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Adam Hahs • 11/14/2012 • Southeast Missouri

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Justin Massa • 10/20/2012 • Douglasville GA • Bow

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Entries for 'Mike Handley'

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.

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Buck Got Your Tongue?

Shawn Evangelista almost forgot how to form words last year. Even his three-word sentences, repeated for emphasis, were more a series of emitted vowel sounds, punctuated by gulps of air.

You'd think that seeing - and indeed arrowing - a deer he'd seen hundreds of times in trail camera photographs would've been easy-breezy. But looking at jpegs isn't the same as ogling the real live buck, especially when it doesn't seem the least bit bothered by a hole in its side.

But at least Shawn kept his cool when it mattered. He didn't become undone until afterward.

He and his close friend, Dave Allen, had been hoping to connect with the brute for two years. Both men spent countless hours setting out and checking cameras, even (by permission) on property they couldn't hunt.

Shawn eventually discovered the buck's daytime hideout and gained permission to hunt the swampy, recently logged tract.

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This Figment's for Real

It took only one night for Brad Southwood to substantiate the existence of a bodacious buck with towering brow tines in his corner of Wayne County, Ky.

He'd heard reports from three people. Fueled by curiosity, even though he'd tagged out for the 2012 season, Brad obtained permission to set out a trail camera on a friend's property. He checked it the very next morning, and, lo and behold, the tall-racked buck was on it.

"I was kind of shocked to get him on film the very first night," he told Dale Weddle, Kentucky's regional director for the BTR, who's writing the story for Rack magazine.

The mostly nighttime photographs continued into February, when the buck shed its antlers, and Brad later found both sides, which tallied more than 160 inches without a spread.

The deer's next rack was even bigger.

On the Monday following the Sept. 7 bow opener, the previously nocturnal buck made the mistake of passing underneath Brad's stand.

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When It's Okay to be Late for Work

Because Darren Schrock of Elkhart, Ind., had one clear weekend to hunt his state's 15-day firearms season in 2013, he was devastated to learn that rain was in the forecast. Determined not to miss his chance altogether - even though he bowhunts, too, and the bow season extends into January - he arranged with his employer to hunt Thursday morning, Nov. 21.

Darren wouldn't have been so determined if he hadn't encountered a centerfold buck a couple of weeks earlier that was just beyond bow range. He wanted more than anything to see that deer again, when distance wouldn't be a hindrance.

"I couldn't get the deer out of my head," he admits. "It was definitely the biggest, live free-roaming buck I'd ever seen!"

He didn't have much time that Thursday morning, but he headed out to the same swamp stand where he'd seen the buck earlier. It was a 400-yard trek, and he sweetened the trail by applying estrous doe scent to his boots about four times en route.

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