Her father was the one excited beyond control this weekend, but 14-year-old Micalah Millard of Skiatook is the one likely destined for the record books with one of Oklahoma’s top five big bucks of all time.
That name will stand out in the record book listings as well. Hers is by far the largest record “typical whitetail” taken by a woman in Oklahoma and, though the record book doesn’t note the age of hunters, it’s a good bet she will be the youngest in that upper echelon as well.
The pair hunted Oklahoma’s youth deer season this weekend and got in close to kill a monster buck with antlers that green-scored 187 ⅛ inches. The long-tined buck sported a 12-point mainframe rack with a 24-inch inside spread and relatively few imperfections.
Gross measurement was 193 ⅝ inches, according to Malachi Millard, who readily admits his daughter was the calm and reasoned hand in their side-by-side buddy stand Saturday night as the big buck emerged from the woods.
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Whitetail antlers are scored to the nearest eighth of an inch with measurements that consider width, girth, length, and assess penalties for irregularities in the “typical” antler category that rewards standard main beams and tines. “Non-typical” antlers post much higher totals with points measured in all kinds of configurations.
Oklahoma’s largest typical whitetail on record, a Pushmataha County buck killed by John Ehmer of Tuskahoma in 2007, measured a flat 194 inches. Bucks that now stand in third and fourth place measure 188 ½ and 185 ¾, respectively.
With an “official” green score more than an inch higher than that current fourth-place deer it’s a fair bet the state has a new No. 4 — and near a certainty it has a new top-five buck (barring a rash of new trophies taken in the 2015-16 season).
The antlers have to cure for 60 days before the official measurement can be taken and the record certified. “I’ve never seen one shrink more than an inch,” said Bass Pro Shops Hunting Department Manager Chris Edwards, a friend of the family and longtime scorer, who measured the buck.
“(Malachi) texted a picture and said he thought it was about 170 and I told him, ‘You’re way off my friend, you’re about 20 inches short,’” Edwards said.
Malachi Millard admitted he’s not a trophy-wise hunter. “People ask me what a deer scored and I say ‘one to nothing, me,’” he said.
But seeing a record-class buck got his heart pounding anyway. As Edwards said, “you always get even more excited when it’s for your kids.”
Hunting a family ranch in McIntosh County this weekend, Millard decided to put up a trail camera on a distant part of the property that is seldom hunted. When he checked the camera Saturday morning it had more than 1,000 images, the last three of which showed a big buck no one had seen before had been there at about 4 a.m.
The pair erected their stand that morning, broke for lunch and returned at 4 p.m.
“We were in the stand a couple of hours when we kept hearing something moving in the wood line, just pacing back and forth,” Micalah Millard said.
A smaller buck appeared in the clearing near their stand, four does walked out, but still it sounded like something was in the woods. “I first saw him about 40 yards,” Malachi Millard said.
“My dad saw him first and I got my gun set,” Micalah said. “He was a lot more excited than I was. He was kinda freakin’ out, kinda as close to yelling as you can get in a whisper,” she said.
The buck steadily walked toward the group of does and ignored the father-daughter team in the tree stand in spite of Malachi’s attempts to grunt and stop the buck.
Micalah — who has hunted each season since she was 6 — ignored her father as well. “He kept whisper-yelling ‘shoot him, shoot him now’ and thankfully I didn’t listen because he told me to shoot him from the back,” she said.
Finally at about 125 yards the girl zeroed in on the buck, standing broadside, with her Mossberg .243 and Nikon 6 X 12 power scope and deflated its lungs. “It mule-kicked high so we knew he was hit good and we celebrated,” she said.
The nervous pair still watched as the buck ran about 100 yards and stopped before it entered the trees again. “This time my dad actually was yelling, ‘Put another shell in the chamber, put another shell in the chamber!” she said.
The youngster didn’t hesitate with a second shot, even though it was unnecessary.
“She hit him at the base of the neck and he went down right there,” Malachi Millard said.
The rest, one might say, is record-book history.
Kelly Bostian, 918-581-8357