Monster buck hunts take on a life of their own. Though some hunts are marred by calamities and blown encounters, others are punctuated with memorable outcomes. Destiny shines on a few chosen hunters each season. Below are two unique stories of hunters who were afforded second chances at trophy Oklahoma whitetails.
Booner For A Patriot
Brian Kinsey served in the U.S. Army for 27 years, before retiring and going to work for the Fort Sill Army Base in Lawton, Oklahoma. This military base, nestled in the rolling hills of the Wichita Mountains, is a training facility for field artillery and air defense artillery.
This area is home to a large herd of elk that were transplanted to the adjoining Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge in the 1960s. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation conducts limited draw-in hunts on the refuge, and there is also elk hunting available on the military base. However, Fort Sill is only open to active and retired military personnel, and Department of Defense employees. This premium area is also home to some gagger whitetails!
A few seasons back, Kinsey was bowhunting elk on Fort Sill when he dry-fired and blew up his Mathews DXT bow. Ironically, a hunting buddy offered him the same model as a loaner, and Brian was back in business. Kinsey arrowed a 5×5 bull shortly after.
On Nov. 3, Kinsey and his son shifted their attention to bowhunt whitetails. The rough, brushy area where they hunt was home to some decent bucks. Brian took the borrowed bow and climbed into a treestand about 40 minutes before dawn, and soon he heard sparring bucks nearby.
At first light, Kinsey caught movement about 80 yards north of him. After glassing the thick brush, he confirmed it was a deer, but was unsure of the sex. “I grunted on my call loud enough to be heard over the stiff breeze,” Kinsey recalled. “It got the attention of the deer, and it stopped and looked in my direction.”
The deer slowly moved towards Kinsey’s location offering brief glimpses. Brian sensed the deer was a buck and drew and released when the deer walked out. His shot was golden, striking the deer perfectly. Kinsey hoped the deer was an older buck because Fort Sill encourages archers to shoot bucks 2 1/2 years of age or older.
After a short tracking job, the deer—an incredible buck—lay 50 yards away. Carrying gnarly, non-typical antlers, the 23-point buck was magnificent! Later scored by Boone & Crockett Club scorer George Moore, Kinsey’s 6 1/2-year-old buck netted 196 2/8, easily qualifying for B&C.
“It definitely was a dream come true,” Kinsey noted.
Do-Over On A Double-Beamed Giant
Bo Cocannouer’s fights fires and saves lives. A hunting accident could have ended this courageous fireman’s life, but he was given a second chance. He was hanging a treestand without wearing a safety harness, when he fell and broke his back. Luckily, he wasn’t paralyzed, but he learned a great lesson.
“I always thought that treestand falls happen to other people,” he opined. “It’s only by the grace of God that I am alive. Now, I never go up a tree without wearing my Hunter Safety System.”
A couple of seasons back, Bo was hunting a big 9-point buck in Grady County, located in central Oklahoma. His young daughters, Hadley and Havyn, nicknamed the buck “Hank.” Cocannouer had an opportunity to arrow Hank … but missed.
Cocannouer admits he’s superstitious and his daughters play a big role in his hunting successes. “One of my daughters got a little bear with her kid’s meal at a restaurant,” he said. “Before I go hunting, both my daughters kiss the little bear and I carry it in my right pocket.
“I also use face paint and actually paint an “H” on each cheek—since it’s the first letter in each of my daughters’ names. Call me superstitious, but I want them to be involved.”
Cocannouer got photos of a big non-typical buck that his daughters nicknamed “Tank”—it rhymed with Hank. Tank was a shooter buck with a big body and an incredible rack.
On Oct. 8, a south wind gave Cocannouer and his videographer, Trent Wood, the edge, so they headed to their set at 4:30 p.m. for an afternoon hunt. The hunt was uneventful as dusk approached.
At 6:50 p.m., Bo whispered to Trent that they were going to lose camera light soon. Wood spotted Hank heading their way through his camera’s lens. As Bo prepared to shoot, Wood whispered, “Wait, there’s a monster buck behind him.”
Tank appeared and stopped 28 yards away. Bo released an arrow, striking the buck high. The great buck whirled and vanished into some nearby trees.
At last light, Hank returned with another buck. Bo glassed and recognized the buck was Tank. The giant buck appeared unharmed, but had blood dripping down his shoulder. This time Cocannouer took careful aim and made a double-lung shot. Tank travelled a short distance before tipping over.
Tank was massive, sporting three beams with 19 long, gnarly points. The huge non-typical scored near 200 inches.
“I was full of emotion,” Cocannouer explained. “I knew it was going to be a good day!”