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Muzzleloader season provides an early opportunity for whitetail deer hunters. Before the rest of deer gun season opens in Oklahoma muzzleloader hunters take to the woods in hope that their scouting will pay off. October in Oklahoma is the first miracle, deer season is the second.  

For Cort Travis, a Junior at Oklahoma State University, his hunt to remember started weeks before. After pursuing dove on land he’d been given permission to hunt, once again he approached his landlord to ask for her blessing to place a trail camera on her property.  As the weeks rolled by with classes and college whatnots – the camera shared a gift.  

In the photos several bucks passed through in the night. Some large, with antlers standing tall in perfect symmetry. The one that peaked Cort’s interest however, had a barrel chest, stood straighter, and wore a non-typical rack amassing the lower left of the screen. That was the buck.

“I couldn’t believe the size of the deer we got on camera.,” Travis said.

Homecoming came to Stillwater  that weekend. Waves of orange flooded the area and Cort followed suit. However, he decided to forego the stadium and traded the crowd noise for the solitude of a tree stand. Having hunted almost every day of muzzleloader season Cort had passed on several bucks in hope of getting the chance at the non-typical that made a nightly appearance on the trail camera. Not once had it been photographed in the daylight hours, even when Cort moved the camera after a brief break in action.  

 All morning he sat waiting but to no avail. Finally, the evening came and in the distance Cort saw movement. Cort sent a text to his father sharing the news he may have seen the buck he’d been waiting for. The moments passed along with an encounter with a doe that made Cort fear would blow his cover. Luckily, his stars aligned, and he got a shot at the non-typical that had eluded him and the neighbors all this time. Cort harvested his dream buck on Oct. 29, 2021 – just two days before the close of the muzzleloader season.

Buck on trail camera.
Bucks on trail camera.

Cort’s buck will officially be scored at this year’s Rack Madness event taking place on March 1, 2022, at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s central headquarters in Oklahoma City. Cort and his roommate plan to lease their college hunting spot again, and were happy to share the meat with their generous landlord.

2022 Rack Madness
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