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Big Buck 411 Blog

Entries for 'Mike Handley'

11
New York Record-breaker a Whizz-bang!

A New York incident has me wondering how many thousands of dollars I've tossed in the trash following a day in a deer stand.

For more than 40 years, in an effort not to booger up my hunting spots, I've been peeing in soft drink bottles -- being VERY careful to uncork the right Mountain Dew when thirsty.

Because I value scents and scent control, I start each season by buying dominant buck urine, never once considering that I could generate my own and not have to sniff the 20-ounce green bottles before quenching my thirst.

Sure, I've heard about guys who urinate in scrapes. But the notion of doing so has always struck me as risky, at best, and stupid, at worst. While deer might encounter all manner of urine in their environment, I doubt they regularly sniff the urine of something that eats cheeseburgers and drinks more coffee than Juan Valdez.

I'm not so sure now. Maybe I've been sending the ultimate buck lure to landfills from Alabama to Saskatchewan.

Before last season, Mike Canale had never peed in a scrape. Now, however, it's a pretty safe bet that he'll hit every one he encounters, even if he's made the scrape himself.

"During the summer of 2011, I read articles extolling the virtues of licking branches and mock scrapes. That inspired me to purchase some olfactory gland scent, doe urine for the dripper and to make a mock scrape complete with licking branch doused with the new glandular scent," the New York hunter said. "I also read some studies that suggested deer can't distinguish human urine from deer urine."

So he made one and doctored two real scrapes on his Ontario County farm. Every four or five days from the middle of October to mid-November, he peed in all three. As a result, the deer activity soared.

A few days into the shotgun season, Mike shot a new runner-up to the state record as it was walking toward a scrape about 50 yards from his stand. As a Semi-irregular, the deer's composite score is 207 1/8 inches.

The complete story will appear in Rack magazine in August.

[Read the rest of this article...]

04
Breakfast at Tiffany

When Mike Walters applied for one of the coveted permits to bowhunt a city park overrun with deer in 2011, he had no idea that drawing one would cost him almost $1,000 -- not for the permit itself, but for two mounts and 145 pounds of freezer-wrapped meat.

Both Mike and his bowhunting-addicted wife, Paula, were drawn for the 24-day, Nov. 7-30 hunt at Kansas City's Tiffany Springs Park. One of his coworkers at the Ford plant told Mike about the managed hunt at the nearly 800-acre, city-owned parcel. The man also suggested where he ought to hang a stand, a place near the airport where he'd taken a nice buck.

He could walk a mere 100 yards to the tree.

The first day aloft there, Mike saw at least 200 deer in seven hours. The second day, Nov. 14, he saw only three, but one gave him a severe case of Elvis leg.

"I've been hunting 25 years, and that was my first real taste of buck fever," said the 43-year-old auto worker from Independence, Mo.  "I had it bad, too!"

The short version of the story is that a 19-point buck -- lured either by rattling, a Tink's #69 scent bomb, or both -- came to within 5 yards of Mike's tree shortly after 9 a.m.  When it left, there was a hole in it.

The mount set Mike back a pretty penny, and he also spent almost $400 to have the deer turned into summer sausage and venison burger. But his season didn't end there, since he arrowed another fabulous buck in the park a week later.

[Read the rest of this article...]

29
Cucumber-cool, Ohio Boy Drills Legend

Mike Mallett of Summerfield, Ohio, is pretty sure he'd have choked if he'd been behind the crossbow instead of his 13-year-old son, Kurtis. He knew they were looking at the local legend, a buck that had been photographed, videotaped and discussed by almost all the neighbors.

Kurtis, however, seemed surreally calm. In fact, he was so thrilled to be holding a camera and getting video footage of the approaching whitetail that he almost forgot to grab for the crossbow. The eighth-grader's passion is filming deer and sharing his videos with friends by uploading them onto his computer.

But as the buck -- clearly a 200-plus-incher -- approached a scrape, the kid realized it was in easy range, which he hadn't expected.

"Once I saw it was walking toward us, I thought, 'This is crazy. This buck's walking in here,' so I shut off the camera," Kurtis said. "But I still had to put it down quietly and raise my crossbow."

Kurtis and his dad were sharing the 15-foot-high double ladder stand on their property. Since the boy had school that day, they didn't get in it until 5:00. Some does were feeding in front of the duo when the buck showed about 6:15. It was too far, at first, but then Kurtis grunted, which seemed to put it at ease and lured it closer.

The kid says he recognized it, too.

"I turned the camera to zoom in on the rack and saw it was the same one we'd seen in others' videos," Kurtis said. "When I swapped the camera for the bow, I kept telling myself, 'Don't miss. Don't miss. Stay calm, and celebrate afterward.'"

Because they'd seen a small part of the bolt protruding as the buck wheeled and ran, they decided against trailing until the following morning. When the search began with the help of Mike's friend, Greg Love, it was a short job. The deer hadn't traveled 60 yards.

[Read the rest of this article...]

21
Potts was Right!

A deluge kept Greg Woods out of the woods on Nov. 8, 2011, but the rain turned into snow while the 51-year-old electrician slept.

The white stuff was a complete surprise, since it hadn't been in the forecast for Brown County, Kan., and it made for a magical morning in a treestand. Even better, as far as Greg was concerned, he was out there on what Stan Potts had once told him was THE best day to hunt deer in the Midwest.

The deer were indeed active. The first one, a doe, passed underneath his stand 20 minutes after daybreak. She was followed by a nice 120-inch 8-pointer. And the third deer he saw that morning was a real jaw-dropper. It was well beyond bow range and wouldn't respond to grunting, but it posed against a snowy backdrop for 20 or so minutes before vanishing like a wisp of smoke.

It reappeared and tantalized Greg for another hour and a half before disappearing again. The closest it came was 80 yards, and the veteran bowhunter from Alabama decided he'd probably never see the monster again.

At 10:55, however, Greg spotted an 8-point buck skirting the edge of the nearby cornfield. The big buck was behind it, and they were coming toward him.

Greg had to test his safety harness, but he got a shot. He and a buddy, Charlie, found the buck shortly after they began following the blood at 3:00.

The 22-pointer is a stout mainframe 4x5 with 27-plus-inch beams, 8-inch brows and three (nearly four) foot-long typical points. Its BTR composite score is 218 1/8 inches.

The full story will appear in Rack magazine next fall.

[Read the rest of this article...]

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