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Entries for 'Mike Handley'

Time to Update the Dictionary

That little picture next to the word “snakebit” in your dictionary is Ricky Sullivan of Meridian, Miss., although he’s sure to be replaced by another deer hunter when the next edition is published.

Ricky’s visage was added to the big red book in 2010 when he missed a buck he and a buddy had nicknamed Pea Vine, one of the finest whitetails ever to roam Lauderdale County. The deer got its name from the first trail cam mugshot that revealed a rack so strange that Ricky couldn’t tell, at first, whether he was looking at bone or vines from the peas it liked to eat.

On the last Friday of the 2010 season, Ricky shot over the buck’s back. He missed it again during the 2011 Christmas break, which he blames on an unseen sapling.

Ricky again had Pea Vine in his sights in January, but he decided not to take the neck shot.

“He was only 100 yards away, but the shot was just too iffy,” he said.

The next time they crossed paths, it was a tad too late to shoot.

With only five days remaining in the season, Ricky grew desperate and decided to burn some vacation time. He planned to hunt from dawn ‘til dusk every day until the closing bell sounded.

[Read the rest of this article...]

The Ultimate Told-You-So

Jeff Essary was already driving to his deer hunting spot along Missouri’s St. Francis River when a friend, Chris Wilson, called to ask which stand he was planning to use.

“I told him, ‘The two-man stand. Why? Where would you hunt?’” Jeff said.

Chris thought the “welded stand” would be a better choice. The first one Jeff had ever built, it needed some shoring up, but it was still solid enough to support a Missouri duck hunter who’d decided to trade his shotgun and steel shot for a smokepole and single bullet.

Jeff went there instead, and Chris might never let him forget that it was his idea.

Dec. 21 was cool and overcast, and a gentle breeze was blowing out of the northwest. Jeff parked 300 yards east of the welded stand, pulled on his hunting clothes and sprayed himself  with a cover scent, and then followed a bush-hogged path to the stand that had seen better days.

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Making Friends Abroad

An Ohio real estate agent learned last year that the best way to hit a curve ball is to go out swinging.

After severely injuring his hand and ulnar nerve during a bowhunting trip to Arizona early in 2011, Matt Sheterom thought he’d be sidelined for the rest of the season, at best. He feared he might never again be able to hunt with a bow.

But that was before he struck up a conversation with a fellow vacationer, also from Ohio, in the Dominican Republic. Their idle hunting chat resulted in his becoming fast friends with Steve Esker.

“When I told Steve I couldn’t hold a compound bow any longer and might have to forego the upcoming hunting season, he told me of all the shoulder issues he suffers and how he now hunts with a crossbow,” Matt said.

“We became fast friends, and he offered to help me in any way he could.”

[Read the rest of this article...]

Rena the Enabler

Rena Altman’s coworkers know she’s married to an addict.

That became perfectly clear last fall, when her husband, Dave, called her workplace. High as a kite, he badgered a secretary into patching his call through to her.

“I did it,” he said, a three-word sentence almost too much for him to utter. “The big one.”

Like most addicts, Dave takes no responsibility for his actions.

“It’s my wife’s fault,” he says.

In April 2009, Rena and her sister, Robin, were walking in a field close to their Pennsylvania home and came upon a shed antler.

“My wife took a picture of it with her phone and sent it to my niece as she and I were getting ready for a bass tournament,” Dave said. “She asked, ‘Should I bring it home?’”


“It was huge,” Dave said. “I couldn’t wait for them to get home so I could see it in person.”

Dave spent the next several weeks looking for the antler’s mate without success. He even dreamed about the buck.

But he didn’t really go out of his way to hunt it.

[Read the rest of this article...]

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