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Bradley S Benner • 11/13/2013 • Ford, KS (Hawes Ranch Outfitters) • Bow

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Entries for 'Mike Handley'

Lethal, But Not Legal

In this David-and-Goliath story, nobody wins because the slingshot was too small.

Most states with rifle seasons for deer spell out which calibers are acceptable by imposing a minimum. The same goes for other game animals like waterfowl and turkeys, though it's shot size vs. bullet caliber.

In Louisiana, the smallest rifle ammo sanctioned for deer is a centerfire cartridge in the .22 family. This does not include the rimfires used for plinking and toppling squirrels.

Billy W. Jordan, 54, of Winnsboro, La., learned that lesson the hard way last month when officers from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries knocked on his door. Jordan allegedly admitted he used a rifle chambered for the .204 Ruger to take a giant whitetail on Dec. 28 that set tongues wagging well beyond Catahoula Parish, where he shot it, and his hometown in Franklin Parish.

The fine for such a violation ranges from $100 to $350 and up to 60 days in jail. Also, any animal harvested by illegal means usually becomes the property of the state.

Jordan's troubles might have ended there had he not entered the nearly 25-inch-wide 15-pointer in four big buck contests. That he claimed to have shot the deer legally, even if he thought he had, is also considered "contest fraud," which also carries a fine of up to $3,000 and up to a year in jail per count. Plus, he will be assessed civil restitution of $2,033 for the value of the deer, according to the LDWF.

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Who Needs a Zoom Lens?

One minute, 37 seconds, from the magnificent buck's surefooted arrival to its hasty and wobbly departure.

That's how much video footage a pair of teenagers recorded of the biggest whitetail to come out of Knox County, Ohio, in seven years. Brothers a year apart, one filmed while the other shot it with his bow.

The excellent clip, which was posted on YouTube three days later, pretty much tells the story in pictures, since there's no speaking. The only sound is the thwunk of Perry Kise's bow a split-second before the giant buck -- already ill at ease -- puts pedal to the metal.

Even without a camera rolling, 17-year-old Perry is short on words. Brother Ryan, 18, is a little more talkative. It's clear the harvest was a team effort.

The brothers were hunting the family's 45 acres, Perry behind the bow and Ryan behind a video camera. They'd agreed early on that Ryan would do the filming until Perry shot a deer, and then they'd switch roles.

They first spotted the distinctive buck on Wednesday, Oct. 26, while hunting the piney side of their property. It was at 100 yards and heading away from them, probably en route to a fruit orchard about 200 yards into the neighboring Amish farmer's land.

About three hours before dark the next evening, the Kises set up on the other side of the farm, closer to where they'd seen the buck and where their father had built a box blind in the brush.

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Redecorating in Truro, Iowa

From all reports, Emma Foreman's mother does not like taxidermy. But having to stare at the glass eyes of a mounted buck is a small price to pay for the smile on her 11-year-old daughter's cherubic face.

She probably doesn't want to think about what'll happen if Emma's little sister or brother happen to shoot deer as big as the one Emma smoked on Sept. 17, 2011.

Had Gerrit Foreman not just begun a two-day shift at the Clive Fire Department nearly 40 miles from their home in Truro, Iowa, he would've taken his daughter hunting on opening day of youth season. But it fell to Uncle BJ to don his bright orange chauffeur's cap.

He took her to the same Warren County treestand where Emma had taken two bucks in seasons past. They arrived at the edge of the hay field to discover the farmer had burned some brush beside the stand; the pile was still smoldering. BJ thought sitting there would be a waste of time, but Emma wanted to climb into the stand anyway.

Gerrit received the day's first text message and photo a short while later.

"It was a picture of Emma with a kitten in her lap," he said, "and the text message said, 'Emma wants to know if she can take this home with her.'"

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Cooler Than Cool

Soon after Terry Poland and his 12-year-old son, Joshua, scaled the double ladder stand in Corcordia Parish, La., the kid began thinking out loud.

"Daddy, any bucks I kill from now on (he'd taken seven or eight deer in the four years leading up to then), I want a skull mount. I think those look cool," he said.

"Sure, son," Terry agreed.

Before the sun set, Joshua forgot all about the coolness of skull mounts.

The Polands were hunting the same club where, as a guest, Joshua shot his first doe when he was 8 years old. Terry had joined the club in 2011, mainly because it's only an hour's drive from their home near Delhi. Plus, they attend church with a longtime member.

That was their first time to hunt together this season, and they hadn't been in the stand long when a buck knifed through the palmettos on the other side of a cypress brake they were watching. After staring at it for a long time, Terry finally decided it was at least an 8-pointer, which is the club's minimum, and told Joshua he could shoot it.

Finding it in the palmettos afterward took awhile, but when they did, they were amazed. What both guys had figured for a barely legal 8-pointer had morphed into a 200-plus-incher.

"We had no idea ... none ... that the buck was this big," Terry said. "I thought it was an 8- or 10-pointer, probably 140 or 145 inches."

The Polands might have been new faces in the club, but the deer was no stranger to some of its members. Two hunters had trail cam photos of the strange buck; one even had video footage. Another hunter had passed up the deer earlier because he just couldn't verify that it was an 8-pointer until it was too late.

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