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Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog

Entries for December 2011

Not-so-Little Brothers and Kid Sisters

Subscribers to Rack magazine will no doubt remember the Pennsylvania buck that graced the cover in November. The 16-point whitetail, which has a BTR composite score of 209 2/8 inches, was taken in Northumberland County by 16-year-old Hanna Harris of Danville.

Now it seems that the buck's little brother has hit the dirt, nearly the same dirt, in front of the SAME stand, and Hanna's kid sister, Paige, was behind the trigger. This deer hasn't been scored yet, but it's already bound for the cover of Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine in 2012.

Two things are abundantly clear: Joe Harris grows big deer on his 280-acre farm, and his daughters know how to shoot.

Hanna's 2010 buck is the state-record Semi-irregular in the rifle category and the ninth largest ever felled in Penn's Woods. You can bet Paige's 2011 wallhanger is also going to push a whole lot of Pennsylvania bucks down a notch.

Jan. 28-29: If you live in northern Indiana, Illinois or Michigan and would like to have your buck measured for the BTR, you can avoid the $25 entry fee by bringing your deer to the 28th annual Hammond, Ind., Outdoor Sports Show inside the Jean Shepherd Community Center.

[Read the rest of this article...]

The Better to Smell You With...

While I've suffered more than my fair share of sinus infections, some that have left my head feeling as heavy and dense as a damp bag of Quikrete, I've never had it as bad as a couple of deer that came to my attention last week.

The first with a face only a mother could love was a very respectable 12-pointer shot in Ohio. Its swollen schnoz looked as if it had either been bitten by a rattlesnake or stung by yellowjackets.

Even though I've never seen anything like this in 41 years of deer hunting, I was ready to dismiss Muzzle-zilla as a freak of nature until his twin surfaced in Michigan.

Fellow blogger Michael Hanback posted a photo of the Michigan buck-a-potamus on his website, and Kevin Kreel, a wildlife pathologist at the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study in Athens, Ga., eventually shed some light on the subject.

Kreel, who has seen about 10 of these animals in the last seven years, suspects a bacterial infection is to blame.

Something else, probably testosterone, is behind an Illinois oddity.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Seeing Spots

Very few deer hunters will ever see a piebald. Fewer still will encounter one wearing a rack that's equally impressive as its Technicolor dreamcoat. While hunting with his muzzleloader in Pickaway County on Dec. 8, Bryan Vickers of Columbus, Ohio, found the proverbial needle in the haystack. The assistant track coach at Ohio Dominion University had been sitting in his blind for nearly four hours when the buck showed just before 5 p.m. Bryan and his father, Wayne, had been watching the deer for three years, passing it up until this season. Both had it in bow range earlier in the fall, but the windows of opportunity slammed shut before they could arrow it. Some hunters call these deer "calicos" because of the animals' brown-and-white, pinto-like coloration. But whitetails with an unusual amount of white in their coats are generally known as piebalds. While still rare, piebaldism is the most common of three pigment-related genetic variations among animals - the others being albinism (all white) and melanism (mostly black). True albinism involves a total absence of pigment from the hair, eyes and skin. Albino deer are completely white and have pink eyes, noses and colorless hooves. Melanistic deer, the rarest, are the complete opposites.

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Kansas Recurve Buck Will Shuffle Records

I can count on one hand the number of recurve kills that have hit my inbox in the last 10 years, so I'm always excited to see them.

Greg Hicks, a frequent contributor to Rack magazine, told me about this Kansas buck taken by his friend, Corey Bailey, of Charenton, La.

Corey got a few trail camera photographs of this buck in 2009, but none in 2010. He thought someone had killed it.

While hunting the same ground this year, Corey quit about 9:30 to check out a knoll in a cut bean field.

"I'd never hunted that little corner of the farm before because there isn't much to it," he said. "The closer I got to the knoll, I realized it was the perfect spot for a buck to bed - only about 3/4 acre, but it was on a high point next to CRP."

Not wanting to miss an opportunity in the unlikely event of encountering or jumping a deer, Corey nocked an arrow before easing along the edge toward the high spot. He was looking for tines in the grass.

"I was about halfway when I looked ahead and saw a huge rack coming my way, so I crouched and got ready," he said. "The buck strolled up to within 20 yards and looked right at me."

After the arrow stung it, the buck wheeled and ran. And so did Corey.

He saw the 288-pound buck standing at the edge of the woods on the opposite side of the field. When it stumbled and fell, he almost followed suit.

"I took a seat and watched him for an hour," Corey added. "Then I nocked another arrow and went over there. When I saw that he was done, I dropped to my knees and thanked the good lord with tears streaming down my face."

The antlers have been rough-scored at 183 5/8 inches, but they haven't been taped yet for the BTR. When that's done, however, there's an excellent chance the deer will be a new typical record for Kansas and either No. 2 or No. 3 in the world.

[Read the rest of this article...]

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