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Nine-year-old takes 211-inch trophy

Oklahoma boy drops massive 41-point buck

The photos of a huge “41-point buck” and a young Oklahoma boy circulating through cyberspace are legit. Nine-year-old Baler Dee Stewart from Ringling, Oklahoma took the “buck of a lifetime” the very first time out hunting with a muzzleloader, the morning of Oct. 27, 2007. Officials are saying that the buck will likely have 30 scorable points (measuring one inch or longer), although Baler’s mom, Cindy Stewart, says “out here on the farm, we count the ones you can hang a ring on.” Those would total 41 points!

According to his mother, Baler dropped the monster buck with a potential score of 200-plus inches with his .50 cal muzzleloader while hunting with his dad, Patrick Stewart. Immediately after firing, the avid outdoorsman asked his dad if the gun was sighted in because it was his first time firing this type of weapon. “Is this gun on, Dad?” Baler asked. When his dad replied that it was, Baler said, “Well then, I got him, Dad.”

This deer has not been officially scored. He has 30 points 1 inch or longer. The wire in his horns went missing from my father-in-law’s garden in September. My husband was accused of tilling it under. My father-in-law had carefully placed it around his black-eyed peas, because a doe and two fawns ate them up last year. He was determined to not let the deer have them. My son seems to think his Papa Harley owes him some bounty since he apprehended the thief. Papa is willing to deduct the bounty from what Baler owes him for wire, seeds, fertilze, and labor that was put forth in the making of this BUCK OF A LIFETIME.

Word got around about the buck that morning before checking him in. When the buck, my husband, and son arrived at the check-in station, a crowd greeted them. They were there for about 2 1/2 hours. So many pictures were taken, my son said it gave him a headache. I’m not sure if it was the flashes as much as the swelling that made his head hurt.

Cindy Stewart, the mother of 9-year-old Baler Dee Stewart, who bagged a buck with an enormous rack, says he’s having fun with his fame. “He’s been enjoying it,” Stewart said. Baler Stewart was using a .50 caliber rifle on his first muzzleloader hunt in October when he harvested the animal. It has 41 points to hang a ring on, but officials are scoring it closer to 30 points. N

ever having fired a muzzleloader before, Baler asked his father Patrick Stewart if the gun was “on?” When his father confirmed that it was, Baler replied with “Well then, I got him, Dad.” Photos of the boy and his eye-catching prize have been circulating on the Web and in e-mails ever since.

The once-in-a-lifetime trophy rack came complete with a tangle of fencing wire wrapped around its tines. The wire, it was determined, came from the fence around Baler’s grandfather’s black-eyed pea patch. Baler’s father, who’d been accused of tilling under the missing fence portion, was exonerated with his son’s buck. According to his mother, Baler felt a reward was in order for bringing in the pea patch thief.

“Papa” Harley, Baler’s grandfather, replied that if asked, he’d deduct the bounty from the cost of the wire, seeds, fertilizer and labor that led to Baler’s big prize. Cindy Stewart says the holiday rush diverted the Stewarts from contacting the Boone and Crockett Club for an official score, but that’s on their to-do list. In the meantime, however, Mike Handley, chairman of Buckmasters Whitetail Trophy Records, measured the rack, scoring the deer at a composite of 228 7/8. The rack also received a Buckmaster’s Trophy Record score of 211 1/8.

Fame and fortune Many online posts suggest now that Baler’s climbed the Everest of deer hunting at such a young age, he may find it difficult to top his own success. When he’s asked about his plans from here, his typical reply is, “I’m gonna hunt.”

Cindy Stewart says the calls and requests for information and images just keep coming — Baler’s fame has led her to joke about a new vocation. ESPNOutdoors.com Papa Harley’s black-eyed pea patch raider, busted. “I guess I’m not your mom anymore,” Stewart said, “I’m just your PR woman.”

Despite the pomp and circumstance, Stewart says Baler is still a diehard outdoorsman at heart. He won a Playstation 3 in a recent contest in Texas, but was disappointed: He wanted the rifle they were giving away. He’s not sulking, though — Santa brought him a bow for Christmas and he’s looking forward to using it.

Baler’s love for the outdoors carries over onto the water as well, as his 8 1/2-pound bass on display in the Stewart family home bears witness. “We went fishing the other day and he outfished us all,” Stewart said. “We had a 4-pound, and 3-pound, and probably about a 2-and-a-half. And a half-pound crappie.”

Stewart says Baler’s love for hunting is innate. It began when he was 5. “He’s always been able to shoot — with a BB gun — just kill birds out of the air,” Stewart said. “He squirrel hunts. He hunts just about everything. He’s real good at shooting ducks.” A

round the time he started using his first air rifle, Stewart says Baler was asked to serve as a ring bearer for a local junior high school’s homecoming. At some point that evening, he was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up. “I wanna be a hunter and a fisher, and a part-time farmer and rancher, like my Dad,” Baler Stewart said.