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Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog

World's Second Largest 4x4

Crestfallen, Mike Kemble looked at his grunt tube as if it were a turd.

He hadn't been in his treestand for very long on Nov. 3, 2011, when the 130-inch buck at the top of his wish list appeared 60 yards down the creek that wound through his favorite patch of woods. To coax it closer, the hunter from Newton Falls, Ohio, pulled out his tube and grunted softly.

He might as well have shouted, "Run away, fool!"

Blue flames shot out from under its high white tail as the deer rocketed out of sight.

"I wondered what the heck caused it to do that," Mike said. "My grunting isn't THAT bad!"

A few minutes later, an absolutely HUGE 4x4 was broadside at a mere 15 yards, which is when Mike's crossbow bolt sliced through its shoulder. Leaking like crazy, the animal collapsed at the end of a 60-yard dash.

"Later that evening, several of my friends convinced me that we should measure the rack," Mike said. "The numbers we got were unreal. If we were right, based on what I found on the Internet, the deer was one of the largest 8-pointers ever harvested. Maybe THE largest!"

Waiting for Boone and Crockett's 60-day drying period was torture, and widespread speculation that the buck might be a world-record 8-pointer didn't make it any easier. It had not occurred to Mike that Buckmasters has no drying period.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Screensaver Buck

Prior to the 2011 season, Christian Kincheloe, his father and brothers pored over thousands of trail cam photographs, hoping to see the giant buck that had strolled in front of their cameras the previous fall. They salivated over several whitetails worthy of their hit list, but there wasn't a single image of the big one.

Had the estimated 200-plus-incher been among those photographed, Christian would've recognized it. He'd used one of the 2010 photos -- minus the drool stain -- as his computer's screensaver.

Christian chose to see the opening-bell sunrise from a newly hung stand on the family's 145-acre farm in Daviess County, Mo. The wind probably kept many hunters indoors that day, but Christian, a teacher and wrestling coach in the Park Hill School District, wasn't about to let the weekend – his only time to hunt – pass without being afield.

Early into his vigil, he watched a basket-rack 6-pointer and a young forkhorn chasing a couple of does. When the activity slowed midmorning, he decided to still-hunt his way back to the cabin to share a cup of coffee with the guys and to see if they'd seen anything.

When he was within 85 yards of the last thicket between him and a cup of joe, he saw a buck low to the ground, slinking away from him. Christian continued forward slowly, intending to circle the island of trees in hopes of catching the buck in range on the other side.

Just as he'd hoped, the buck was there, along with a doe -- probably the only reason it hadn't left the county. When the lovesick brute stepped into the clear, Christian squeezed the trigger, and he was at the fallen buck's side almost before the shot's echo had faded.

Until that moment, he'd had no idea he was shooting at his screensaver.

A bit later, the Kincheloes settled in front of a computer to compare photos to the nighttime trail shots from 2010. It was the same buck, no doubt, but it had lost several inches from one year to the next.

[Read the rest of this article...]

There's No Place Like Home

It’s been said that the two happiest days in a fisherman’s life are when he buys a boat and when he sells it. Might the same be true for hunters and land?

Prior to a rainy Nov. 28, 2011, Eric Williams could’ve believed it.

He and his wife, Angela, fled the cramped suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio, in May 2010 to homestead 17 acres in Warren County. At the time, Eric had every intention of playing hard in his new back yard, but that didn’t happen.

“With Angela and me both working, and three boys who seem to be into every imaginable sport, I was just strapped for time,” he said.

Eric strolled the property a few times in 2010 and saw plenty of deer sign. He and his sons even erected a double ladder stand, but it sat vacant the entire season.

The first time anyone sat in the stand was in 2011, when Eric allowed his oldest boy, Tanner, to hunt alone for the first time. The kid wound up shooting his first antlered deer. Dad was thrilled, but even that didn’t inspire him to suit up in camo.

Inspiration came when he and a friend (who ribbed him mercilessly) rabbit-hunted the property and saw lots of buck sign.

“You could smell, see and feel the presence of a dominant buck,” Eric said.

On Nov. 28, opening day of gun season, Eric woke up at 5 a.m., stood on the front porch and listened to the rain. He wouldn’t normally venture afield on a day like that. But he was itching to go, and he’s glad he did.

“I saw deer everywhere,” he said. “That was the first time anyone had sat in the stand in the morning, and it was amazing, except for the weather.”

After breaking for lunch and doing a few chores around the house, he returned to the woods in dry clothes. He hung a few fragrant wicks, sprayed himself with scent killer and used his grunt and bleat calls. Less than an hour later, he smoked what he thought was a 150-inch 8-pointer.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Beats a Lemonade Stand

Seven-year-old Ethan Dorff of Carlyle, Ill., might well be the country's next millionaire -- in $5 increments -- if he can get a patent on the bottle-less buck lure he invented last fall.

Prior to the 2011 hunting season, Ethan accompanied his father, Doug, to the woods to hang a new stand about 100 yards from where Doug spotted a monstrous whitetail two years earlier. While Doug wrestled the stand onto a tree, Ethan built a teepee of sticks nearby.

"I told him that teepee was going to ruin the deer hunting," Doug said, fully intending to scatter the sticks before they left. Before he could do it, however, his wife, Joni, called and scattered his intentions.

"I ended up leaving the teepee there," he added.

The first day Doug bowhunted from the new stand, a doe walked right up to the teepee and stuck her head into it. Before that, he'd been prepared to kick it down when he left. But he wound up shooting her and leaving Ethan's deer attractor intact.

Later in the archery season, any plan of removing the teepee was forever forgotten.

"I was back in the same stand, watching a doe, and she turned and looked behind her," Doug said. "I looked, too, and saw a tree moving. A 10-pointer was rubbing it."

The buck abandoned the rub and hurried through the area, moving too quickly for Doug to get off a shot through the timber ... that is, until the buck stopped and took a long, hard look at the teepee.

"If it hadn't stopped to stare at the teepee, I wouldn't have gotten a shot," Doug said. "I guess it's true that deer really are curious."

Doug was back in that stand when the shotgun season opened on Nov. 18.

[Read the rest of this article...]

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