Big Buck 411 Blog

Homeowners with Benefits

Homeowners with Benefits

By Mike Handley

Before closing on their new Kentucky home and land last September, Jimmy and Scarlett Tapp put out trail cameras. A day later, they began amassing photos of a giant whitetail they began calling Stickers, for obvious reasons. The landowner had retrieved images of the deer the previous season as well, when it was carrying 50 or 60 fewer inches. &ldqu... READ MORE

The Buck That Came Back from the Dead

The Buck That Came Back from the Dead

By Mike Handley

When Broc Atwood learned one of his neighbors had shot a buck in 2018 that scored in the 180s, he was heartbroken. The 42-year-old fireman from Danville, Illinois, had trail camera video clips of such a deer in 2016 and 2017, when it would’ve been slightly smaller. He had collected no images that year. Mystery solved, he reckoned. Imagine Bro... READ MORE

Switching Targets

Switching Targets

By Mike Handley

The slammer whitetail Scott Stauffer took to the taxidermist last fall was neither the first nor second on the Ohio hunter’s pre-season wish list. He forgot about those as soon as he acquired trail camera photographs of No. 3. The first deer he put at the top of his list was a mature 10-pointer that might’ve scored in the 150s. The anim... READ MORE

Hook on a Feeling

Hook on a Feeling

By Mike Handley

Dusty Nelms might be three weeks away from finally learning what his 2019 Oklahoma buck scores, at least by the B&C yardstick. Since Nov. 26, he’s received only wild guesses, no two alike. The state Department of Wildlife Conservation is hosting a day-long Rack Madness scoring event in Oklahoma City on Feb. 25. Qualifying animals will be... READ MORE

Backyard Bounty

Backyard Bounty

By Mike Handley

When James Goldman unwrapped a new trail camera for Christmas in 2016, his father told him he could test-drive it in his backyard. The elder Goldman had been feeding birds there, but he’d seen deer tracks as well. “I wound up putting it on a tree facing his back porch,” the Louisiana hunter said. “I was just hoping to see a ... READ MORE

Tripod Destined to be a State Recurve Record

Tripod Destined to be a State Recurve Record

By Mike Handley

Thomas Naegele normally uses his old recurve bow to shoot does for the freezer. On Nov. 2, however, he arrowed much more than meat. The 30-year-old Hillsdale, Michigan, archer was hunting that afternoon with his father, Mark. They were in separate stands on the elder Naegele’s 2,500-acre lease, which is sandwiched between an organic beef farm... READ MORE

She Got Heads, He Got Tails

She Got Heads, He Got Tails

By Mike Handley

Iowa’s tag lottery determined whether Taylor Byers or her husband, Caleb, would be behind the trigger when the 2019 muzzleloader season opened on Oct. 12. Both applied for tags, but only she drew one. That meant he would be filming her in their quest for a buck they’d nicknamed Dakota. “We’d gotten trail camera photos of thi... READ MORE

Goofy Comes of Age

Goofy Comes of Age

By Mike Handley

Quaker Boy Calls’ pro-staffer Greg Gershon shot a buck in 2019 that had been on his radar for four years. He and the others who are part of the 1,400-acre lease near San Saba, Texas, couldn’t decide how old the deer was, and age is their No. 1 factor in choosing which whitetails they’ll shoot. The lease isn’t a fenced prope... READ MORE

Worth the Hike, Even in the Dark

Worth the Hike, Even in the Dark

By Mike Handley

Less than a year away from a college degree in land surveying and mapping sciences, Leo Van Beck learned one of his most useful lessons off campus last fall. Literally and figuratively speaking: A map is pretty useless if you can’t see it. The  bowhunter from Sauk Centre, Minnesota, might not have possessed a road atlas when he struck ou... READ MORE

Ice Bucket Challenge

Ice Bucket Challenge

By Mike Handley

Amie Wade’s right foot didn’t suffer long on Nov. 25, despite her boot being full of cold creek water. In order to reach her public land stand site that Monday, the 25-year-old huntress from Choctaw, Oklahoma, had to hike in and cross two rain-swollen creeks. In the process, water went over the top of her right boot, which she’d s... READ MORE

All’s Well that Ends Well

All’s Well that Ends Well

By Mike Handley

Allison Rauscher’s self-confidence plummeted in 2018, when she shot and didn’t recover a great Wisconsin whitetail. “That season was brutal,” said the 28-year-old bowhunter from Lake Mills. “That would’ve been my biggest deer ever.” Compounding her misery, she also lost access to the property that yielded ... READ MORE

After-School Special

After-School Special

By Mike Handley

A.J. Post’s story could be called The Case of the Disappearing Bullet, since nobody could find the .50-caliber chunk of lead responsible for the hole in his buck’s heart. There was an entry, but not an exit hole. The lack of blood explains why the 16-year-old and his father, Michael, had to search for hours before they stumbled across i... READ MORE

When the Wow Factor Trumps Score

When the Wow Factor Trumps Score

By Mike Handley

While a 151-inch whitetail might be considered a buck of a lifetime by many, including yours truly (my best in 50 seasons tallies 150), it’s not ordinarily considered a truly world-class animal. But don’t say that to Clifton Vibbert. The hunter from Burkesville, Kentucky, enjoyed one of his career-best opening days last fall, which culm... READ MORE

Hunt for the Headless Buck

Hunt for the Headless Buck

By Mike Handley

Dustin Procario lost his head in 2018, but he got better. Eventually. The hunter from Louisville, Ohio, was over the moon prior to that year’s deer opener. He’d been keeping tabs on a tremendous buck, and he’d practically picked the spot on his wall for it. Before the opening bell, however, a grisly discovery filled his head with... READ MORE

Back in the Game

Back in the Game

By Mike Handley

You know those Photoshopped images showing a giant Typical standing alongside a Non-typical (usually Milo Hansen’s deer and the Hole in the Horn buck)? The one with the caption asking “Which one would you shoot?” That’s a no-brainer for Daulton Kirby. The 26-year-old Kansan will always choose the wonky one. Daulton is so int... READ MORE

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