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Josh Johnson
Josh Johnson • 11/2/2013 • North Hampton County , VA • Bow

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Mo Miller
Matthew (Mo) Miller • 11/10/2012 • Shelby County, Ky •Rifle

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Entries for 'Mike Handley'

Mighty Weren't the Preparations

Noting the comings and goings of whitetails on a mere 5 acres should be as easy as pulling a can of green beans out of the cupboard.

Cody Gwinner and his father, Ted, know their little patch of woods near Okeana, Ohio, like it was a pantry. And they normally pinpoint the freshest and most often used deer trails long before the season opens.

In 2012, however, they were flying blind.

"Between going to work and helping with the family chores, I was just too wrapped up to do any of it," said Cody. "Only when the season was upon us did I do a small amount of glassing."

Cody saw nothing to excite him during the time he spent with binoculars glued to his eyes. But he did see a couple of very nice 10-pointers cross his driveway one morning in mid-August, which lifted his spirits.

It was so hot in October that Cody was in no hurry to burn his tag. Even the thinnest camo felt like a sweat suit, and the deer were afoot mostly at night anyway.

By November, however, the activity increases dramatically.

Cody arrived home early on Nov. 5 and was in a stand by 4 p.m.  An hour later, he saw a small buck approaching from the neighboring property. When he reached for his binoculars, he dropped them.

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One Man's Loss...

Anyone who's used a sleeve or glove to frantically wipe a fogged-up scope while a buck is changing zip codes can sympathize with the hunter who was on the other side of a creek from Danny Smith last year.

Danny's not one to smile upon another's misfortune, but he'll shed no tears over his neighbor's missed opportunity on opening day of Kentucky's 2012 rifle season. Because when the deer made it to his side of the creek, there was no going back.

A huge fan of trail cameras, the (unfogged) hunter from Monticello, Ky., knew that an enormous Typical was traipsing in and out of his property in Wayne County. He collected the first nighttime photograph of it in 2011.

The buck mugged for the lens several times at night, but only once during the day. The season ended, but the deer survived and grew an even bigger rack.

Danny got 20 seconds of video footage of it in November, a week before rifle season opened, and the tall rack left him weak-kneed.

He saw the sunrise from a newly relocated stand when the opening bell sounded. At 9:30, about the time a leg cramp was causing him to consider going home, Danny heard a deer in the nearby creek. Half an hour later, he saw the buck with the familiar rack.

"When you see something like that coming through the woods, there's no doubt," he laughed, holding his hands about two feet apart.

[Read the rest of this article...]

So What if the Meat Requires More Chewing?

When the McGuires go hunting, it's more like grocery shopping.

Ohio might be home to the country's most prosperous taxidermists, and Mahoning might be one of the few counties even nonresident hunters are able to cite. But the public and neighboring ground this family has prowled for the last decade has been little more than the Land of Does and Little-bitty Bucks.

Until last year.

A few ticks past 1 p.m. on Nov. 10, Brett McGuire heard splashing sounds in the creek behind his stand a few hundred feet from the boundary marking public land. He quickly spun around and looked, but he didn't see anything.

"I knew something was coming," said the hunter from Talmadge. "I heard when it jumped up on the bank, and I could even see mud swirling in the water where the deer had crossed. But I couldn't see anything that even remotely looked like a deer."

And then he did.

When the buck stepped out from behind a huge oak tree, Brett could see only its right antler, and the mass was incredible. Moments later, Brett took the 40-yard, quartering-away shot and watched the deer rocket away with his arrow protruding from behind the last rib.

"You're full of it," Brett's brother, Jimmy, answered his text afterward. "There are no monsters around here!"

It took some convincing, but Jimmy eventually came to help track the animal. After jumping the wounded buck, they gave up and returned to collect it the following morning.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Short Hunt Ends with new Michigan Record

Had it not been for trail camera photographs of two wonderful bucks and the opportunity to hunt from one of the most productive stands on the property, Robert Sopsich would've been content to spend the remaining half-hour of daylight inside his home on Nov. 2.

Even so, it took a hard sell from his younger brother, Donny, for him to bother suiting up and heading afield for a very short hunt.

The brothers from Milford, Mich., had to work an hour later than usual that day, which meant they didn't get home until after 5 p.m.  Robert had decided not to hunt, but Donny wooed him by reminding him that the rut was approaching and by offering up his stand.

It helped that nobody had arrowed either the big 12- or 10-pointers both men so desperately wanted.

Donny's stand is at the corner junction of two fields in Oakland County. Suspecting that deer might already be in one or both, Robert snuck through some pines to reach it.

Arrow nocked, he was more in still-hunting mode than in a hurry to climb a tree.

When he reached the edge of one field at about 6:15 (sunset was about 6:30 that day), the big 12-pointer just happened to be crossing it - well away from the stand. If Robert had been aloft at his usual time, he'd have never seen it.

Accustomed to practicing long shots, Robert made the 45-yarder look easy, though he admits he was about to fall apart at the seams.

After a two-hour tracking job, he and Donny recovered it together.

The 4 1/2-year-old 12-pointer had a dressed weight of 185 pounds, and it bests the previous Michigan (perfect-class) bow record by nearly 20 inches. Its BTR composite score is 186 inches.

[Read the rest of this article...]

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