Cole Barthel has been chasing the deer for years, and he finally got a chance at him in late October
|Rack Report Details|
|Time of Year:||October 25, 2022|
|Weapon:||CVA .45 Muzzleloader|
All Things Hunting's Cole Barthel loves chasing big whitetails. This season, he tagged a great Oklahoma buck that stretched the tape. The 7 ½-year-old deer was a regular on the property he hunts, and the final chapter was written with great friends present for the hunt.
Barthel first started seeing the deer in 2019, when it was 4-½ years old. He was filming another hunter when the buck popped into the open. Since then, Barthel received trail camera photos of the deer each year. This season, he started hunting the deer hard, and put in a lot of prep hours alongside his buddy Kyle Barefield to create opportunities.
On Oct. 25, one such opportunity presented itself. After six days of bowhunting and walking a mile and a half in and out each day, it was time to pick up the muzzleloader. Knowing the deer generally left the area around Halloween, Barthel opted to get aggressive and pack something with a little more range — the .45-caliber CVA.
With highs in the 70s, and lows in the 40s, he and three friends — Barefield, Steve MacNelly and Matt Garger — went to the same spot. They set up in a long river bottom mixed with ag fields. They set up on the ground along the riverbank and watched as deer started moving across the river along their bed-to-feed routes.
According to Barthel, the big deer never really wanted to be around other bucks. It was usually alone, and never showed aggression toward other deer. Knowing that, he expected the buck to use a route slightly off the main travel pattern that most of the other bucks used.
Later in the afternoon, a buck that Barefield wanted to shoot walked into view. Unfortunately, the deer didn't offer a shot and faded into the distance. Minutes later, the big deer Barthel was after jumped down into the river and started drinking.
Standing about 200 yards away, they weren't sure what deer it was at first. Then, it was clear.
That's him, Barefield said.
It was on. While the deer continued drinking, the crew started scrambling to get set up on the buck.
Eventually, the buck started walking across the river, and that's when Barthel seized the opportunity. He settled in and took the 130-yard quartering-to shot. The bullet smacked the buck square in the shoulder. It ran about 60 yards and tipped over.
We put a lot of summer hours into having that opportunity, Barthel said. We love that part of it. I was just grateful and thankful to have that opportunity. I'm so glad we were all together for that encounter.
Looking back, Barthel said one of the best things he did to kill this deer was not hunting on opening day. The conditions weren't right, and he decided to back out. Even if he saw the buck, he likely wouldn't have gotten a shot.
Overall, the hard work led to a big 14-point typical scoring 174 inches. That's fairly rare, and a hunt Barthel won't soon forget.
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