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Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog

Entries for 'Mike Handley'

02
Better a Stand Than a Recliner

After spending most of Oct. 7, 2012, cutting up fallen trees, dragging the debris to the woods and decommissioning a storm-damaged stand, most hunters would've been happy to spend the remains of the day in a recliner.

Jim Twiggs might've done just that, too, if his buddy hadn't announced that he was going to see the sunset from a deer stand.

Jim's friend, Ted Galbreath, had brought his hunting gear to the farm, so staying to hunt was an easy choice. Jim, however, had to go home to collect his stuff, and then drive back in order to sit in a tree for a couple of hours.

He was in a tree by 5:00, and deer began coming to the alfalfa field, several of them right past his stand, 10 minutes later.

About 6:45, Jim was tempted by a nice 9-pointer. Seeing another, much bigger buck made the decision easy.

Maybe 20 seconds after Jim resolved to take the 40-yard shot with his crossbow, the second buck crossed in front of him.

After the thwack, both bucks took off running along the field's edge, eventually cutting through a gap in the strip of trees. The 24-pointer went to ground in the corn stubble on the other side.

[Read the rest of this article...]

26
Turns Out He was Camera-shy

When it comes to big Canadian whitetails, the western provinces usually hog the spotlight. One of the finest taken in 2012, however, was felled near Kenora, Ontario.

Buddies Dennis Chevalier and Chris Savage devoted six weeks to hunting a monstrous buck a coworker photographed in early October. For most of that time, they sat together in a pop-up blind, alternating roles as hunter and cameraman.

They really wanted to catch the buck they'd nicknamed Kong on videotape.

Because Chris worked the midnight shift, Dennis struck out alone on Nov. 19. Kong was the fourth deer he saw that day, though the buck wafted back into the trees well beyond bow range.

Dennis thought about grunting or even throwing out a snort-wheeze - anything to lure the buck back in front of the blind - but he wound up doing nothing because he didn't want to spook a nearby doe and fawn.

While the hunter was second-guessing his silence-is-golden decision, the deer in front of him snapped to attention and stared down the trail. Dennis heard heavy footfalls in the snow before he peeked out and saw the deer of his dreams returning.

The shot was 20 yards, and Dennis was holding the bloody arrow half an hour later. Kong lay dead 50 yards away.

After counting points and marveling at the rack's mass, Dennis decided it was time to call and wake Chris. Weeks later, they learned that the irregular 17-pointer is runner-up to provincial compound bow record. Its composite score is 196 7/8.

Jeff Morrison's story about this beast will appear in RACK magazine this fall.

[Read the rest of this article...]

19
Busted, But It Didn't Matter

No deer is despised more than a tattle-tale.

Had it not been opening day of Ohio's 2012 bow season, Brant McKenzie might've quit barely 15 or 20 minutes after sunrise. If he'd had a hand grenade, he might've hurled it at the small buck clearing its sinuses about 35 yards from the tree in which he was hiding.

The bowhunter was already a bit insecure over his choice of stand sites. He didn't want to be inside the thicket where he suspected a huge buck was spending its days, but there wasn't a tree big enough to climb around the perimeter.

He'd had misgivings about his plan of action, and now he was paying the price for ignoring his gut.

"I thought for sure I wasn't going to see anything else, but then two does sauntered through as if nothing was wrong. They eventually got real skittish, too, and it wasn't long before they busted out of there," he added.

Brant was still seething when, just a few minutes later, an enormous buck - the same one he'd been admiring on trail camera photographs, the very reason he was there - emerged from a nearby patch of honeysuckle only 14 yards from him.

[Read the rest of this article...]

12
Deer for the Doppelganger

Sometimes it pays to stop and smell the hay -- words to live by, according to an Arkansas tree-trimmer who counts friends like a banker counts money.

During a break from chasing turkeys in Kansas in the spring of 2010, Robert Weaver decided to cool his heels and watch someone cutting hay. The big John Deere looked like a house on wheels, and he'd never seen such a piece of machinery back home in Pine Bluff, Ark.

He noticed, too, that another of the guys there kept stealing glances at him. The man pretended he wasn't staring, but then he dropped the pretense.

"He finally just lit up and said, 'You're him!'" Robert laughed. "He thought I was Larry the Cable Guy. You know, the 'get-er-done' fella?

"He didn't believe me, at first, when I told him no," he added.

The two men became fast friends afterward.

"I guess you could say I've got the gift of gab," not-Larry said.

Robert didn't need another place to hunt in Kansas; didn't seek it. He and a friend stay at a log cabin on 200 acres, and they hunt it as well as some small walk-in tracts. But he wound up with a new set of hunting rights anyway.

The second season Robert hunted his new friends' place, he found the Holy Grail of deer hunting, which is about what it takes for him to squeeze the trigger in Kansas.

"I'm not going out there to shoot a 140- or 150-inch whitetail," he added. "I'll eat a tag sandwich before I shoot a 3 1/2- or 4 1/2-year-old deer. I've got plenty of those back home in Arkansas."

[Read the rest of this article...]

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