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Gerry Aungst
Gerry Aungst • 11/3/2012 • Kingman County , Kansas • Bow

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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'

08
Cellular Bells

The chirp of Steve Shorter’s cell phone was as welcomed as an ill-timed cough on the golf course green. That the man from Winimac, Ind., managed to sink the putt – or rather drop the buck – on Nov. 13 was nothing short of a miracle.

“I’d seen this deer during the bow season, but it was 80 yards away,” said Steve, whose family has put some impressive Pulaski County whitetails in our record book.

Steve found the perfect spot for his climbing stand a couple days before the 2010 firearms season, and he was in that tree when the opening bell rang.

A doe came through about 7:30, followed by the buck he’d seen during archery season – this time just 40 yards away. Its rack was easy to recognize because of the forked tine on the right side.

As Steve tried to acquire the animal in his muzzleloader’s scope, he bumped the butt of the gun against the cell phone in his pocket, turning it on and causing it to emit its usually not-so-horrifying melody. What are the odds of that happening?

“That wasn’t what I wanted to hear right then,” Steve admitted.

Fortunately for the hunter, the buck was in the clear when it turned to leave.

“When the smoke cleared, there he laid ... graveyard dead,” he said.

Steve sat in the stand for about two more hours, watching the deer, savoring the moment, and hoping his father, Jim, and 16-year-old son, Trent, were enjoying their morning in a buddy stand. Trent wasn’t hunting; he was there to give moral support. He’d arrowed his buck during the archery season.

Turns out, the eldest Shorter did indeed shoot an 8-pointer.

[Read the rest of this article...]

01
Just When You Think It's a Waste of Time

While a lot of deer hunters find sleep difficult on the eve of opening day, Bob Richardson made no effort to get out of bed when the alarm clock sounded. He might've remained there, too, had his wife, Melody, not rousted him.

"Your alarm went off," she mumbled.

"Yes, I know," he said, eyes still shut.

"Aren't you going hunting?"

"There's probably no point."

It wasn't that the 55-year-old preacher needed the sleep. He was just weary of climbing into his favorite ladder stand and seeing nothing.

That hadn't been the case during the early days in 2010, but during the 14 days leading up to Illinois' first shotgun season, he'd seen not a hair. He was thinking about all those wasted hours when his wife's voice again drifted over the bedcovers.

"So there was a point to buying all those deer tags and equipment?"

He got up out of bed.

Bob's favorite ladder stand was on 65 acres managed by a friend, who'd invited him to hunt. Daylight was breaking by the time he reached the farm, so rather than walk to the ladder, he decided to remain on the ground and watch a mown swath of CRP.

About 6:45, a doe and a huge buck ran across it at 200 yards, heading for the adjacent cornfield. Not content to wait and hope they'd come back, Bob snuck close enough to see into the field.

When he eased up like a cheetah in tall grass, he saw a doe, a tall-racked 8-pointer and a couple of small bucks. There was no sign of the mature stud he'd seen chasing a doe, at first. But then he saw a deer's back just beyond the field's crown, and when it lifted its head, Bob's eyes grew big as boiled eggs.

[Read the rest of this article...]

25
Irony Tastes Like Venison

Because of a foreboding weather forecast, heightened by bad luck at the onset of his planned weeklong hunt in Woods County, Okla., Gary Fears headed afield on Nov. 24 with the resignation of shooting the first decent buck dumb enough to wander into his crosshairs.

Not even a doe was safe.

"I just wanted to kill a buck, any decent one, and go home," he admitted.

When he went out that day, he fashioned himself a ground blind from a couple of hillside cedars overlooking a canyon. Soon afterward, while thinking about hoofing 500 yards to possibly get a shot at one of the two great bucks he saw chasing does in the distance, a handsome 10-pointer began dogging one much closer.

When the buck tired of the chase, the doe came on out into the open and began browsing, leaving her boyfriend standing guard within the scrub. While Gary watched, trigger finger itchy, the 5x5 suddenly whirled and took off in the opposite direction.

"I couldn't figure out why it ran," he said. "There was no way it could see or smell me, and the doe hadn't spooked."

So accustomed to misfortune that week, Gary decided to take the proverbial bird in hand. He eased his .270 WSM to his shoulder and put the crosshairs on the feeding doe. Before squeezing the trigger, however, he glimpsed more deer legs above his scope and raised his head to check out the newcomer, a much bigger buck than the AWOL 10-pointer he'd fancied shooting.

"It all happened so quickly, I didn't have time to get nervous. I'd already used that up on the 10-pointer," Gary said. "Plus, I saw only the right side of the deer's rack. I really didn't have a clue that it was so big."

As soon as the buck stepped into the clear at 220 yards, Gary's rifle spat a 150-grain ballistic tip at it.

[Read the rest of this article...]

18
Mother Knows Best

Prior to last November, Chris Denniston had little use for and practically no confidence in pop-up blinds. Satisfied with climbing stands, the 33-year-old construction shop foreman would’ve never bought one of the tent-like contraptions for himself.

But what was he supposed to do when his mother gave him one for Christmas? Feed it to the moths? Sell it in a yard sale?

He might’ve given it to his brother, whose busted hip kept him out of trees, but their mom bought him one, too.

When Chris went deer hunting on opening morning of Kentucky’s 2010 rifle season, he took his climber. Before leaving his Papaw’s farm, he set up his Christmas present just in case one of his kids or his wife accompanied him on a return trip.

The next morning, although he was alone again, he decided to christen the blind. Before that day, he’d never sat inside one.
 

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