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Jamie Swartz • 11/17/2012 • Oakey Streak , Alabama • Rifle

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Barry Wetzler • 10/31/2012 • Waterloo, IL • Bow

Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog

Entries for November 2013

November in Paradise

What-ifs can Swiss-cheese a deer hunter's confidence like a swarm of Formosan termites ripping through floor joists.

Before Scott Siefert and his lease-mates witnessed Illinois' mid-November rut from their treestands in 2012, they were convinced they'd have been better off buying the proverbial Florida swampland instead of leasing a farm in the much ballyhooed Pike County.

Ponying up for the 420-acre farm was Scott's idea. He was the Indiana group's Madoff. The tract in neighboring Illinois had everything necessary to attract and hold deer: crop fields, winding creek and a perfect mixture of thickets and hardwoods.

"After closing on the lease, we made many trips to erect stands, trim shooting lanes and set out trail cameras," Scott said. "The most exciting part was checking our cameras."

He should've said the THOUGHT of checking them.

When there were no decent bucks among the photographs (from the cameras that weren't stolen), excitement turned to doubt. The gang had paid a lot of money for a lease that didn't seem to have any mature deer, though it was indeed a magnet for trespassers and thieves.

"To make a long story short, we were disgusted," Scott admitted.

But that was then, before the floodgates opened.

When they returned to bowhunt the week leading up to (and including) the state's first firearms season, deer were everywhere.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Passing Judgment

If you're going to judge a book buck by its cover, you'd better tilt it this way and that.

When Devin Moore of Purcell, Okla., booked a deer hunt with an Alberta outfitter, his personal goal was to shoot nothing less than a 160-inch buck. He was also willing to swallow that tag and write off the trip as an expensive vacation.

But that was before the last-day change of heart that so often afflicts those who travel to hunt. In this case, however, lowering the bar was a good thing.

A REALLY good thing.

Had Devin stuck to his guns and passed on this last-day whitetail, which he and his guide thought was a 155-incher, he'd have unwittingly allowed a 215-incher (spread included) to keep on trucking. Seen from head on, his buck looks 50 inches smaller; the P2s alone look like 6-inchers - half as long as they really are.

Neither Devin nor his guide, Aaron Franklin, will forget that 1 p.m. encounter on the last afternoon of the hunt. They were plodding in the snow, following an old logging road, when they spotted the buck in some willows at 200 yards.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Four Booms for the Buck

Jason Hardin's first racked buck was faster than a speeding bullet – three of them, to be precise.

Had Superbuck kept on flying in the same direction instead of thrice looping around like a scared rabbit, it might still be in Jason's head instead of on his wall in Chillicothe, Ohio.

You just don't give a determined deer hunter that many tugs on your cape.

Jason and his son, Quentin, were hunting a coworker's land when this saga unfolded last year. They had no idea that the place would become a shooting gallery on their very first outing.

That was on Nov. 26, opening day of gun season. Father and son were manning separate ground blinds about 150 yards apart, and they'd swapped places after lunch.

Eventually, Jason heard Quentin's shotgun roar. Moments later, he saw a buck trot out of some nearby pines (unaware that was the deer his son had tried to shoot). Thus began the loop that ended after a fourth slug finally toppled the almost bulletproof 17-pointer.

"I blew up a small tree the first time I shot, completely missing the buck," Jason said. "I was too stunned to fire again."

Ditto when the deer returned.

"After the second miss, I set my gun down, sat back and held my head in my hands," Jason said. "That was the first racked buck I'd ever seen while hunting, since 1996 ... the first buck I had ever shot at ... and I'd missed ... not once, but twice!"

The third time, he didn't.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Breaking a Sweat

Deer hunters in the Midwest complain loudly whenever the temperature climbs into the 60s in November. Farther north, they'd consider it justification for staying indoors and watching TV show hunters whispering into cameras.

The 60s would be a cool snap in southwestern Georgia, however.

It was 79 degrees when Michael Spurlin went to his tripod stand about 4 p.m. on Nov. 9, 2012 - NOVEMBER, not SEPTEMBER.

"My expectations were high. I've always had the most success hunting the first and second weeks of November," the 29-year-old from Leesburg told Lisa Price, who will chronicle his tale for RACK magazine next year.

Plus, he'd heard an all-out buck brawl while hunting the farm the previous day.

At prime time that evening, the bull of the woods - or, more appropriately, pine plantation - approached the food plot Michael was watching from his tripod. The hunter had been in his stand for little more than an hour.

[Read the rest of this article...]

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