried to stay in my stand 10 to 20 minutes after I shot before I went and looked for my deer, even if I knew the buck was down) I used the BackTrack gave me a compass heading to walk straight to the spot where I saw the deer fall over. Tomorrow, you’ll see the recovery and hear about other deer that were taken on this hunt.

For more information about Hunter’s Specialties fine Scent-A-Way scent-elimination system, go to or call (319) 395-0321.

To learn more about Bushnells’ top-quality BackTrack GPS, visit or call (800) 423-3537.

Visit or call (603) 330-5659 to learn about Thompson/Center Arms quality guns, ammunition and other products.

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

For more information about Sightron’s scopes and other products, call (919) 562-3000, or visit

Tomorrow: Another Hunter’s Success

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 3