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Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog

Entries for October 2010

Skunked in Ohio

 If fear has an odor, it’s lost on the most odiferous critter prowling Ohio’s soy- and cornscapes. Twice while venturing into the wilds before daybreak earlier this month, I froze midstride when I realized I was on a collision course with polecats.

Both times too close for me to bolt in the opposite direction, I simply stopped and watched them amble to within a foot or two of my boots. And believe me, I was plenty scared of being doused with funk.

I narrowly escaped the need for a tomato juice bath, but not the oxygen loss to my brain when I stopped breathing. As soon as the skunks got that something-ain’t-right feeling and turned 90 degrees, I shut my eyes and imagined sweet-smelling things.

I was bowhunting in Pickaway County as a guest of my friend Joe Schneider, on the very farm where he shot the world-record Irregular with a pistol a few years ago. It’s a gorgeous place – real bucky – and we gave it the ol’ college try.

I spent the first evening standing atop the wheel of a piece of irrigation equipment, sans bow, glassing for deer heads sharking through an unpicked soybean field. I was hoping to discover a favorite entry point from the adjacent creek bottom, but only a couple of does waded into the beans on my end of the field.

Over the next four days, I bounced around and tried different stands. I wasn’t happy with the stout northwest wind, but it was better than most scenarios.

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Proof Measured in Inches

With the flick of a wrist back in 2000, Mike Beatty made a well-known company’s little-known product a household word among deer geeks. The Ohio hunter credits Will Primos’ doe-in-a-can with luring the world record (286 4/8-inch) Irregular within bow range.

Nowadays, you’d be hard pressed not to find The Can or some other company’s knockoff inside a deer hunter’s gear bag. Still, whether it’s a doe-bleat canister or a standard grunt call, a hunter isn’t apt to use it unless he or she has confidence in it.

Therein lies the problem.

If you’ve ever experienced success while using a deer call, chances are you’ll be as hooked on it as your teenaged daughter is on the “Twilight” movies. But if you haven’t seen the contraptions work, you’re not likely to keep blowing or flipping them. Am I right?

Human nature.

But remember: You can’t hit a home run if you never pick up the bat. And you won’t be successful grunting or bleating if you don’t ... well ... grunt or bleat.

Lest you think I'm on the payroll of a callmaker, you don’t have to take my word for it. Here’s yet another deer hunter who relies on the reed when he wants to close the deal on a piece of wall art.

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And to Think It Comes in a Bottle!

Imagine letting your eyes wander the gymnasium in search of a dance partner. You’re just about to ask a pretty girl or handsome guy, and then you glance left and see the sexiest kid at the prom giving YOU the once-over and smiling like you’re the catch of the decade.

To be good looking in a world where appearances are everything is like being in estrus in the world of whitetails, where looks mean nothing.

What if you had the power to be the king or queen of the deer prom?

You can get it in a bottle, if you want it.

Dennis Adams and Rusty Moore know the potency of estrous doe urine.

Dennis enjoyed that prom king high during a 2001 trip to Saskatchewan (before the province banned deer urines). Normally, an outfitter hunt in Canada involves sitting in one place from dawn ’til dusk. About midmorning, however, Dennis could no longer take the minus-20-degree temperature and biting wind.

When he was ready to brave the elements again, he was taken to a new place that had been avoided all season. He doctored the area with estrous doe scent before settling in for the afternoon.

He twice passed on a great 8-pointer. And within minutes of the second decision not to shoot, he spotted a buck chasing a doe 150 yards distant. An east wind carried the scent straight to Romeo’s nose, and he left Juliet high and dry.

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Wyatt Urrp

Because I'm the chief bottle-washer for Buckmasters Whitetail Trophy Records and editor of Rack magazine (not because I'm an expert), Jackie Bushman once asked me to identify the top techniques and tactics used to collect the nearly 12,000 bucks in our record book. That was the easiest question I've ever answered, and I didn’t have to think about it.

"Luck" gets the credit in almost 90 percent of the cases.

If Jackie had framed the question another way - "What one piece of equipment has put the most money in the pockets of taxidermists?" - grunt calls would've been my instant response. If 40 years of hunting whitetails haven’t taught me that, the thousands of hunters I've interviewed have.

One of those was Geoff Lester, whose Illinois brute is the reigning world-record Perfect in the BTR's compound bow category. His story was a real eye-opener.

You could call Geoff, pronounced "Jeff," the Wyatt Urrp of deer hunting. He's the first person I met who carries not one, but two grunt calls in his holster. And the second is NOT a spare.

This guy made deer hunting history during an impromptu afternoon hunt on Oct. 27, 2000. With so little time before dark and no real expectation of seeing deer moving in the 60-degree heat, he decided to push the envelope. It was another one of those what-do-I-have-to-lose gambits.

He routinely carries two different grunt calls with totally different tones. He alternates between them, switching up every 15 minutes or so, in order to sound like multiple bucks.

[Read the rest of this article...]

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