STATE RECORD CROSSBOW NON-TYPICAL
RANDAL HARRIS - Wynne, AR
1/8 Year Killed: 1986 County: Cross
Points: Rt- 8 Lt- 8 Abnormal Inches: 29 5/8 Inside Spread: 28 4/8 Outside Spread: 30 6/8
Right MB: 30 4/8 Left MB: 29 2/8 Right Base: 5 0/8 Left Base: 5 1/8
Randal Harris was
born in Wynne (Cross County), but his family moved to the Hardy
area soon after he was born. It was there that he first started
deer hunting, using an old 16-gauge shotgun and slugs.
"I learned to hunt while I lived in the Ozarks, and killed my first deer when I was 11 years old," Randal reminisced, "it was a big doe. I didn't have any way to get her up to the house so Jackie Russell, who was the mother of my best friend, 'Crowbar' Russell, drove their '60 Ford truck down to where the two of us could load her up. Then she helped me skin the deer out."
After moving back to Wynne in 1980, Randal naturally continued hunting. Deer were certainly not as plentiful in Zone 4 as they had been in the Hardy area (Sharp County), and there was no gun season there at all for years (1980-86). However, bow season ran for nearly two months at that time, so Randal hunted first with a crossbow, then later switched to a compound. Today he has taken the final step in an evolution many archers undergo, and hunts with a recurve.
And he was successful. For years Randal Harris could lay claim to an almost unheard-of accomplishment. Not only had he killed the state's largest whitetail, with a crossbow, but the state's largest bowkill buck as well! In addition, his crossbow buck, the monster pictured with this article, was recently recognized as being the world record crossbow kill!
On an overcast mid-November day back in 1986 Randal was hunting from a treestand overlooking a trail crossing on 2,000 acres belonging to his Grandfather adjacent to Crowley's Ridge. The land itself is close by Village Creek State Park, a well-known big buck sanctuary where no hunting of any type is allowed. As previously mentioned, at the time Randal did his hunting with a PSE Foxfire crossbow.
"We had seen this particular buck several times that season, always in one particular area, and I had also found his shed from the previous year near there. I don't really have any big secret or really do anything special when I'm in the field. I don't pay particular attention to rubs or scrapes or anything like that. I just hunt the rut hard, and stay on a buck once I find him. The morning I shot this buck was the '40-some' straight morning I had hunted him. Not from the same stand mind you, but from one of several stands in the area where he stayed."
Such dedication and persistence is often what sets the successful hunter apart from the hopeful, particularly when it comes to the various forms of hunting done with primitive arms. On the morning when the big buck finally decided to take the trail that led to the crossing, Randal had been sitting in his stand since long before daylight. As is often the case, the shot itself was somewhat anti-climatic, and came at less than thirty yards.
Officially scored in 1992, the outwardly-typical rack netted 223 1/8 non-typical points. With a 28-inch inside spread, 30-inch main beams and G2's in the 15-inch range, it is without a doubt one of the most impressive heads our state has ever produced! In 1998 Gordon Whittington of North American Whitetail magazine listed the buck in his national record book, 'World Record Whitetails', as being the largest whitetail ever taken with a crossbow!
Oh, by the way, remember that shed Randal found the year before. There is now a national scoring organization for 'picked-up' antlers, The Shed Hunters Society. The monster left side was scored in 1997 and nets just over 100 inches, which makes it the highest-scoring shed ever found in this state! For Randal Harris, it's just a case of the rich getting richer!