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Patrick Brueggen
Patrick Brueggen • 11/20/11 • Wisconsin • Gun

Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog

04
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...]

28
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...]

21
Not-so-Domestic Dispute Ends in Bloodshed

Marion Goodpaster was enjoying his ringside seat during last year's snot-slinging contest, but he really wanted it to end before the curtain fell on his Nov. 11 hunt in Ripley County, Ind.

The hunter from Aurora, Ind., was between a belligerent buck and an equally mouthy doe, both determined to send the other running for cover. Had it not been for another doe come to see what all the fuss was about, Marion might've gone stark raving mad.

He can blame - and thank - his son-in-law for putting him in the middle of the not-so-domestic dispute on his parents' 43-acre farm.

He'd first seen the buck about 5:30, when it exited a nearby thicket. Although the wind was blowing in Marion's face, which meant the buck couldn't smell him, the deer hung up well beyond crossbow range and began stomping and snorting.

Marion wasn't sure if it had spotted him or a yearling that was browsing near his tree, or if it knew some does were feeding in a nearby hollow.

Eventually, one of the does came up the hill and began stomping and snorting. The buck was at 60 yards at that point, but coming closer.

Buck and doe were stomping and pawing the ground at each other when the other doe came up over the hill, heading straight for Marion. When the buck noticed her, it started getting really agitated. And when the first doe saw her, she went berserk.

[Read the rest of this article...]

14
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...]

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