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Entries for 'Mike Handley'

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...]

14
Thanks, Mom

Adam Wireman has many reasons to honor his mother, Dianne, on Mother's Day. This year, there was one more.

Had it not been for dear mom, Adam's 2011 deer season would've ended very differently. Not only did she make it possible for him to scale his favorite ladder stand on Oct. 12 by baby-sitting at the last minute, but she also pointed him to the dead buck for which he'd been searching for four days.

Adam and his brother, Tyler, hunt their parents' 130-acre farm in Pike County, Ohio. They know the place like it's their own personal playground, which, of course, it was.

Adam moved his 20-foot ladder before the season opened, hoping to be closer to where a giant buck was photographed by a trail camera the previous year. A stomach ache cut short his first vigil from it. The second time he climbed those rungs, the deer gods smiled upon him.

Within an hour of his ascent, two small bucks approached from the thicket behind him. Adam then heard some loud noises from another thicket in front of him.

"Since it was getting close to last light, I decided to stand up and be ready in case something came out," he said. "I heard more stomping and, when I focused, I saw a huge rack within the brush about 40 to 50 yards in front of me. I knew immediately the buck was a shooter. All I could see were humongous antlers swinging back and forth between the saplings as the buck came straight toward me."

Adam loosed his arrow when the enormous deer was at 30 yards. He and Tyler, as well as a couple of buddies, spent the next four days looking for it.

On the fifth day following his encounter with the buck (and the last of his five off-days), Adam left his kids with his mother in order to go to the gym to lift weights.

[Read the rest of this article...]

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