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Adam Hahs
Adam Hahs • 11/14/2012 • Southeast Missouri

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Dustin Guthrie
Dustin Guthrie • 11/12/2011 • Dickson, TN. • Muzzleloader

Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog

The Better to Smell You With...

While I've suffered more than my fair share of sinus infections, some that have left my head feeling as heavy and dense as a damp bag of Quikrete, I've never had it as bad as a couple of deer that came to my attention last week.

The first with a face only a mother could love was a very respectable 12-pointer shot in Ohio. Its swollen schnoz looked as if it had either been bitten by a rattlesnake or stung by yellowjackets.

Even though I've never seen anything like this in 41 years of deer hunting, I was ready to dismiss Muzzle-zilla as a freak of nature until his twin surfaced in Michigan.

Fellow blogger Michael Hanback posted a photo of the Michigan buck-a-potamus on his website, and Kevin Kreel, a wildlife pathologist at the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study in Athens, Ga., eventually shed some light on the subject.

Kreel, who has seen about 10 of these animals in the last seven years, suspects a bacterial infection is to blame.

Something else, probably testosterone, is behind an Illinois oddity.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Seeing Spots

Very few deer hunters will ever see a piebald. Fewer still will encounter one wearing a rack that's equally impressive as its Technicolor dreamcoat. While hunting with his muzzleloader in Pickaway County on Dec. 8, Bryan Vickers of Columbus, Ohio, found the proverbial needle in the haystack. The assistant track coach at Ohio Dominion University had been sitting in his blind for nearly four hours when the buck showed just before 5 p.m. Bryan and his father, Wayne, had been watching the deer for three years, passing it up until this season. Both had it in bow range earlier in the fall, but the windows of opportunity slammed shut before they could arrow it. Some hunters call these deer "calicos" because of the animals' brown-and-white, pinto-like coloration. But whitetails with an unusual amount of white in their coats are generally known as piebalds. While still rare, piebaldism is the most common of three pigment-related genetic variations among animals - the others being albinism (all white) and melanism (mostly black). True albinism involves a total absence of pigment from the hair, eyes and skin. Albino deer are completely white and have pink eyes, noses and colorless hooves. Melanistic deer, the rarest, are the complete opposites.

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Kansas Recurve Buck Will Shuffle Records

I can count on one hand the number of recurve kills that have hit my inbox in the last 10 years, so I'm always excited to see them.

Greg Hicks, a frequent contributor to Rack magazine, told me about this Kansas buck taken by his friend, Corey Bailey, of Charenton, La.

Corey got a few trail camera photographs of this buck in 2009, but none in 2010. He thought someone had killed it.

While hunting the same ground this year, Corey quit about 9:30 to check out a knoll in a cut bean field.

"I'd never hunted that little corner of the farm before because there isn't much to it," he said. "The closer I got to the knoll, I realized it was the perfect spot for a buck to bed - only about 3/4 acre, but it was on a high point next to CRP."

Not wanting to miss an opportunity in the unlikely event of encountering or jumping a deer, Corey nocked an arrow before easing along the edge toward the high spot. He was looking for tines in the grass.

"I was about halfway when I looked ahead and saw a huge rack coming my way, so I crouched and got ready," he said. "The buck strolled up to within 20 yards and looked right at me."

After the arrow stung it, the buck wheeled and ran. And so did Corey.

He saw the 288-pound buck standing at the edge of the woods on the opposite side of the field. When it stumbled and fell, he almost followed suit.

"I took a seat and watched him for an hour," Corey added. "Then I nocked another arrow and went over there. When I saw that he was done, I dropped to my knees and thanked the good lord with tears streaming down my face."

The antlers have been rough-scored at 183 5/8 inches, but they haven't been taped yet for the BTR. When that's done, however, there's an excellent chance the deer will be a new typical record for Kansas and either No. 2 or No. 3 in the world.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Little Pain, Lots of Gain

Trudging a mile and breaking a sweat to reach a remote river bend is a small price to pay for smoking a centerfold buck.

Kelly Doyl, a 51-year-old printing press operator from Walker, Iowa, knows the value of sweat equity and expending boot leather.

On Oct. 18, 2010, he and his brother, Bryan, hiked to a distant ridge overlooking a small river and hung stands about 300 yards apart. They saw the sunrise from those positions the next morning, the coldest day they’d had to that point in Buchanan County.

Shortly after daybreak, a forkhorn crossed the ridge near Kelly’s stand. After it disappeared, he rattled lightly with a 130ish set of antlers he’d sawed off roadkill. Twenty minutes later, he tried again -- a bit more aggressively -- and immediately heard something coming.

He couldn’t see the buck, at first, because of the leaves still on the trees. When he finally glimpsed it, head-on, he wasn’t too impressed. The rack was only about 16 inches wide. But when the buck turned its head to the left and Kelly saw the right side, he changed his mind in a hurry.

Thanks to eight long tines -- the smallest being one tick under 9 inches -- the Doyl Buck is a magnificent mainframe 5x5 that grosses nearly 200 inches by its lonesome. The 17 irregular points contribute another 54 inches to the final tally. Its BTR composite score is 248 6/8.

[Read the rest of this article...]

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