Former Major League All-Star pitcher Roy Oswalt wanted his daughter Arlee to take the best buck on his property in Lowndes County, and worked hard on it for two seasons.
It just didn’t work out.
So on Dec. 20, afraid the buck was moving too close to the property line, and with a 60-yard wide open shot at the monster 8-point, Oswalt decided time had run out.
“I shot him,” Oswalt said. “I really wanted Arlee to get him but I got scared since he was right there on the edge of the property that he might cross the line and another club would get him.
“And he really is a magnificent buck. I’ve killed a lot of big bucks here in Mississippi and on my property in Missouri and in other states up north and in the Midwest. But, this one is special. You don’t see 8-pointers like this. They are rare.”
Check these measurements that add up to a B&C gross score of over 204 inches for the buck, which has four sticker points that will hurt its net score:
* 27-inch main beams.
* 21-inch inside spread.
* Both G2s exceed 16 inches.
* Both brow tines are over 11 inches, and one splits into three points.
* Both bases are 6¾ inches, and not until the main beams pass the G3s do they fall under 5 inches and then just to 3¾ inches.
Those are amazing statistics, befitting a guy who put up some mighty fine stats of his own during 13 years in the majors, including the first nine with the Houston Astros. Check these numbers:
* 163 wins, 102 losses — a winning percentage of .615.
* two 20-win seasons in 2004 and 2005, after a near-miss of 19 in 2002.
* 1,852 strikeouts, compared to 520 walks.
* career earned run average of 3.36.
* three-time All-Star and a five-time Top 5 finisher in voting for the National League’s Cy Young Award.
Now two years into retirement, Oswalt hunts deer and enjoys talking about it, especially after taking this monster.
“He scores as an 8-point typical, and I scored him like three or four times and kept coming up with 204 inches gross,” said Oswalt, who grew up in Weir and now lives in Starkville. “Then I took him to (Dan Heasley Taxidermy in Raymond) and had him scored for a contest and he came up with 204 inches.
“When all is said and done, and we measure him in 60 days, I think he will net somewhere in the mid 170s. I looked through the Boone & Crockett book and you know they don’t have a lot of 8s in there. To get one in there (the minimum is 170 for a typical in the all-time listings) would be great.”
Yet, Oswalt was willing to give the buck to his daughter and she almost got him in the 2013-14 season.
“I bought the property up here three years ago, and I’m managing it for trophy bucks,” Oswalt said. “The first year, I saw a good 8-point with long brow tines and I was thinking he was a 3 ½-year-old then. I let him walk because I saw he had potential.
“The next year, which was last season, it had grown to be a main-frame 9-point with a drop tine, and I had him around 170 to 175 inches. Arlee was 9 and I wanted her to get him. One day we were in a stand together and he came out at 60 yards. I told her to get ready and...”
Oswald winced as he told the story.
“… then he picked up his head and turned a little bit and I saw that the other side, the left side which was opposite of us, had broken off just outside the brown tine,” he said. “I immediately nudged Arlee and said ‘Whoa! Don’t shoot!’
“With the broken rack, I didn’t want to shoot him and I had to tell Arlee why. I told her that if he survived until next year, that he’d be even bigger and that I’d let her shoot him.”
Arless didn’t go home empty handed that day.
“She shot a 125-inch 10-point buck that day, shooting right over this buck’s head to get him,” Oswalt said. “It was an older buck that appeared to be on the way down and needed to go and she got it.”
Father and daughter spent the rest of the 2013-14 season hoping the buck with the broken antler would survive. The buck was seen one more time, late in the season near the back end of the property near the property line.
“The rest of that season I worried about it getting killed,” Oswalt said. “I was thinking that with the antler broken like it was, hardly noticeable if you didn’t know to look for it, somebody might mistake it for a cull buck and shoot it, and it was not a cull buck.”
When the buck reappeared this year, it had added inches to its antlers despite reverting back from a main-frame 9 to a main-frame 8. It made up for it by adding great length and mass.
“I saw him during archery season and, man, when he walked out on me the first time, I had never seen anything like him,” Oswalt said. “I got him to 80 yards once with a bow but couldn’t do nothing with him and just kept a video camera on him.
“I saw him one more time when I had a gun, but he was going away and I didn’t want to risk a rear-end shot and mess it up. I let him go and passed on the shot.”
Then Arlee came to hunt and the two went to work in the buck’s home range.
“She and I, we hunted him hard five days in a row,” Oswalt said. “We never saw him and that was a concern. We had gotten a lot of pictures of him coming into a field planted with Mossy Oak Biologic late in the afternoon fairly regularly. Then, all a sudden, he quit coming. Arlee, bless her heart, wanted him. She passed on a lot of nice bucks, including a 150-inch 10-point to wait on the big one. He just never came out for her.”
Oswalt, who shares custody of his three children, ran out of time.
“I had to tell her that if the big buck came out, I would have to shoot him,” he said. “She was OK with that, but I started to think it wasn’t going to happen. She and I hunted him five days and then I hunted him nine straight after that. Finally, on Dec. 20, I saw him.”
“I had some friends hunting and after I got them all to their stands, it was about 3:30 and I went to the box stand on the Biologic field, the same place we’d been hunting him. A broke-rack buck came out first and then two does came out about 4:30. They were feeding in the field.”
About 15 minutes later, Oswalt took a look behind him and saw another doe walking into the field.
“She walked back in the woods and he was following her,” Oswalt said. “When she left, he did too. I didn’t get a shot, at least not a good one, and I let him walk away. He was gone for 20 minutes and I thought to myself, ‘oh no, I have messed up.’
“Like I said it had been about 20 minutes and then I looked into the woods behind me and there he was about at 50 yards. He was still following the doe, and all I could see of him was his head and his antlers. He wasn’t running the doe, he was just following her.”
The couple walked the edge of a 20-year-old pine plantation near the edge of the food plot. They walked in and out of brush, as Oswalt waited.
“I think the thing that really helped me was that those deer were still in the field, the broke-rack buck and the other does, and I think that eased the doe’s mind,” he said. “She walked into the field about 60 yards out. I knew he was following her so I just got my gun up and was waiting.
“We’ve got a lot of cypress in the area and he was behind one. Then he walked out, and I let him get clear all the while following him in my scope. He stopped and I pulled the trigger.”
The 7mm STW sent the kill shot right through the vitals.
“He ran about 65 to 70 yards and I was watching when he piled up,” Oswalt said. “I got down and went to him and let me tell you, you know how some bucks get smaller as you walk toward them, well, if anything, this one grew. The closer I got the bigger he got.
“Until you get your hands on him, you just don’t know.”
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