Big Buck 411 Blog

If Not This Year …

If Not This Year …

By Mike Handley

Davey Stuckey waited a long time for a chance at his newest piece of wall art. He first became acquainted with the distinctive whitetail when his trail camera yielded photographs of it in June 2017. In velvet and with a long time yet to grow, the Ross County, Ohio, specimen was already a head-turner. Not for a lack of trying, Davey didn’t see... READ MORE

Multiple Beams in Oklahoma

Multiple Beams in Oklahoma

By Mike Handley

The day someone makes an affordable trail camera capable of operating underwater, Travis Piepenbrok might buy it. Or he might not. The pest control technician from Vinita, Oklahoma, is a catfish noodler, accustomed to sliding his arm into holes in river banks and extracting nesting flatheads, many of them weighing in the double digits. Noodlers rar... READ MORE

In Praise of Grunt Calls

In Praise of Grunt Calls

By Mike Handley

The third-largest whitetail felled during the 2018 season came out of Indiana. At 254 4/8 inches, Adrian Luntzel’s buck is the Hoosier State’s new crossbow record. Among all harvests there, it comes in at No. 6. Adrian – Al for short – knew the deer existed. After he’d heard rumors, one claiming the buck was a 250-inc... READ MORE

Jersey Doe Lives for Another Day

Jersey Doe Lives for Another Day

By Mike Handley

Corwin Myers spent a lot of time shivering in a Hunterdon County, New Jersey, deer stand during the first week of January 2018. Trail camera photographs of numerous bucks hardened his resolve and kept his internal furnace stoked. The local whitetails seemed less inclined to walk around in the cold and snow, however, and Corwin’s enthusiasm ev... READ MORE

Mistaken Identity

Mistaken Identity

By Mike Handley

Corey Bacon is usually pretty good at judging bucks by their cover, but he was dead wrong last year. The 28-year-old from Lebo, Kansas, mistakenly thought he’d shot a 160-inch 8-pointer on Dec. 8, 2018, the No. 2 deer on that season’s wish list. He didn’t see the kickers or the little drop tines it wore until he reached the downed... READ MORE

Trading Camo for Orange

Trading Camo for Orange

By Mike Handley

If I wait more than four days to pull the memory card from my backyard trail camera during the redwing blackbird migration, I’ll have to sift between 3,000 and 4,000 mostly identical images. The numbers are so overwhelming that I wind up trashing far more than I keep. Cameran Derefield is not as easily overwhelmed. The 27-year-old electrical ... READ MORE

Three-stanza Limerick

Three-stanza Limerick

By Mike Handley

The script for Corey Chitwood’s hunt for a nearly 200-inch whitetail could have been written in the form of a limerick. There was a young man from Kentucky, who began his season unlucky. He went out with a bow, was beset by a doe, and his world became far less bucky. He returned to his blind with a crossbow, the weapon du jour from which bolt... READ MORE

Long Time Coming

Long Time Coming

By Mike Handley

Told by everyone the nearly 194-inch buck he arrowed last season was a record book specimen, Edward Walters contacted the Pope and Young Club seeking to have his deer measured. He was surprised and saddened to learn they don’t accept bucks taken with a crossbow. The Boone and Crockett Club does, he learned, but they told him the non-typical d... READ MORE

Better than Splotches

Better than Splotches

By Mike Handley

When Bryan LeVan left work at 3:30 on Nov. 5, 2018, his destination was the 180-acre tract he’s deer hunted for two decades. The highway worker from West Liberty, Ohio, was hoping to see the piebald buck that had been on his radar for two seasons. He hadn’t been able to set out trail cameras that year, so he had no idea what else might ... READ MORE

Two Deer, One World-class Rack

Two Deer, One World-class Rack

By Mike Handley

While most hunters might choose to let a stand rest between bloodlettings, Dylan McGee opted to spend the afternoon of Nov. 3, 2018, in the very stand from which he’d arrowed a doe that morning. The Mason, Illinois, archer has hunted the same 300-acre private tract for six years. His favorite ambush point is an 80-yard-long finger of woods ex... READ MORE

Whack-a-Deer

Whack-a-Deer

By Mike Handley

For Derrick Blakeley, choosing where on the family’s third-generation farm to usher in Kentucky’s 2018 rifle season was easy. He went to the clover and turnip plot where he’d spotted a monstrous 10-pointer a week earlier. The particular homemade stand had been there for a long time. “The food plot I was hunting is shaped li... READ MORE

In Lieu of Breakfast

In Lieu of Breakfast

By Mike Handley

For Bo Ezell, skipping breakfast to go squirrel hunting is a no-brainer. Swapping a fork for a deer rifle, however, is a tough call. The 13-year-old was staying with his grandparents last December when forced to choose between staying indoors and eating and accompanying a neighbor who’d reported seeing a really big buck in her pasture. He rel... READ MORE

Squirrel, Squirrel, Deer

Squirrel, Squirrel, Deer

By Mike Handley

Austin Gaines learned an important lesson last deer season: Never assume the thing you heard is the same thing you heard before that. The 24-year-old diesel mechanic from Gallipolis, Ohio, is fanatical about stocking his freezer with venison, so he was thrilled beyond measure when a buddy helped him gain access to a nearly 700-acre, deer-rich farm ... READ MORE

Ghostbusting, Ohio Style

Ghostbusting, Ohio Style

By Mike Handley

The first time Daniel Stutler retrieved trail camera photographs of the monstrous whitetail he would later nickname The Ghost, he’d already tagged out for 2017. The slack-jawed bowhunter from Ostrander, Ohio, was smitten from the get-go, and he was determined to keep tabs on the giant roaming his girlfriend’s family land in Delaware Cou... READ MORE

Delta Double

Delta Double

By Mike Handley

The flat Mississippi Delta yields more than bumper crops of cotton, corn and soybeans. The fertile region is also known for its beefy, top-heavy whitetails. Few places in the Deep South produce deer that can rival those found in the block of counties within an hour’s drive of the Mississippi River. Heath Hodges knows this. The 38-year-old bui... READ MORE

Copyright 2019 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2017 by Buckmasters, Ltd