Craig Day, News On 6
SKIATOOK, Oklahoma -- Deer rifle season wraps up for Oklahoma hunters this weekend, but it is still something many talk about all year long.
A hunting event with some of the world's best deer hunters was founded in Oklahoma and it promises big time competition, great entertainment for outdoor enthusiasts and no deer are killed.
At Craig Nichols' barbershop in Skiatook, they talk about a lot of things, just not politics or religion.
"You are trying to gain customers, not run them off," said Craig Nichols.
Instead, the conversation is usually about the weather, and almost always turns to hunting and fishing.
"I've been trying to figure out how to put a barber chair on my bass boat," said Nichols.
You see, barbering is Nichols' occupation. Hunting and fishing are his passion. So it's a natural fit that he's part of a deer hunting competition through the American Whitetail Authority.
It's no ordinary hunting competition.
Out of 2,000 potential hunters, the AWA picked 40.They got two days to scout land they'd never seen and two days to hunt. But no deer are killed; the gun is armed with a blank and a camera.
"The camera continuously takes video, but when he pulls the trigger it saves ten seconds of video taken prior to the shot, and then when the firing pin strikes the primer, you have a still image of where the cross hairs were located," said Greg Koch, AWA Founder.
From the digital photos, the contestants are scored on several things including shot placement.
"I shot two of the best bucks that I've ever shot in that competition, and they're still alive," said Craig Nichols.
"Deer hunting is about strategy, and it's about a lot of hard work in some cases," said Greg Koch.
But for Nichols, the hard work reaps big rewards.
"I rode bulls for 16 years and that competition was the most fun I've had since I quit riding bulls," said Nichols.
If this first year for the competition is any indication, the AWA event, will likely be one that catches on.
"I hope it's the bass masters of deer hunting," Craig Nichols said.
By the way, Nichols placed 6th in the competition. But for now, it's back to barbering as he looks ahead to competing again.
The video taken from the hunts, along with interviews of the hunters, will be turned into a TV show that will air on the Outdoor Channel in January.