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Entries for 'Mike Handley'

Double Take in Maryland

Brian Miller knew a shooter buck was among the many deer gallivanting inside the little pine thicket. At least three bucks, in fact (the other two were forkhorns), and 10 does had entered the copse during the two hours he'd been aloft in his ladder stand on Nov. 29, 2012.

Soon after the last trio wafted into the trees, all the deer began shuffling around in there while Brian frantically scanned the gaps for a head with antlers. When the 48-year-old oil deliveryman spotted a rack, he raised his scoped shotgun for a better look.

What appeared in his optics was so outlandish that he lowered his gun and closed his eyes for a second.

"I couldn't believe ... refused to believe ... what I saw," he said. "But it was still there when I opened my eyes."

Even though he was looking at the back of the buck's head, Brian could tell it was a fabulous specimen, far bigger than anything he, his father and brother had seen in the three years they'd leased that 17-acre tract on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

When deer began filtering out of the thicket and walking toward a nearby pond, the lead doe passed within 20 yards, as did the second one. The third deer in line was the enormous buck.

After the kaboom, the deer fled toward the pond and ran over a canoe and two aluminum boats TWICE, and then Brian lost sight of it. The racket must've sounded like the local high school's drum corps.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Caught Off Guard

A dialed-up riflescope's magnification is okay when you're expecting to take a long poke at a whitetail in a bean field or food plot. Even when a deer is fairly close, the extra power usually isn't a deal-breaker.

But a buck wearing nearly 200 inches of antler doesn't classify as usual. Bolstered by the element of surprise, such an ostentatious display of bone can render a scope as ineffectual as a turkey call in a duck blind.

Just ask Brett Robertson, who knows what it's like to yelp when he ought to be quacking.

In a span of 10 minutes on Dec. 2, the hunter from Valley Falls, Kan., nearly went from hero to goat. The first bark of his .300 Win Mag ended with a solid thump, a dead doe and a thumb's-up from his 12-year-old son, Ridge. The next two shots produced only echoes.

After an unproductive morning hunt, father and son visited a soybean field Brett has hunted for two decades. They followed a fence far enough out into the field to adequately cover it.

Two hours after settling into the sparse cover of the fencerow, Brett spotted a couple of does and shot one. The boom apparently rousted an enormous buck.

“I literally turned around, and there it was, running at 100 yards,” Brett said.

When he threw up his rifle and tried to aim at the fleeing deer, antlers filled the scope's viewfinder. The unit was dialed up in magnification.

[Read the rest of this article...]

And to Think This is Her First Deer!

If Kyle Sims were ugly or mean, his might be the name affiliated with the biggest typical whitetail that hit the dirt in Kansas in 2011.

Now he'll have to marry his girlfriend, Rachelle Karl, if he wants to see that buck hanging on his wall.

'"Go take a hunter safety course, and then we can go out.' That's what Kyle told me," laughs Rachelle. "He was a nice guy and cute, so I figured why not?"

Rachelle took the course in 2009 when she was 18. Afterward, she and Kyle began dating, which often meant trips to a local pasture with rifles. He taught her how to shoot.

Deer hunting was next.

After two fruitless seasons, she finally shot her first deer on opening day in 2011. Of course, that's almost like saying Leonardo DaVinci painted the Mona Lisa the first time he picked up a brush.

Rachelle and Kyle shared a ground blind that morning and were watching a pasture left in CRP. Shortly after 7:00, she spotted a doe and a buck walking in a draw about 300 yards distant, but getting closer.

"The next 15 minutes were the longest in my life," she said. "I was so excited!"

Kyle never indicated that the buck was anything special, although he knew it darn well was. He simply coaxed his girlfriend through the 200-yard shot, which was dead-on perfect. A second shot a minute or so later finished it.

[Read the rest of this article...]

In Praise of Plans B

The Land of a Bearded Daniel Day-Lewis yielded several 200-plus-inchers in 2012, and many of them will appear next fall in RACK magazine. One of the finest was arrowed in Peoria County by Bill Ullrich of Washburn, Ill.

Had the 53-year-old, veteran bowhunter stuck to his original plan on Oct. 26, the nearly 240-inch buck might still be living. Had Bill's son, Matt, also been able to leave work early that day, his might be the grin behind this fabulous whitetail.

But Bill was bowhunting alone that Friday afternoon, and he chose to head to a different spot almost as soon as he parked his truck. The hunt concluded less than an hour later.

He had his choice of two food plots in the little valley he hunts. His Plan B involved taking a climbing stand to a half-acre turnip and clover patch where he'd taken five bucks in the past.

[Read the rest of this article...]

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