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Brandon Jones • 11/26/2013 • Ripley , MS • Rifle

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Tom Waters • 10/27/2012 • Montague County, Texas • Bow

Big Buck Central

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Entries for 'Mike Handley'

From Burger to Bone

When Larry Mangin decides to go deer hunting, which is almost every day the sun rises (in season), it's a matter of choosing which of his 17 setups to visit.

The retiree (except for the little antiques store he runs) has access to lots of land in Meade County, Ky. He's planted several food plots, and he has both permanent stands and ground blinds at his disposal.

Larry's happy to take a doe for the freezer every now and then, but you can't dismiss him as a meat hunter. The reason he hadn't shot a buck in the six years leading up to the 2013 season is not because antlers don't thrill him. He's just picky; committed not to shoot anything smaller than he's already shot.

He takes advantage of all the seasons, too.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Ditch Runner

Tony Royal of Pleasant Garden, N.C., fell in love with Indiana while visiting his wife's relatives there two decades ago. He's made the long drive to hunt his in-laws' farms ever since, usually with friends he's eager to introduce to a landscape completely foreign to most Southerners.

Going into the 2013 season, Tony and his friends had tagged 15 bucks that scored 150 or better, and plenty more that topped 140 inches.

"It doesn't get any better than that," he says.

Tony and his comrades du jour normally hunt close to their living quarters when the season opens, but they deviated from that plan when they arrived and couldn't find the usual deer sign. He blames that on a family friend who was given permission to roam the property before their arrival.

He and his friends spent the day before the opener driving around and looking.

At one point, a 200-class buck crossed the road in front of their vehicle. That deer, along with the fact that a lot of the corn was still standing, gave Tony the idea of hunting out of a ground blind along one of the many drainage ditches between fields.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Crossing Guard

Despite a few outings with his stepfather when James Irvine was a little boy, he didn't become interested in hunting deer until about eight years ago, when he bought his first shotgun. Five years later, when he missed a deer with it, he decided an upgrade was in order and bought a rifle and second-hand muzzleloader.

He finally shot his first deer, a little 6-pointer, with his new 7mm-08 in 2012. He and his buddy, Larry Price, were hunting Kentucky's Barren River Wildlife Management Area, about an hour's drive from James' home in Pulaski County.

The following August, Larry had just left James' house when a huge buck burst across the road 15 yards in front of his truck. The startled driver could only slam on the brakes and stare in disbelief at the huge whitetail, still in velvet.

When James heard about it, he thought better of the 400 acres of mostly bottomland he hunts close to home. He hunted the early muzzleloader and rifle seasons without firing a shot (at a buck), however. He wound up taking a doe off the WMA.

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Buck Got Your Tongue?

Shawn Evangelista almost forgot how to form words last year. Even his three-word sentences, repeated for emphasis, were more a series of emitted vowel sounds, punctuated by gulps of air.

You'd think that seeing - and indeed arrowing - a deer he'd seen hundreds of times in trail camera photographs would've been easy-breezy. But looking at jpegs isn't the same as ogling the real live buck, especially when it doesn't seem the least bit bothered by a hole in its side.

But at least Shawn kept his cool when it mattered. He didn't become undone until afterward.

He and his close friend, Dave Allen, had been hoping to connect with the brute for two years. Both men spent countless hours setting out and checking cameras, even (by permission) on property they couldn't hunt.

Shawn eventually discovered the buck's daytime hideout and gained permission to hunt the swampy, recently logged tract.

[Read the rest of this article...]

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