Like a lot of my outdoor buddies, I’m not a big phone person. So when I get that rare call from my fellow hunter/golfer/videographer Rod Owen of Blue Springs I make certain assumptions.

Like a lot of my outdoor buddies, I’m not a big phone person. So when I get that rare call from my fellow hunter/golfer/videographer Rod Owen of Blue Springs I make certain assumptions.
1) He’s killed a big buck.
2) He’s made a hole in one.
3) He needs to borrow a piece of equipment.
He left me a voice message late last week at home, so I couldn’t wait to get back to him the next morning.
“Hey, tell me … is it a monster?” I asked, hoping to upstage his gloating.
“He’s a good one, but just haven’t been able to seal the deal yet,” he said.
“Oh, no!” I thought to myself. “No buck … means he’s gotten a hole in one. That’s even worse!”
Turns out, much to my relief, he needed to borrow some little electronic widget.
“Great … sure you can borrow it … no problem.” I answered, relieved and feeling a bit smug because now I also had him beholden. Yeah, I know it sounds a bit harsh, but, hey, any edge you can get on Rodney is a good thing.
He picked up the gadget later that morning, and when I noticed he had left a voice message on the machine the next morning, I assumed it was him thanking me because the video apparatus had worked.
“Hey, Gene Fox …” I heard him begin. I smiled.
“ … you are one big GOOD LUCK MACHINE!” My smile flattened.
“I got that 51⁄2-year old buck last night!”
Well, the truth is that Rod Owen doesn’t need my lucky charms or anyone else’s to put big racks on his wall or in his TV shows. He’s been bow hunting since he was 14 and, in the 30 or so years since, has 22 deer that fall into Pope and Young status.
The Pope and Young Club is an organization promoting the heritage and values of bow hunting. To be included in the club’s records program, a harvested animal must meet or exceed certain scoring criteria, which in the case of white-tailed deer is its rack. A minimum score is 125 for a typical, 155 for non-typical.
Again, Rod, has nearly two dozen with his latest scoring 1511⁄8, although I’ve got to say it looks bigger. His largest is 2004⁄8 (non-typical) that was taken in Clay County.
After numerous outings, he dropped this latest trophy in Caldwell County, near Polo, Mo. And it’s unlikely this will be his only big buck of the fall. In addition to being in construction, Owen also is a professional hunter of sorts and, with his partner, Doug Hampton of Monticello, Ark., will also be hunting Kansas, Illinois, Arkansas, Iowa, Mississippi and Oklahoma for big whitetail.
Perhaps you’ve seen them on the Outdoor Channel or on one of the various Drury Outdoors videos (druryoutdoors.com). This year they’re also a part of a reality-based celebrity series called Dream Season Celebrity. It will include professional bull rider J.W. Hart, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright, rocker Aaron Lewis of Staind and mixed martial arts fighter Tim Sylvia.
The deer that Owen took last week in Caldwell County wasn’t just any deer that happened to walk out in front of his and Hampton’s bow/video blind. It was a deer that Owen had specifically been hunting this season, and watching for several years. He knew exactly that it was 51⁄2 years old.
“I knew he was there,” he explained. “This year alone I went in to film him and have had six encounters with him. But we just couldn’t get the job done. It’s easy to go out and kill a 21⁄2- or 31⁄2-year-old deer. But they get nocturnal as they get older. And this one became very elusive and unpredictable. He was feeding in a cut cornfield every night, but he was coming from a different direction.
“The rack size doesn’t matter to me, but the deer has to be at least 41⁄2 years old. Like the deer this week, it wasn’t the biggest deer on the farm but it was 51⁄2 years old.”
And how is it, he knew he was that old?
“Because I’ve got pictures of him for that long,” Owen continued.
“Actually, I feel a little remorseful about harvesting the deer … because I’ve felt I’ve known him for that long. And actually, it’s the first deer I’ve shot in Missouri since 2003.”
As a side note, all the deer that Owen and Hampton kill, the meat is donated to various state Share the Harvest programs.
This weekend, the Drury duo have their viewfinder and bow sights focused on Kansas. But this time, Owen will behind the lens and Hampton at the strings. For Rodney, either device is fine with him.
“For me, it’s more satisfying to film somebody shooting one,” he said. “There seems to be a lot more things you’ve gotta do right – like focus, exposure and focal length.”
But then again, no matter what happens the rest of the season, Rodney already has his big deer. And made his phone calls.