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Entries for 'Mike Handley'

He Chot Him

Rob Thies must’ve sounded like Troy Landry from “Swamp People,” only without the South Louisiana accent.

Instead of wrestling an angry alligator on a line, Rob and his 9-year-old son, Trey, were deer hunting in Indiana, and they were staring at huge buck just 17 yards away that was about to leave in a hurry.

Rob couldn’t understand why the boy, usually quick on the trigger, was just sitting there.

“Shoot it ... shoot it,” he urged.

It’s a good thing the deer wasn’t one to ask questions later. It stood frozen in place, cartoon eyes staring at the duo atop the ladder stand.

“Finally, I looked over and saw Trey squeezing the muzzleloader’s trigger like mad, and then I realized the hammer was not pulled back,” Rob said. “I told him to relax for a second, and then I reached over and cocked the gun.

“‘Shoot, shoot, shoot ... now,’ I told him, and then there was smoke,” he added.

It was Nov. 14, the second day of Indiana’s 2010 firearms season, and the Thies were hunting the 100-acre farm owned by the family of the boy’s best friend. Trey had already opened the season with a bang, drilling a fat doe on opening day while he and Rob shared a stand on his grandparents’ farm near Aurora.

Had they thought to reload after Trey shot the doe, he might’ve also tagged the buck that had been several minutes behind her.

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Huffing, Puffing and Blowing a Deer DOWN

If what happened last year in Highland County, Ohio, can be duplicated, deer hunters might benefit from Lamaze classes.

Don't laugh. Little frizzy-haired Alek Muladore might be the only deer hunter to have gasped and huffed his way into the record books.

So shaken by the buck beyond his .410 shotgun's bead last fall, the 8-year-old's breathing was more like that of a woman in labor. It was even loud enough for the giant whitetail to hear it, although the animal found the panting sounds more intriguing than alarming.

The boy's father, Justin, was about to have a stroke. The deer was leaving, spooked by three does that had busted the duo at the top of the double ladder stand.

"I think I said 'Shoot' 400 times in about two seconds," Justin laughed. "But my son was suffering from buck fever. He was gasping and huffing, and the buck heard him. But instead of running, it turned back to look.

"That's when Alek finally pulled the trigger," he added.

The Muladores were hunting the family's 160-acre farm. Last year was Alek's first to carry a firearm, and it was Nov. 20, the first long-anticipated day of the state's youth hunt.

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Like Dogs at a Hydrant

When a doe led two bucks through the Harper County, Kan., creek bottom Billy Garner was watching on Nov. 12, the bowhunter from Arkansas thanked his lucky stars that the rut was only beginning. Because after the doe cruised on through, her two suitors hung around to leave calling cards in multiple scrapes.

The property’s 2 1/2-year-olds were chasing everything in sight, but the older bucks knew it was not yet time to dim the lights and cue up some soft music.

“At one point, the big 10-pointer (which he so desperately wanted) was broadside at 41 yards, and the 8-pointer was working a closer scrape, at 27,” Billy said. “The big one was raking the ground and breaking limbs overhead. I could feel my heart beating, but I was trying to stay calm.”

Eager to seal the deal before the buck walked out of his life, Billy used his rangefinder to check various yardages. He struggled mightily over whether to take the longish shot or wait to see if the beefy whitetail would come closer.

“They worked the scrapes for a long time, and I almost drew on the big one a couple of times,” Billy said. “I was thinking -- hoping -- it would hit the scrape the smaller buck was working, that it couldn’t just leave that one alone without adding its two scents.”

His hunch was as on target as his Mathews bow.

Even before the 8-pointer finished, the larger buck decided it was his time at the hydrant.

“I had my bow in hand and was almost chanting: make the shot ... make the shot ... look through the peep ... look through the peep,” Billy said. “When it was done, I think I made the best shot I’ve ever made in my life. I could see the fletching when the arrow hit.

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Sometimes Ya Just Gotta Grin and Deer It

Ryan Bearden was disgusted and ready to go someplace else, maybe even back to his warm motel room.

Though 2010 was the Alabamian’s third year to drive to Ohio, he’d hunted this Highland County farm only once before that cold Dec. 18. All he really knew about the place was that 40 of the 200 or so acres were wooded.

When he struck out that 18-degree morning, he skirted a cornfield – plodding through 6 to 8 inches of snow -- and walked 20 yards into the adjoining woodlot. He jacked himself up a tree, sat down and watched the paint dry on a winter landscape devoid of color and deer, painfully aware that the wind was carrying his scent straight into the property’s only cover.

The 24-year-old had been fighting the urge to relocate for half an hour when, at 9:00, he spotted two bucks running along the edge of the field. Both were 8-pointers, and he was about to shoot the larger when he saw a third buck coming down the same lane.

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