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Justin Massa
Justin Massa • 10/20/2012 • Douglasville GA • Bow

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Barry Varnon
Barry Varnon • 12/20/2012 •

Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog

So What if the Meat Requires More Chewing?

When the McGuires go hunting, it's more like grocery shopping.

Ohio might be home to the country's most prosperous taxidermists, and Mahoning might be one of the few counties even nonresident hunters are able to cite. But the public and neighboring ground this family has prowled for the last decade has been little more than the Land of Does and Little-bitty Bucks.

Until last year.

A few ticks past 1 p.m. on Nov. 10, Brett McGuire heard splashing sounds in the creek behind his stand a few hundred feet from the boundary marking public land. He quickly spun around and looked, but he didn't see anything.

"I knew something was coming," said the hunter from Talmadge. "I heard when it jumped up on the bank, and I could even see mud swirling in the water where the deer had crossed. But I couldn't see anything that even remotely looked like a deer."

And then he did.

When the buck stepped out from behind a huge oak tree, Brett could see only its right antler, and the mass was incredible. Moments later, Brett took the 40-yard, quartering-away shot and watched the deer rocket away with his arrow protruding from behind the last rib.

"You're full of it," Brett's brother, Jimmy, answered his text afterward. "There are no monsters around here!"

It took some convincing, but Jimmy eventually came to help track the animal. After jumping the wounded buck, they gave up and returned to collect it the following morning.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Short Hunt Ends with new Michigan Record

Had it not been for trail camera photographs of two wonderful bucks and the opportunity to hunt from one of the most productive stands on the property, Robert Sopsich would've been content to spend the remaining half-hour of daylight inside his home on Nov. 2.

Even so, it took a hard sell from his younger brother, Donny, for him to bother suiting up and heading afield for a very short hunt.

The brothers from Milford, Mich., had to work an hour later than usual that day, which meant they didn't get home until after 5 p.m.  Robert had decided not to hunt, but Donny wooed him by reminding him that the rut was approaching and by offering up his stand.

It helped that nobody had arrowed either the big 12- or 10-pointers both men so desperately wanted.

Donny's stand is at the corner junction of two fields in Oakland County. Suspecting that deer might already be in one or both, Robert snuck through some pines to reach it.

Arrow nocked, he was more in still-hunting mode than in a hurry to climb a tree.

When he reached the edge of one field at about 6:15 (sunset was about 6:30 that day), the big 12-pointer just happened to be crossing it - well away from the stand. If Robert had been aloft at his usual time, he'd have never seen it.

Accustomed to practicing long shots, Robert made the 45-yarder look easy, though he admits he was about to fall apart at the seams.

After a two-hour tracking job, he and Donny recovered it together.

The 4 1/2-year-old 12-pointer had a dressed weight of 185 pounds, and it bests the previous Michigan (perfect-class) bow record by nearly 20 inches. Its BTR composite score is 186 inches.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Making the Best of a Bad Situation

Disciplining an employee who lives and breathes deer hunting by giving him a day off in mid-November, even without pay, is a bit like sending a child to his room with a game-laden laptop and a Popsicle.

After what happened to Will Durstine last year, his coworkers might be lining up for DLOs (disciplinary layoffs) in 2013.

Will normally works the second (afternoon) shift. Prior to Nov. 14, if the hunter from Acme, Pa., wanted to see the sunset from a tree, he'd have to wait for when he had a whole day off the clock.

The main reason he pined for an evening hunt in 2012 was a time-stamped trail camera photograph of a buck with a very large and unusual rack. It was working a scrape a few yards from his stand on property across the line in Ohio.

"My only problem with hunting this buck was that our hours didn't jive," he said. "It was most frequently in the area from mid-afternoon to dusk. I had to be out and headed to work by noon."

After work on the 13th, he drove to the property and spent the night in his Jeep; he didn't want to risk oversleeping.

Will had been in his stand a scant 45 minutes the next morning when several deer approached his setup from downwind. They busted him almost immediately and began snorting and stomping.

After that fiasco, he sprayed down with scent-killer.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Bucks Lost and Found

When it comes to deer hunting, brothers Steve and Scott Esker are "all in," both figuratively and literally.

The twins from Ohio have put more than 2,310 inches of antler in the record book during the last decade, several of which have appeared within and on the cover of Rack magazine.

The Eskers have lots of ground to hunt, and they're able to pick and choose which bucks to target by patterning them throughout the summer. Last year, both had eyes for a whitetail with exceptional brow tines, and they took turns hunting from the lone blind on the property.

Steve was in it on Oct. 18, and he drilled the buck during the last few minutes of daylight.

When he texted his brother for help tracking it, Scott was playing in a poker tournament.

"He was winning and couldn't leave right then," Steve said.

Eager to join Steve at the farm, Scott tried several times pushing all his chips to the center of the table – an all-or-nothing gesture that meant he could leave when he was out of chips. Every time, however, he won.

"He finally told the guys that he had a crappy hand and that someone needed to call him," Steve grinned. "That's when he finally lost."

They found the deer together, and it was Scott who found the single drop of blood that kept them on track.

There's a lot more to the story behind Steve's sixth entry into the BTR, which carries a composite score of 201 1/8 inches. You can read Ed Waite's telling of it in RACK magazine this fall.

[Read the rest of this article...]

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