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Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog

Entries for 'Mike Handley'

13
Squirrel's-Eye View

Unlike the dinosaurs in the "Jurassic Park" movies, unlike the great white shark in "Jaws," and unlike the brawls between TV's professional wrestlers (with apologies to believers), the buck whose photograph appeared on Shawn and Nikki Bechtel's trail camera in 2011 was very real.

Husband and wife - it was she who taught him how to hunt - were instantly smitten with the deer they named Bullwinkle. Shawn had more time than his wife, and he had a slight advantage because he bowhunted from treestands. Nikki, afraid of heights, always hunted from ground blinds.

Nikki's time afield was mostly during weekends, since her drive home from work didn't allow any time for late-afternoon sits.

Regardless of how much time the two of them spent waiting, separately or together, Bullwinkle never once appeared while the sun was overhead. Not in 2011; not in 2012.

Shawn would not get to hunt in 2013, and Nikki lost her enthusiasm for it.

"My husband died in January of a serious and ongoing heart condition, and I nearly gave up hunting after that," she said.

[Read the rest of this article...]

05
Kentucky Giant

Had it not been for the local Wheelin' Sportsmen chapter and the Bernheim Forest's combined sponsorship of a hunt for the disabled in Bullitt County, Ky., Danny Moore would've spent Oct. 12 indoors.

His brother, Ronnie, also played a big role in setting him up in the blind from which he connected with a whitetail that'll be remembered for decades.

Danny's deer hunting days have been numbered since his health began declining and he started dialysis about 10 years ago. For one thing, the veteran hunter from Clermont cannot tolerate cold weather anymore.

"We were pretty excited when Danny was selected for the 2013 Wheelin' Sportsmen hunt and that I was to be his hunting partner," Ronnie told Dale Weddle, who measured the buck and is writing the story for RACK magazine.

To test a spot he thought held promise, Ronnie set out a trail camera that photographed a gigantic buck several times before the animal went AWOL. That's where he ultimately put up a pop-up blind, even though he feared the deer was long gone.

[Read the rest of this article...]

29
Kabobs with 19 Skewers

George Morrison of Ghent, Ky., doesn't usually measure deer by the inch. He's more likely to consider pounds.

That's precisely why Keith Grenzebach thought his friend George had mistyped the text message he read on Nov. 17, 2012, because George - an avowed meat hunter - doesn't normally shoot big deer.

A "20-pointer?"

George?

But it wasn't a typo, even if George had counted one of the many points twice.

George and Keith were hunting adjacent tracts on the second weekend of Kentucky's rifle season. Neither saw any deer that morning. They came out for lunch, and then returned to the woods close to 2:30.

Toward the end of the day, George grew antsy. As much out of boredom as with any strategy in mind, he decided to get down and still-hunt the 300 yards back to where he'd parked his four-wheeler.

"When I reached the top of the ridge, I immediately saw a flash of movement," he said. "There just happened to be a tree nearby with a fork in it. I rested my gun in the fork and, looking down to the left where the movement came from, I spotted a doe."

That he didn't shoot her - and he normally would - was fortuitous. Moments later, he spotted a huge buck rubbing a tree.

[Read the rest of this article...]

22
In Praise of Point-and-Shoots

Greg Deckling, like most bowhunters, realizes the importance of practice. If you can't launch at least a few arrows prior to opening day, there's really no point in going.

Even if the sights are dead-on, it takes a little conditioning to be able to draw and hold a compound bow.

The college junior has no place on campus to shoot his bow. But because he lives in Ohio, where crossbows and red-dot sights aren't restricted to the aged and infirm, the lack of practice didn't keep him out of the woods when the season opened last year.

So they'd be able to hunt together, Bill Deckling offered to let his son use a crossbow that had belonged to a friend who'd lost his battle with lung cancer the previous December.

Even so, Greg missed the morning hunt because he'd forgotten to buy his deer tag. It was a major bummer, too, because he was excited at the prospect of encountering one of the several nice bucks his father had been monitoring to that point.

Later in the day, with a fresh license in his wallet, Greg climbed into a stand about 100 yards from his father's.

"About 6:40, I heard what sounded like a deer running through the cornfield behind my stand," he said. "I didn't see anything, at first. I was wondering what the noise had been and where the deer, if it was a deer, had gone.

[Read the rest of this article...]

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