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Entries for 'Mike Handley'

Endeering Readers

Imagine if you were reading your local newspaper and, all of a sudden, you choked on your venison sausage biscuit. How bad would that suck?

That actually happened in suburban Atlanta last week, sort of, when readers of the Covington News happened upon a column by sports editor Josh Briggs equating deer hunters to Neanderthals. The newspaper’s general manager, T. Pat Cavanaugh, even admitted in a follow-up that Briggs’ piece caused him to spill his coffee and almost choke on a sausage-less muffin.

Briggs might have generated less hate mail if he’d slandered God, the Atlanta Braves, mothers or grits. Not surprisingly, the story of the former Californian’s screed against hunting went viral, although he was careful to distance himself from the PETA crazies and to mention that he’s the proud owner of an AR-15.

The column begins, “Imagine if you were sitting in your car in the drive thru at McDonald’s and all of a sudden, you get shot in the neck (by a deer with a rifle)? How bad would that suck?”

Briggs was trying to paint an image of the hunted turned hunter, which kind of fell flat. The gist was his belief that anyone who hunts in this era, anyone who calls it a sport, must be perverse. And to prove his point, he recommends we all watch “The Deer Hunter.”

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Skunked in Ohio

 If fear has an odor, it’s lost on the most odiferous critter prowling Ohio’s soy- and cornscapes. Twice while venturing into the wilds before daybreak earlier this month, I froze midstride when I realized I was on a collision course with polecats.

Both times too close for me to bolt in the opposite direction, I simply stopped and watched them amble to within a foot or two of my boots. And believe me, I was plenty scared of being doused with funk.

I narrowly escaped the need for a tomato juice bath, but not the oxygen loss to my brain when I stopped breathing. As soon as the skunks got that something-ain’t-right feeling and turned 90 degrees, I shut my eyes and imagined sweet-smelling things.

I was bowhunting in Pickaway County as a guest of my friend Joe Schneider, on the very farm where he shot the world-record Irregular with a pistol a few years ago. It’s a gorgeous place – real bucky – and we gave it the ol’ college try.

I spent the first evening standing atop the wheel of a piece of irrigation equipment, sans bow, glassing for deer heads sharking through an unpicked soybean field. I was hoping to discover a favorite entry point from the adjacent creek bottom, but only a couple of does waded into the beans on my end of the field.

Over the next four days, I bounced around and tried different stands. I wasn’t happy with the stout northwest wind, but it was better than most scenarios.

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Proof Measured in Inches

With the flick of a wrist back in 2000, Mike Beatty made a well-known company’s little-known product a household word among deer geeks. The Ohio hunter credits Will Primos’ doe-in-a-can with luring the world record (286 4/8-inch) Irregular within bow range.

Nowadays, you’d be hard pressed not to find The Can or some other company’s knockoff inside a deer hunter’s gear bag. Still, whether it’s a doe-bleat canister or a standard grunt call, a hunter isn’t apt to use it unless he or she has confidence in it.

Therein lies the problem.

If you’ve ever experienced success while using a deer call, chances are you’ll be as hooked on it as your teenaged daughter is on the “Twilight” movies. But if you haven’t seen the contraptions work, you’re not likely to keep blowing or flipping them. Am I right?

Human nature.

But remember: You can’t hit a home run if you never pick up the bat. And you won’t be successful grunting or bleating if you don’t ... well ... grunt or bleat.

Lest you think I'm on the payroll of a callmaker, you don’t have to take my word for it. Here’s yet another deer hunter who relies on the reed when he wants to close the deal on a piece of wall art.

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And to Think It Comes in a Bottle!

Imagine letting your eyes wander the gymnasium in search of a dance partner. You’re just about to ask a pretty girl or handsome guy, and then you glance left and see the sexiest kid at the prom giving YOU the once-over and smiling like you’re the catch of the decade.

To be good looking in a world where appearances are everything is like being in estrus in the world of whitetails, where looks mean nothing.

What if you had the power to be the king or queen of the deer prom?

You can get it in a bottle, if you want it.

Dennis Adams and Rusty Moore know the potency of estrous doe urine.

Dennis enjoyed that prom king high during a 2001 trip to Saskatchewan (before the province banned deer urines). Normally, an outfitter hunt in Canada involves sitting in one place from dawn ’til dusk. About midmorning, however, Dennis could no longer take the minus-20-degree temperature and biting wind.

When he was ready to brave the elements again, he was taken to a new place that had been avoided all season. He doctored the area with estrous doe scent before settling in for the afternoon.

He twice passed on a great 8-pointer. And within minutes of the second decision not to shoot, he spotted a buck chasing a doe 150 yards distant. An east wind carried the scent straight to Romeo’s nose, and he left Juliet high and dry.

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