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Entries for 'Mike Handley'

Trading a Racquet for a Rack

Had 14-year-old Sabrina Nisly's tennis practice not been canceled because of the rain on Sept. 13, she might have ended her first-ever deer season with a big fat "love."

But rain it did. And because her father, Joe, decided a few raindrops never hurt anybody, Sabrina wound up winning the world cup of deer hunting.

About 5 p.m. that day, father and daughter went to a quarter-section of land where they'd erected an 18-foot-tall double ladder stand in August. The stand leans against a straight elm beside a creek that splits 160 acres of CRP. The 75-yard-wide strip of trees is a main travel corridor for deer filtering out of the CRP to the neighbor's bean field across the road and to the south.

Joe dropped Sabrina off on the road, at the creek, so she could walk to the stand while he drove on to the corner of the property to park well away from the crossing. He then walked in and joined her.

The rain lessened to a drizzle, and then stopped altogether about 6:30. Not long afterward, they spotted a couple of does wafting through the trees.

About 7:30, Joe saw a nice 8-pointer at 200 yards, pointed it out, and then told his daughter to get ready.

"I was thinking, 'Okay, this is the PERFECT deer for Sabrina,'" he said.

When Sabrina turned to look and raise her rifle, she spotted a second and much larger buck about 30 yards behind the 4x4.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Golden Rule Still Honored in Iowa

This 45-pointer from Iowa is one of three whitetails from last season with BTR composite scores exceeding 300 inches. I wrote about one of those, an enormous Kansas buck that succumbed to EHD, last week.

This buck, which succumbed to a bullet wound, grosses 309 2/8.

The man who shot it is Tim Forret, who spends far more time behind the wheels of combines and tractors than he does hunting deer.

He first saw this buck while harvesting beans in 2011. The other time he saw it, the tag in his pocket was good only for an antlerless deer.

Tim and his young son, Zach, became obsessed with the giant whitetail, and they were thrilled to collect several trail cam photos of it in the summer of 2012. They devoted many hours to scheming, setting up a new blind and sighting-in the boy's new muzzleloader, which they agreed to share.

Father and son saw the buck they'd nicknamed Ol' Two Rows (for the way it flattened corn stalks) in the flesh on Sept. 30, while harvesting beans.

Because the drought spurred an earlier-than-usual harvest, Tim was able to get a buck tag for the early muzzleloader season. If he hadn't, his Oct. 20 hunt would've ended much differently.

Tim had lost sight of a couple of bucks he'd been watching and was scanning the woods line when his gaze fell upon a third with a familiar face. Identifying it took maybe one second, even in the fading light.

[Read the rest of this article...]

EHD Claims Biggest Whitetail of 2012

Some of you might've seen photographs of the (gross) 316-incher shot in Indiana last season, a buck we're hoping to measure for "Buckmasters Whitetail Trophy Records."

Or you probably saw the 309-incher from Iowa that HAS been scored for our record book, a deer we posted on Facebook last weekend.

Neither, however, was the largest to hit the dirt in 2012.

'Twas a tiny female fly — not a bullet, broadhead or Buick — that brought down the largest antlered (wild) whitetail in North America last year. And it might have gone undiscovered had a Kansas man not taken a stroll along a creek bank in search of the buck that had dropped off his nephew's radar.

The deer, while alive, was a well guarded secret within the family. Even now, few people have had the pleasure of ogling its rack.

Photographed regularly by trail camera until late summer 2012, the buck with unfathomable antlers (in velvet at the time) simply disappeared. Clearly, it was either dead or had switched zip codes.

Considering that numerous deer throughout the Midwest succumbed to epizootic hemorrhagic disease last year, and since bucks in velvet rarely seek greener pastures unless pressured, it wasn't difficult to connect the dots.

The deer, in fact, was dead, lying next to the creek with no holes in it — an almost sure sign that it died from contracting EHD. Even more convincing is that the skull and 55-point rack weigh almost nothing; having never reached the dense hard-antler state.

An official BTR score of 315 makes it the largest free-ranging buck ever recorded from Kansas, fifth-largest in the world, and it's No. 3 among the world's biggest pickups, second only to the Barnacle and Hole in the Horn bucks. Its composite score (with the inside spread) is 330 7/8 inches.

The rack's most outstanding feature, other than its 55 scoreable points, is its mass: 67 4/8 inches in circumference measurements. That's nearly 30 more than the Hole in the Horn Buck carries.

Before anyone cries foul, the deer is legit. It wasn't poached. It isn't an escaped breeder buck. The property owner has numerous trail camera photographs of the animal. The man who found it, uncle to the young hunter who set out and monitored the cameras, has a salvage tag issued by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Boo-yah and the Boy

When Laura Fischer answered her phone on the morning of Sept. 8, she didn't expect to hear her 9-year-old son's voice.

"Boo-yah's dead!" squeaked Cade, her youngest.
"Really?" she asked, doubtful, fully aware that the men in her life possess a peculiar sense of humor.
"Really," came the confirmation.

"REALLY?" she asked again, her tone implying a raised eyebrow.
"REALLY!" they replied - they being Cade and his father, Ryan.
"The whole really-really thing has become a regular catchphrase with us, sort of a comedy routine," she laughed. "So it took me a minute to realize they weren't joking."

From the get-go, however, Laura knew exactly what "Boo-yah's dead" meant: the demise of a buck she knew all too well from trail camera photographs. She'd even seen the distinctive animal once on the hoof from behind the wheel of her vehicle.

The Fischers have two sons, Cade and 11-year-old Caleb, both smitten with deer hunting. Caleb has shot two great bucks, the biggest a 174-incher from their own 80 acres in 2011, which is why his little brother had dibs on the first buck during the 2012 youth season.

When the nine-day season opened that Saturday, Ryan and Cade were sitting on stools inside a ground blind that resembles a hay bale on Laura's parents' 40 acres near Williamsburg, Kan.

[Read the rest of this article...]

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