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Jim Carey • 11/17/11 • Rowan Co. , Kentucky • Rifle

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Katie Pachuta • 12/11/11 • Somerset Co. , NJ • Recurve Bow

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Entries for 'Mike Handley'

Second Chance in Illinois

A 24-year-old welder from Abingdon, Ill., made short work of dispatching a deer on Nov. 4, but it took the avid bowhunter more than two hours to realize it.

Matt Ford might've pursued the deer earlier, but his stepfather, who was hunting nearby, hadn't carried a cell phone to the woods. Rather than ruin his host's afternoon hunt, Matt remained in his stand, cursing his luck.

Prematurely, I might add.

The hunt began with a 250-yard walk through a Knox County cornfield to reach a narrow draw where Matt had seen some massive rubs. As soon as he was aloft about 3:40, he heard what sounded like antlers hitting saplings.

Moments later, he saw a buck approaching from about 70 yards distant. The left side of its rack was clipping trees and brush.

Matt loosed an arrow when he thought the deer was at 25 yards, but he'd misjudged the distance. It was actually 35, and the arrow sailed underneath the buck.

Fortunately for Matt, who wasted no time in nocking a second arrow, the buck heard the first one hit behind it and actually came down into the draw and closer. When it stopped again, it was at 15 yards.

When Matt released a second time, the buck was standing between two trees and looking at him. The only target was its neck, an iffy shot that he took anyway.

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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.

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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...]

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