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Don Hunter
Don Hunter • 11/15/11 • Putnam Co. , MO • Rifle

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Jerry Coyle Jr
Jerry Coyle Jr • 10/30/2013 • Marquette County , Wisconsin • Bow

Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog

20
Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain

Thirty calendars have gone to pulp since I pulled my first mail-order “Eddie Salter” grunt call out of the box, put it to my lips and urrped. I still vividly remember the first time I tried it in the woods, while looking at a bunch of does. They ignored it, which astounded me.

I’d fully expected the gals to run. But instead of spooking, it put them at ease.

I was a stalk hunter back then. I prowled the edges, even the hearts of young pine plantations with a Remington 1100 stoked with buckshot. My deer encounters were close. Because I played the wind, they often heard me before seeing or smelling me.

When I started carrying that grunt call, my success improved greatly. Whenever I jumped deer that only heard me, I’d grunt, and many would come right back into my lap.

When I was publishing a hook-and-bullet tabloid years later, I became acquainted with numerous experts and, for the first time, began grunting as a means of attracting deer rather than soothing them. I remember that first attempt as well.

I was still-hunting the property of a wildlife artist I’d met. After urrping off and on for about 10 minutes, admittedly feeling like a fool for possibly alerting every deer in the county to my presence, the woodlot echoed with more urrping. I thought I was surrounded by other hunters. I almost called out to them.

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13
Sweet Nothins

For the record, I’ve never heard a doe talk to a buck. I’ve seen them stand up and slap ’em upside the head. I’ve heard them talk to their fawns. But not once can I remember hearing a grown doe whisper or shout sweet nothin’s to a suitor.

It would logically follow that I wouldn’t put much stock in bleating, eh?

Call me illogical.

I’ll admit I was slow to accept the premise and even slower to try it. Sounded like pure gimmick to me, figuratively, and like a goat, literally. But then Jerry Peterson, creator of Woods Wise Game Calls, invited me to bowhunt in Illinois. Although I was a bit red-faced over the thought of making such a stupid noise in the woods, I felt I owed it to Jerry to put his new call to the test.

The very first time, my bleating persuaded a 6-pointer to do a 180 and return within bow range, where it bedded down for the rest of the morning. The next year, I arrowed a record book 8-pointer in Nebraska that I also turned by bleating.

I’ve enjoyed numerous encounters with whitetails since adding a bleat call to my personal bag of tricks. But none compare with what happened one year while I was bowhunting with Mike Nickels in Kansas.

After four and a half days of playing musical stands and seeing very few deer, I was ready for a change of scenery. I wound up spending the last afternoon in a new stand about 150 yards deeper in the woods.

Alas, as the first sun I’d seen in a week began slowly to disappear, I decided to go to ground a bit early in hopes of seeing deer in a clover field at the edge of the pasture I had to cross to return to my car. I moved cautiously and silently toward the woods’ edge and soon saw deer feeding in the clover.

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06
Attracting the Bull of the Woods

If you’ve heard the joke, bear with me. If you haven’t, I hope it tickles your fancy. I’ll get to the point afterward.

Three Hereford bulls were discussing a rumor that the rancher was bringing in a new bull.

“I’ve been here for five years and have earned my keep,” snorted the first. “I service 100 cows, and won’t be giving any up to some newcomer.”

“Well, sir,” the second drawled, “I’ve been here for three years and have 30 cows to keep happy. I’m doing a good job, and I don’t need any help.”

The third and youngest chimes in: “Well, even though I’m the new kid on the block, y’all have allowed me 10 cows, for which I’m grateful. But I’m not inclined to share any of ’em.”

Moments later, the guys hear the rumble and air brakes of an 18-wheeler’s arrival. In short order, off thunders the biggest, meanest, strongest Angus bull the three had ever seen.

“Well, maybe 100 cows are too many. I’m getting along in years and could stand a break. He can have 50 of my cows,” says the first.

“I’m still young and want to fool around a bit,” added the second. “Fifty cows are not worth dying over. He can have 20 of mine.”

The whippersnapper says nothing; just lowers his head, starts snorting and pawing the earth like a dirt-hating, snot-slinging demon. The eldest looks at him and says, “Are you crazy? He’ll kill you and take all your cows!”

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29
New World Record off Public Ground

Folks who think state- or federally owned hunting lands are a waste of time had better rethink their bias.

Chris Brazzell of Louisiana has taken the lead in the race for this year’s Golden Laurel Citation by arrowing a new world record in the BTR’s Perfect category. And he did it while bowhunting public ground in Ohio.

The bodacious whitetail carries a massive mainframe 5x5 rack with two small stickers, only one of which is scoreable. The antlers top the previous world record set in 2000 by Geoff Lester – also a 10-pointer – by an inch. The Lester Buck was arrowed in Ogle County, Ill.

Stocking Stuffers - Sometimes you just can’t take the boy out of the man, I guess.

While these two new-for-2010 items sound perfectly practical and probably work as advertised, they reduce me to my inner Beavis.

Protect Your Assets - Among the first cyber press releases to hit my inbox this year was for Rutt Wipes, rolls of blaze orange toilet paper marketed as a “hunter-safe” alternative to ordinary TP that could be mistaken for a deer’s white tail. The label warns: “Don’t get shot with your pants down!”

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