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Ron Strussion •11/2013 • Belmont County, Ohio • Bow

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Resolve Rewarded with State Record

There are two good kidneys between David and Carol Gibson, thanks to her and a team of surgeons. But the eight years following the transplant -- which reduced her to one and gave him three -- haven’t all been good for the man from Pleasant Hill, Ohio.

David suffers from Crohn’s Disease, which is to say his intestinal tract has endured more natural disasters than Bangladesh. Osteoporosis has assailed his bones, neuropathy his nerves, and his feet and legs are mostly numb and subject to blood clots.

Having one good kidney among three (his own pair is riddled with cysts) has kept David alive, but Carol says her husband’s bone marrow is producing too many red blood cells, resulting in polycythemia.

Despite the litany of ailments that would shatter almost anyone’s resolve, David is not content to stay indoors during deer season.

That wasn’t so easy in 2010, however. The man who had given David permission to hunt his 90 acres went into a nursing home, and his family, concerned about liability, didn’t extend the privilege.

He finally gained permission to hunt another tract near Ludlow Falls, but the property was less than ideal. Cover was sparse, corn had not been planted, and the neighborhood dogs made quite the sport of chasing deer. Still, he managed to shoot two of the three whitetails he saw, which left him with one unfilled tag.

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Golden Oldie Reshuffles Records

 It might've been shot way back in 1942, but the giant whitetail known for decades in Alabama as the Belmont "48-pointer" has never graced the pages of our magazines or record book.

That's about to change, beginning with this blog.

Thanks to Lyle Gilbert, who now owns the mount that has been passed from generation to generation within the Spidle clan, and to BTR master scorer Steve Lucas, the outstanding swamp buck taken by the late Jim Spidle has taken its rightful place in "Buckmasters Whitetail Trophy Records."

An official score of 225 3/8 inches places it in Alabama's No. 2 spot for Irregulars felled by shotgun; it's the third-largest taken by any means; and, unless I'm mistaken, it's certainly the oldest on record for this state.

Though it was regarded as a 48-pointer for more than four decades, it wasn't. When Jim Spidle shot the deer with the gnarly rack, a point was counted as such if you could hang a ring on it. Nobody measured the deer's antlers while he was alive. Alabama had no record book, Buckmasters' founder hadn't been born, and the Boone and Crockett Club hadn't even dreamt up its current measuring system.

When "Alabama Whitetail Records" publisher Dennis Campbell, then a B&C measurer, put the first tape to the antlers in the mid-1980s, they netted 230 7/8 inches as a 37-pointer. The 11 other ring-holders were less than the requisite inch long.

The Spidle Buck ranked third in the maiden edition of Alabama's record book, which then used the B&C method (later forsaken for a system based on gross scores). Had records been kept the year Spidle harvested his whitetail, it would've been a state record.

There's a neat story behind this deer. Look for it Rack magazine next fall.

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Gar Hole Buck Garners Golden Laurel

The Ross County, Ohio, buck taken Nov. 10 by Chris Brazzell will be the 21st recipient of Buckmasters’ Golden Laurel Citation, which is awarded annually to the most significant entry into our record book.

The 11-pointer is a magnificent mainframe 5x5 with a very small kicker on the right P2, which wasn’t enough to define it as a typical rack. With an official score of 181 2/8 inches, the Brazzell Buck is a new world record among Perfects in the compound bow category.

Photographs do no justice to this exceptional whitetail. Its beams are an identical 28 5/8 inches, half the uprights measure more than a foot long, and the first circumferences average out to 6 4/8 inches apiece. And while inside spread does not affect a rack’s ranking within the BTR, it gives this monster deer a composite score of 200 2/8.

Making the accomplishment even sweeter for Chris is that he arrowed the brute on public ground he’d never have hunted without an invite from his pastor, land so uninspiring that the Louisiana hunter even texted his friends: “Man, I’m in a gar hole.”

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Defining HOG

 As impressive as its antlers are, especially with the extra beam on the left side, Scott Thrasher’s Bienville Parish buck probably won’t crack the top 50 whitetails felled in Louisiana in 2010. But photographs of the enormous animal have generated just as many, if not more, oohs and ahs than any other Louisiana deer circling cyberspace.

If there was a Deer Hunter’s Dictionary, this rascal’s photo would appear under “hog.”

If you’re surprised such a big-bodied deer came from Louisiana, don’t feel bad. I once thought as you do.

I was so high up an oak overlooking a Louisiana clear-cut that morning, I could feel the whoosh whenever a chevron of geese flew past. So when a shooter 8-pointer tried to sneak through the tall weeds about 50 yards behind me, it didn’t look any bigger than any other I’d seen or harvested throughout North America.

The deer might’ve been 50 steps from the base of the tree, but the shot was closer to 70. I was that high.

A few minutes later, as Cecil Reddick and I were approaching the dead buck, my eyes bulged.

“Look at the size of that deer!” I gasped.

Cecil thought I was talking about its 141-inch rack, which was way cool. But I couldn’t see the antlers at that point. I was talking about the buck’s haunches.

[Read the rest of this article...]

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