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Entries for 'Mike Handley'

Beats a Lemonade Stand

Seven-year-old Ethan Dorff of Carlyle, Ill., might well be the country's next millionaire -- in $5 increments -- if he can get a patent on the bottle-less buck lure he invented last fall.

Prior to the 2011 hunting season, Ethan accompanied his father, Doug, to the woods to hang a new stand about 100 yards from where Doug spotted a monstrous whitetail two years earlier. While Doug wrestled the stand onto a tree, Ethan built a teepee of sticks nearby.

"I told him that teepee was going to ruin the deer hunting," Doug said, fully intending to scatter the sticks before they left. Before he could do it, however, his wife, Joni, called and scattered his intentions.

"I ended up leaving the teepee there," he added.

The first day Doug bowhunted from the new stand, a doe walked right up to the teepee and stuck her head into it. Before that, he'd been prepared to kick it down when he left. But he wound up shooting her and leaving Ethan's deer attractor intact.

Later in the archery season, any plan of removing the teepee was forever forgotten.

"I was back in the same stand, watching a doe, and she turned and looked behind her," Doug said. "I looked, too, and saw a tree moving. A 10-pointer was rubbing it."

The buck abandoned the rub and hurried through the area, moving too quickly for Doug to get off a shot through the timber ... that is, until the buck stopped and took a long, hard look at the teepee.

"If it hadn't stopped to stare at the teepee, I wouldn't have gotten a shot," Doug said. "I guess it's true that deer really are curious."

Doug was back in that stand when the shotgun season opened on Nov. 18.

[Read the rest of this article...]

A Rose by Any Other Name

How can a deer be touted as a world-record 8-pointer when it has nine points?

Well, it can't, at least by Buckmasters' yardstick.

With the Boone and Crockett Club, such a rack -- a 4x4 with a small, but measurable kicker off the right G2 -- is scored as a hypothetical 8-pointer. The ninth point is declared abnormal and becomes a deduction. Yet even with the penalty, the Illinois buck shot last December by Jason Sanders is considered by B&C as the top-scoring 8-pointer in their records.

The gorgeous buck is NOT the world-record 4x4 within the BTR. Just as sweet, however, it's king of the hill among 9-pointers.

I very seriously doubt that Jason minds the distinction. He put his tag on the buck on Dec. 1, opening day of Illinois' second shotgun season.

After watching the sunrise from his 15-foot-high ladder stand in Logan County, Jason tried grunting at 7:30. The buck that responded had a very familiar face.

The 38-year-old farmer-hunter got the first of four trail camera photos of the buck in October. It was a nighttime shot that didn't reveal the rack's true size. The rest were taken in November. He'd strapped his Wildgame Innovations camera to a tree on the family's 500-acre farm at the end of September, and this buck was, by far, the largest of many photographed.

Jason set up a ladder stand near the crossing in front of the camera. Because he doesn't bowhunt, he has only seven (shotgun) days a year to hunt.

"Fall is a busy time of year for me," he said. "But I always make time for the shotgun season."

[Read the rest of this article...]

North Dakota's New No. 1 Typical

Young Seth Bisbee began North Dakota's 2011 season with a full tank of anticipation, fueled by trail camera photographs of a huge Benson County 5x5 that had not only survived the previous winter, but also was considerably larger for having done so.

Seth was in a blind on Sept. 6 when the buck with the familiar rack came strolling in at prime time. Because dusk was fast approaching and the deer wouldn't turn, he chose to take the only shot he had, which was at the animal's chest.

In order to shoot, Seth had to draw and lean into the blind's window. And when he did, he and the buck locked gazes. A split-second later, it was gone.

"I thought I'd blown my only chance," Seth said. "I wanted to give up hunting."

He didn't, of course. He was back inside the same blind the next day, since there was no school.

About 7:45 p.m., the No. 2 deer on the family's hit list -- a 6x6 still in velvet -- appeared in front of Seth.

"I tried extremely hard to remain calm, and I did a good job of that," he said. "I drew back, leaned in and tripped my release. The arrow sailed right over its back."

The kid, convinced he'd better find another, easier pastime, almost left for home right then. He was still thinking about it 10 minutes later, when he spotted two more deer approaching.

"It was THE big one and its buddy, a smaller 5x5. I couldn't believe it!" he said.

Just like the first time, the buck was facing Seth. Unlike the first time, it didn't see the bowhunter lean into the shooting window. As soon as it raised its head, offering a clear shot to its chest, the young bowhunter tripped his release.

[Read the rest of this article...]

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...]

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