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Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog

Resilience, Thy Name is Carnes

It'll take more than broken bones and bruises to keep Ken Carnes indoors during deer season.

On Sept. 9, 2012, Ken and his brother, Troy, walked into the woods to do some scouting, pruning and to move at least one ladder stand. Only Troy walked out of there.

Ken was on the 28-foot-tall ladder stand when the rope holding the top of it broke. Rather than ride the stand to the ground, Ken jumped.

The fall broke his ankles, a wrist, and fractured two vertebrae in his back.

Imagine the look on his doctor's face when Ken, who could barely walk on crutches and wore braces on his wrist, left boot and over his entire back, begged for an official okay to hunt opening day of rifle season barely two months into what promised to be a very long recovery.

"Go ahead," the doc told him.

"My dad, Kenneth, helped me dress that (opening) morning," Ken said. "He and Troy took some pillows out to a four-wheeler for me to sit on, and then Dad drove me down this hollow to a place we call the Third Pond, where Dad had a chair for me."

Ken's father, who was hunting about 50 yards away, shot a doe at 7:45. A few minutes later, Ken shot the buck that might have been shadowing her.

"I hollered for Dad, and he got up, walked over and asked, ‘Did you finish her?' It was then that I realized that the buck had come at me completely outside of Dad's line of sight. He had no idea what had just happened," Ken said.

[Read the rest of this article...]

You Shoulda Been Here Yesterday

One of the advantages of hanging a trail camera near your stand is being able to see what you missed by hunting someplace else.

Josh Prewitt and his brother-in-law, Scott Mays, are big believers in woods cams. They rely on the units to tell them what sort of bucks pass through the 80 acres they hunt in Rockcastle County, Ky.

Once the season begins, they've already identified which bucks will trip their releases or triggers. And checking the cameras takes a backseat to actual hunting.

Two days into Kentucky's 2012 modern firearms season, the bull of the woods stood in front of Josh's empty ladder stand about half an hour after sunrise. The hunter from Brodhead was 400 yards away, watching another ridge, when the trail cam documented the visit.

Two more days passed before the unlucky hunter realized he'd chosen the wrong spot. When he returned to the stand above the camera the same afternoon he saw the photo, he didn't really expect to see the deer.

Nothing was afoot. It was so slow and disappointing, in fact, that Josh decided to quit a little early.

After shrugging into his backpack, he took one last 360-degree look and listened intently before getting down from his stand.

The rest, as they say, is history. The 11th-hour shot was an easy 100-yarder.

[Read the rest of this article...]

No Snooze for Bob

Bob Weber of Ottawa, Ill., would've gladly remained under the blankets on Jan. 19, but his 12-year-old stepson, Jake, doesn't have a snooze button.

The boy rousted him at 4:30 a.m., eager to usher out the 2012-13 season. Bob, who'd been fighting an upper respiratory infection, might've preferred to stay indoors, but Jake's birthday also fell on that weekend, and he wasn't about to deny him an opportunity to shoot a deer.

Rather than go to their usual box blind, they hunted from the ground. About an hour after sunrise, Bob circled well out in front of his stepson with the intent of pushing a deer into the boy's lap.

He hadn't gone far when he saw about 20 does heading northwest up a ridge, away from Jake. There was no way he could get in front of them.

Bob suspected that one or more bucks might be following the herd, so he rested his muzzleloader against a tree and scoped the area behind the does. Sure enough, he spotted three bucks, the largest about 50 yards behind the others - all too far away to shoot.

It took awhile, and the stalk was stop-and-go, but Bob wound up creeping within 60 yards of and shooting the big one.

"Afterward, I walked back to Jake to tell him what had happened," Bob said. "As I neared my stepson, the cough I had been suppressing all that time finally erupted.

"Jake laughed and said, ‘You sound like John Coffey from ‘The Green Mile,' hacking up something fierce!'" he added.

The boy was elated. Bob was, too, when he finally stopped coughing long enough to smile.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Two Up, One Down

Whenever two hunters share a stand, deer are twice as likely to see or smell danger, right?

You can count Phillip Carter and Roger Hill among the non-believers. The brothers-in-law weren't in the same stand, but they were sharing a tree when a state-record whitetail foolishly wandered too close.

And, no, the deer wasn't blind or in need of a decongestant.

These guys spent most of the 2012 season hunting a giant buck on a new piece of ground they were test-driving. But when they learned a neighbor shot it, they reluctantly refocused their attention on their shared 80-acre homestead.

Seeing two trail camera photographs of an even bigger buck in their back yard made them forget about the mount that could've been.

A week after gawking at those pictures, Phillip and Roger went out together on Dec. 30. They were aloft by 3:30.

Not quite a couple of hours later, Phillip hissed, "There he is!"

When the magnificent buck was at 50 yards, Phillip wanted to launch an arrow. But Roger convinced him to wait.

[Read the rest of this article...]

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