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Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog

Entries for January 2014

One Good Turn

When Mark Owen decided to help a fellow deer hunter get back in the game, he expected nothing in return for his kindnesses.

He certainly didn't expect to be handed the Holy Grail.

Mark sells bull semen for the artificial insemination of dairy cows, and he has customers throughout northern Ohio. While visiting with a client in June 2013, they discovered a mutual love of deer hunting, but the man - who made it clear he was a meat hunter - confessed that he wasn't very hip.

"I volunteered to see what I could do to help," Mark said.

They scouted together, and Mark brought him a couple of trail cameras. The first time he checked the units, there were hundreds of photographs of deer.

They tried some different camera setups after that. And in late July, they collected photos of a huge buck with a substantial drop tine.

"We nicknamed him Mr. Caveman because of the huge club of a drop tine," Mark said. "We even joked that he was a magazine cover deer."

[Read the rest of this article...]

Why Randy Brown Wants His Stand Back

Nick Brown thought he'd caught a break when the buck passed behind a tree, which allowed him to draw his Mathews Drenalin. But that was before the animal stopped, forcing the 28-year-old bowhunter to hold both string and breath.

Nick wanted that deer like Democrats wanted a regime change throughout the Bush years, like the Republicans have wanted to unearth a Kenyan birth certificate ever since 2008.

He knew that Campbell County, Ky., buck with the velvety rack. He'd been watching it take shape for more than four months via trail camera photographs. That's how Nick, a firefighter from Alexandria, Ky., came to place a stand right there, overlooking the deer's regular travel corridor.

Nick and his father, Randy, have access to several farms. The one Nick hunted in 2013 was actually his dad's longtime honey hole, a little 15-acre parcel between bedding and feeding areas.

"I kind of stole it from him," Nick grinned.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Squirrel's-Eye View

Unlike the dinosaurs in the "Jurassic Park" movies, unlike the great white shark in "Jaws," and unlike the brawls between TV's professional wrestlers (with apologies to believers), the buck whose photograph appeared on Shawn and Nikki Bechtel's trail camera in 2011 was very real.

Husband and wife - it was she who taught him how to hunt - were instantly smitten with the deer they named Bullwinkle. Shawn had more time than his wife, and he had a slight advantage because he bowhunted from treestands. Nikki, afraid of heights, always hunted from ground blinds.

Nikki's time afield was mostly during weekends, since her drive home from work didn't allow any time for late-afternoon sits.

Regardless of how much time the two of them spent waiting, separately or together, Bullwinkle never once appeared while the sun was overhead. Not in 2011; not in 2012.

Shawn would not get to hunt in 2013, and Nikki lost her enthusiasm for it.

"My husband died in January of a serious and ongoing heart condition, and I nearly gave up hunting after that," she said.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Kentucky Giant

Had it not been for the local Wheelin' Sportsmen chapter and the Bernheim Forest's combined sponsorship of a hunt for the disabled in Bullitt County, Ky., Danny Moore would've spent Oct. 12 indoors.

His brother, Ronnie, also played a big role in setting him up in the blind from which he connected with a whitetail that'll be remembered for decades.

Danny's deer hunting days have been numbered since his health began declining and he started dialysis about 10 years ago. For one thing, the veteran hunter from Clermont cannot tolerate cold weather anymore.

"We were pretty excited when Danny was selected for the 2013 Wheelin' Sportsmen hunt and that I was to be his hunting partner," Ronnie told Dale Weddle, who measured the buck and is writing the story for RACK magazine.

To test a spot he thought held promise, Ronnie set out a trail camera that photographed a gigantic buck several times before the animal went AWOL. That's where he ultimately put up a pop-up blind, even though he feared the deer was long gone.

[Read the rest of this article...]

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