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Charles Falkenheiner
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Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog

Golden Laurel Goes to Indiana Monster

For the third time since its inception in 1996, a woman will be awarded Buckmasters' prestigious Golden Laurel Citation.

In one of the tightest races in 16 years, one that included new state records in Arkansas and Louisiana, a world record by recurve and an Illinois buck that was the largest felled in 2011, Audrey Sharp's 24-pointer from Posey County, Ind., was deemed the most significant entry into "Buckmasters Whitetail Trophy Records" this past season.

Audrey's buck is a new rifle record for Indiana. It's also the second-largest whitetail bagged by a woman at any time, by any means, anywhere in North America. The largest (253 5/8 inches) was taken in Kansas by Jamie Remmers back in 1997, the first by a huntress to garner the Golden Laurel.

There was a moment, however, when Audrey's father, Tim, wondered if his daughter had lost her mind. The deer was standing just 20 yards away from the treestand they shared, while Audrey fiddled with the red dot scope atop her .44 Mag rifle.

They hadn't been aloft for long on opening day of the firearms season, when Audrey heard something and nudged her dad just after sunrise. Tim was the first to actually see the deer.

"I lifted my scope's flaps and turned it on, but the dot was too bright," she said. "While I was adjusting it, Dad kept whispering, ‘Shoot it, Audrey, shoot it!'"

[Read the rest of this article...]

Finding the Zoo in Yazoo

Josh Alford of Brandon, Miss., might be only 15 years old, but he learned something last season that some wildlife managers two or three times his age often forget, which is to never say never.

Conventional wisdom dictates that when a property's doe-to-buck ratio is heavily laden with females, mature males will not reach their potential for antler development and body weights. Thus, many game biologists recommend a liberal doe harvest with the goal of creating a 3-to-1 or even a 1-to-1 ratio.

The doe-to-buck ratio in Yazoo County, Miss., where Josh was hunting last December, was nearly 17-to-1. Or at least that's what the Brandon High School football player saw from his ladder stand facing a 200-yard-long food plot: 33 does and two bucks.

By the time he left, there was one less of each.

"Seeing that many deer in one day is NOT ordinary," he added. "I usually see only seven or eight, at most. Deer were running everywhere."

Josh had already shot a big doe when this rut-worn, 200-pound stud came onto the food plot at 5:06 p.m. The teenager wasted no time in taking the 120-yard, quartering-away shot with his 7mm-08.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Early Birthday Present

Three or four minutes after a spike crossed the ridge he was watching, 16-year-old Logan Sewell of Natchez, Miss., saw a much bigger whitetail approaching and lifted his binoculars.

With one quick glance, the teenager knew he was going to smoke the Illinois bruiser. He saw only a couple of tines, but both were more than a foot long. And those 24 inches were backed up by lots more.

That was the third day of the Land of Lincoln's November firearms season. His father, Joe, was bowhunting the same 440 acres when he saw the jaw-dropping buck two-thirds of a mile from where Logan encountered it. Instead of going to his treestand that day, Joe stopped short and went into an old barn.

"That buck was the first deer I saw that evening," he remembers. "It and a doe passed between 30 and 35 yards of the tree with my stand in it, and then they disappeared. They came back right at dark and, that time, walked within 12 yards of the tree."

The duo eventually was just 40 yards from Joe's vantage point in the barn, but he chose not to take the shot.

Logan couldn't be happier with that decision. The 18-pointer was a perfect week-early birthday present. Its BTR composite score is 205 6/8 inches.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Lagniappe in Louisiana

Had Tadpole McLeod been hunting alone on Jan. 7, he'd have thrown in the towel long before sunset.

The commotion in his formerly quiet corner of Louisiana's Tensas National Wildlife Refuge was almost more than the bowhunter from Starks, La., could bear. It was as if an insane, broom-wielding maid was beating a rug to death.

But since rugs don't squawk, he realized buzzards were to blame for the din that set his teeth on edge.

"About 4:00, they went to roost about 150 yards behind me," said Tadpole, whose real name is Alton. "There must've been 30 of them, making all kinds of noise. Seriously, I thought the day was done at that point. The only reason I stayed in my tree was because I didn't want to mess up my buddies' hunts."

An hour later, he heard something -- either a deer or a bear, from the sound of it -- approaching from his left through the palmetto, almost from the direction of the roost tree. Knowing he'd better be ready if it happened to be a deer, he stood and held his bow.

Seeing a partial rack at 30 yards was all Tadpole needed; he never gave the antlers a second glance. He watched the buck make a scrape, and then it began walking straight toward him.

"I didn't know how good of a buck it was," he said. "I thought it was just an 8- or a 10-pointer, so I pretty much focused only on its body."

Tadpole drew his bow when the deer passed behind a tree. He was hoping it would turn and offer anything but a head-on shot, but it didn't.

[Read the rest of this article...]

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