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Chester Sprinkle Jr
Chester Sprinkle Jr • 11/19/11 • Clarke Co. , Alabama • Rifle

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Ben Blanco
Ben Blanco

Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog

Entries for November 2012

Forget Flying Saucers

The owner of an auto body shop in Baxter Springs, Kan., unwittingly discovered the truth behind crop circles last month, much to the chagrin of believers in UFOs and extraterrestrials.

Jay Price witnessed the phenomenon in a Cherokee County soybean field on Oct. 3, and the experience left him weak-kneed and unable to perform even the simplest of tasks.

The culprit was a deer, specifically a very large buck with a very large hole in it.

"As soon as the arrow hit, that deer started doing somersaults," the 32-year-old businessman claims. "It ran between 60 and 80 yards out into the beans and just started rolling around, really tearing them up, like somebody on a four-wheeler was cutting doughnuts."

As soon as the giant whitetail ran out of gas, it sank out of sight into the beans, which is when Jay thought he'd messed up and shot the "wrong" deer. He hadn't taken the time to really study the rack before the shot, and there was no time to ogle it afterward.

Wrong, in this case, meant the smaller of two shooter bucks he'd seen a couple of days earlier while scouting with a buddy.

His fears, however, were unwarranted. With a composite score of 228 3/8 (210 without the spread) the 22-pointer is No. 19 among Sunflower State Irregulars felled by compound bow.

I'll share the rest of the story in Rack magazine next summer.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Chapter 2011

I've heard far more hokey than cool nicknames bestowed upon whitetails. I've even seen fellow bloggers altogether denounce the practice, which has grown more popular because every Tom, Dick and Harriet among TV show hosts thinks viewers love it.

But this is a debate for another time.

Meanwhile, I'll judge them as I hear them. And my hands-down favorite came across my desk this year, referencing a humongous Kansas buck taken by Lucas Cochren in Jackson County. The name is Bankrupt, and Mrs. Cochren, the hunter's wife, gets the gold star.

Her reasoning is that her beloved and his three buddies had collected thousands of trail camera photographs of this buck for three years. Prior to 2011, when Lucas finally decided the deer was big enough, Bankrupt always managed to bust up his rack while fighting.

"He was always broke," she explains.

Is that a perfect name, or what?

Last season, Bankrupt either lost the urge to fight, or other bucks simply gave him a wide berth. After all, squaring off against this 5-year-old would've been akin to bringing a chopstick to a sword fight.

Lucas hunts his family's 1,000-acre farm and an adjoining spread. He and his pals don't consider a buck fair game unless it's 5 years old. At age 3, Bankrupt wore an estimated 180 inches of antler; even more in 2010. But his fifth and final rack was substantially bigger.

He missed a 320-yard poke at the drop-tined Bankrupt on the first Friday of rifle season. A week later, he saw the buck feeding out in a cornfield and didn't.

[Read the rest of this article...]

The Biggest Thing in the World

A wide-eyed Shane Ragon clapped a hand to his open mouth like he was trying to swallow a cuss word in the presence of a preacher.

The 40-year-old bowhunter from Calhoun City, Miss., didn't know whether to laugh or cry, to shout hallelujah or utter something less suitable for a tent revival. What he did know was that every time he tried to walk away from the buck lying dead in the sweet potato field, he turned right around and went back to it.

"I just couldn't leave that deer," Shane said. "I'd let go of those antlers and walk off, but then I'd go back. I did that at least three times.

"My hand was shaking so badly, the flashlight's beam was dancing around like a strobe light," he added.

Shane knew that the buck behind his bow sight's pin was bigger than any other he'd shot, but he hadn't exactly paid that much attention to the rack. He was too busy trying to hide behind a power pole and praying the animal would come within range.

It did, too, and became the year's first 200-incher from Mississippi (and, surprisingly, NOT from the Delta). His 9-year-old son, Zane, calls it "the biggest thing in the world."

The full story of Shane's Oct. 6 impromptu bowhunt will appear in Rack magazine next summer, and it's a good one.

[Read the rest of this article...]

How Should I Begin?

Finding the best among numerous introductions for a big deer story can be difficult. Such is a writer's life.

Option No. 1: It's not supposed to be a good year for deer, or at least that's what front-porch philosophers are saying. Too little water, not enough food, and blue tongue (epizootic hemorrhagic disease) have wreaked havoc with deer populations in much of the country.

You can write this one off, they say.

But the news never reached Browder, Ky., where Thad Cartwright and his dad, Todd, live and hunt.

Option No. 2: Had Thad Cartwright swatted a mosquito with a little more malice, a little more oomph, on Sept. 3, his would not be the buck on the cover of the July 2013 issue of Rack magazine. Nor would that fabulous whitetail be the leading contender for Buckmasters' next Golden Laurel Citation.

Option No. 3: While bowhunters in most states were still shooting field points, tweaking their bow setups and trying to decide whether or not to replace or upgrade their gear, Thad Cartwright was in a tree, hoping to let the air out of buck with a familiar face.

The do it early in Kentucky, good Lord willing.

And He was.

Option No. 4: The Muhlenberg County buck that Thad Cartwright arrowed three days into Kentucky's 2012 season is a world record among bow-taken deer in velvet. It might not be the biggest velvet buck ever recorded, but it's the largest ever toppled by an arrow.

The 273 2/8-inch 50-pointer plays second fiddle only to fellow Kentuckian Troy Wilson's gargantuan whitetail from 2001, which tallies 303 4/8 inches -- the world-record blackpowder (velvet) buck in the BTR.

In the end, we chose to let Thad tell his own story, in his own words. He shares how he and his dad obtained hundreds of trail cam photos of the buck they nicknamed Bulletproof, how he shot over the giant whitetail in 2011, and how he didn't in 2012.

[Read the rest of this article...]

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