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Rich Copeland
Rich Copeland • 01/15/2011 • Franklin Co. , Missouri • Bow

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Gage Burns
Gage Burns

Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog

A Series of Fortunate Events

After a long day on the job, Mark Sharp wasn't sure he wanted to go bowhunting after work on Nov. 8, 2013. Although that's usually a good time to be in a deer stand, he hadn't seen much activity to that point.

While trying to decide what to do, the man from Washington Court House, Ohio, checked the wind direction several times that day. Still, it was hard to commit.

He wound up calling his brother-in-law during the drive home for their daily discussion of what they'd seen in the woods the previous day.

"He convinced me I should go out that evening," Mark said. "He said, 'It is Nov. 8, dude. You HAVE to!'"

Mark opted to go to a farm he'd hunted only twice that year, a place that had seemed devoid of deer. A buddy had mentioned that the neighbor had finally harvested his corn, which meant the resident whitetails would've been pushed back into the timber.

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Pleasantly Surprised

It's a pretty safe bet that he wasn't thinking about deer hunters when George Will, the Pulitzer-winning newspaper and magazine columnist, once said "The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised."

Dave Shedron, a 61-year-old volunteer firefighter and bowyer in Walton, Ind., won't argue with that.

So convinced last season that the buck at the top of his Most Wanted list was seconds away from slinking - or streaking - out of his life, Dave ignored the don't-look-at-the-rack rule and gawked.

"I was so sure my hunt was done, that it wasn't going to happen, that I began counting points for my big-one-that-got-away story," he laughed.

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Déjà vu

Stoked by trail camera photographs of an enormous Ohio buck, Lear McCoy spent a lot of time in a treestand in 2012, hoping to put his sight pin on the whitetail with sweeping main beams and gnarly bases.

He got his wish in November of that year.

Right at dusk one evening, the very buck he'd been hoping to see strolled to within 20 yards. A second later, Lear saw his arrow bury up to the fletching before the animal wheeled and left.

He thought he'd made the perfect shot, but he could find neither hide nor hair of the deer. A couple of weeks later, trail cam photos revealed why: It was still very much alive.

Shortly after 2013's first cold front hit the area Lear hunts, he retrieved new images of the deer, which had grown even bigger. So Lear began watching the forecast, waiting for the next significant temperature drop to signal when he'd go in and hunt the buck.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Sure Thing

Greg Reinhardt of Alexandria, Ky., isn't into scouting. He already knows exactly where he'll see the sunrise on opening morning of the Bluegrass State's rifle season.

He and his brother, Randy, refer to the honey hole as "the killing tree," although there aren't any trees there suitable for climbing. That's why it's his rifle setup. When carrying a bow, he goes someplace else.

"Every single hunter in the world would probably pass up that spot if he didn't have the experience we do with it," Greg told Dale Weddle, the BTR scorer who's writing the story for Rack magazine.

"It's usually a 10-o'clock-in-the-morning stand. When gun season comes in and the neighbors get to beating on (the deer) … here they'll come to our cedars," he added.

Sitting there is the closest thing the brothers Reinhardt have found to a guaranteed shot opportunity. The Killing Tree is at the end of a long ridge, offering a nearly 250-yard view down a little finger that leads toward a field.

[Read the rest of this article...]

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