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Dave Beck • 11/3/2010 • Muskingum County, Ohio • Crossbow

Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog

Entries for April 2014

Under the Cover of Snowness

Ten days into Michigan's 2013 firearms season, Jeff Toy was beginning to feel like the world's unluckiest deer hunter. The empty spot in his freezer seemed cavernous, which is why he went out every morning and evening.

He wanted very badly to be more hunter than gatherer, to have red meat unadorned with a "sell-by"date, but the deer weren't cooperating.

When his father called to say he was taking an early afternoon to hunt on Nov. 25, Jeff invited a cousin to make it a threesome. They all went to the same tract, a large cut cornfield. Dad went to a box blind, cousin Baily sat within an irrigation pivot, and Jeff carried a bucket and sat at the field's edge.

By the way, it was snowing sideways – so fiercely that none of the guys could see the others.

Jeff was loaded for deer, any deer, and his unscoped shotgun was loaded with slugs. In the rush to get there, he'd forgotten his binoculars.

[Read the rest of this article...]

From Burger to Bone

When Larry Mangin decides to go deer hunting, which is almost every day the sun rises (in season), it's a matter of choosing which of his 17 setups to visit.

The retiree (except for the little antiques store he runs) has access to lots of land in Meade County, Ky. He's planted several food plots, and he has both permanent stands and ground blinds at his disposal.

Larry's happy to take a doe for the freezer every now and then, but you can't dismiss him as a meat hunter. The reason he hadn't shot a buck in the six years leading up to the 2013 season is not because antlers don't thrill him. He's just picky; committed not to shoot anything smaller than he's already shot.

He takes advantage of all the seasons, too.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Ditch Runner

Tony Royal of Pleasant Garden, N.C., fell in love with Indiana while visiting his wife's relatives there two decades ago. He's made the long drive to hunt his in-laws' farms ever since, usually with friends he's eager to introduce to a landscape completely foreign to most Southerners.

Going into the 2013 season, Tony and his friends had tagged 15 bucks that scored 150 or better, and plenty more that topped 140 inches.

"It doesn't get any better than that," he says.

Tony and his comrades du jour normally hunt close to their living quarters when the season opens, but they deviated from that plan when they arrived and couldn't find the usual deer sign. He blames that on a family friend who was given permission to roam the property before their arrival.

He and his friends spent the day before the opener driving around and looking.

At one point, a 200-class buck crossed the road in front of their vehicle. That deer, along with the fact that a lot of the corn was still standing, gave Tony the idea of hunting out of a ground blind along one of the many drainage ditches between fields.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Crossing Guard

Despite a few outings with his stepfather when James Irvine was a little boy, he didn't become interested in hunting deer until about eight years ago, when he bought his first shotgun. Five years later, when he missed a deer with it, he decided an upgrade was in order and bought a rifle and second-hand muzzleloader.

He finally shot his first deer, a little 6-pointer, with his new 7mm-08 in 2012. He and his buddy, Larry Price, were hunting Kentucky's Barren River Wildlife Management Area, about an hour's drive from James' home in Pulaski County.

The following August, Larry had just left James' house when a huge buck burst across the road 15 yards in front of his truck. The startled driver could only slam on the brakes and stare in disbelief at the huge whitetail, still in velvet.

When James heard about it, he thought better of the 400 acres of mostly bottomland he hunts close to home. He hunted the early muzzleloader and rifle seasons without firing a shot (at a buck), however. He wound up taking a doe off the WMA.

[Read the rest of this article...]

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