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Matt Wellenberger
Matt Wellenberger • 11/14/2011 • Wabaseka, Arkansas • Rifle

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Gary Branton
Gary Branton • 11/13/2011 • Floyd County, Georgia • Rifle

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Big Buck 411 Blog

Entries for 'Mike Handley'

New No. 1 for the Sunflower State

James Yelton of Glen Rock, Pa., thought he'd won the deer hunting lottery in 2010, when he harvested a 160-class non-typical while hunting Maryland's Eastern Shore.

But he was wrong.

Yelton's winning numbers came up THIS season while he and his wife, Helen, were hunting a friend's ground in Greenwood County, Kan. The payoff was a new state-record typical in the BTR's crossbow category.

Many hunters don't realize that Buckmasters offers the only national record book with a category specifically for deer bagged with crossbows. The Pope and Young Club doesn't accept these whitetails, and B&C doesn't differentiate a bowkill from one felled by gun or even found dead (theirs is based purely on score).

Yelton's mainframe 12-pointer, the only irregular point being a fork off its left P-2, has an official score of 172 4/8 inches; its composite (true gross) score is an incredible 194 4/8 inches.

“I've hunted 38 years to get one like this,” said the 51-year-old workaholic, who puts in 16-hour days – seven a week -- at his specialty flooring company. When winter arrives, he spends as much time as possible in the deer woods, including a week or two in Kansas.

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Still a Steak, Without the Sizzle

You're more apt to see Brad and Angelina shopping the toy section of your local Wal-Mart than a 200-inch whitetail in southwest Louisiana's Calcasieu Parish, which explains why Jacey Broussard's deer got so much attention, not all of it desired.

Jacey first saw the buck while riding her horse in early November. Fully aware that nobody would believe how big it was, she dismounted, pulled out her camera and photographed it.

That was the first of many photos, the rest pulled from trail cameras scattered about the Broussards' 480-acre lease near Moss Bluff. Jacey was smitten with the deer, and she finally sealed the deal on Nov. 26.

Turns out, the deer had escaped from River Road Whitetails, a high-fenced ranch about four miles and a river away from the Broussards' hunting club. The owner didn't realize the Pennsylvania-born buck was missing until he saw photos. It had apparently escaped through a faulty gate.

While the hunt was completely fair-chase and the harvest legal, the buck isn't eligible for our record book because it is a known pen-raised deer. But Jacey's still smiling.

I would be, too.

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Not-so-Little Brothers and Kid Sisters

Subscribers to Rack magazine will no doubt remember the Pennsylvania buck that graced the cover in November. The 16-point whitetail, which has a BTR composite score of 209 2/8 inches, was taken in Northumberland County by 16-year-old Hanna Harris of Danville.

Now it seems that the buck's little brother has hit the dirt, nearly the same dirt, in front of the SAME stand, and Hanna's kid sister, Paige, was behind the trigger. This deer hasn't been scored yet, but it's already bound for the cover of Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine in 2012.

Two things are abundantly clear: Joe Harris grows big deer on his 280-acre farm, and his daughters know how to shoot.

Hanna's 2010 buck is the state-record Semi-irregular in the rifle category and the ninth largest ever felled in Penn's Woods. You can bet Paige's 2011 wallhanger is also going to push a whole lot of Pennsylvania bucks down a notch.

Jan. 28-29: If you live in northern Indiana, Illinois or Michigan and would like to have your buck measured for the BTR, you can avoid the $25 entry fee by bringing your deer to the 28th annual Hammond, Ind., Outdoor Sports Show inside the Jean Shepherd Community Center.

[Read the rest of this article...]

The Better to Smell You With...

While I've suffered more than my fair share of sinus infections, some that have left my head feeling as heavy and dense as a damp bag of Quikrete, I've never had it as bad as a couple of deer that came to my attention last week.

The first with a face only a mother could love was a very respectable 12-pointer shot in Ohio. Its swollen schnoz looked as if it had either been bitten by a rattlesnake or stung by yellowjackets.

Even though I've never seen anything like this in 41 years of deer hunting, I was ready to dismiss Muzzle-zilla as a freak of nature until his twin surfaced in Michigan.

Fellow blogger Michael Hanback posted a photo of the Michigan buck-a-potamus on his website, and Kevin Kreel, a wildlife pathologist at the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study in Athens, Ga., eventually shed some light on the subject.

Kreel, who has seen about 10 of these animals in the last seven years, suspects a bacterial infection is to blame.

Something else, probably testosterone, is behind an Illinois oddity.

[Read the rest of this article...]

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