Big Buck 411 Blog

Iowa’s Latest Colossus

Iowa’s Latest Colossus

By Mike Handley

For two years, Jacob Darbyshire invested countless hours hunting a giant whitetail he’d nicknamed Major League. Before Oct. 29, 2019, the closest he came was looking at trail camera images. Their first in-the-flesh meeting did not go well for the deer. Two days before Halloween, Jacob and a friend, Bryan Bockes, went out to hang a new stand a... READ MORE

Detour for Deer

Detour for Deer

By Mike Handley

Ryan Boyer can thank his wife and the road department for the incredible whitetail he arrowed in 2019. The first two weeks of Ohio’s bow season were scorchers, so hot that Ryan went afield only twice. Hunting when the thermometer reads in the 90s might be fine for Floridians, but Buckeye State deer self-quarantine until after dark. On Oct. 16... READ MORE

Knock, Knock … No Joke

Knock, Knock … No Joke

By Mike Handley

When he was a tyke, Tyler Gladu might’ve been told not to talk to strangers. But that was then, obviously. Now 27, he’s fearless when it comes to striking up conversations with people he’s never met, or at least that’s the case when he stands to gain permission to hunt where he’s seen a world-class whitetail. His boldn... READ MORE

Post-op, Ohio-style

Post-op, Ohio-style

By Mike Handley

While many patients about to go under the knife worry about waking up, Ohio’s Jeff Mason was worried about missing his 2019 deer season, and that was the least of it. Jeff underwent lung surgery Aug. 1. “I was very apprehensive about the operation, knowing it might end my hunting forever,” he told Ed Waite, who’s writing the... READ MORE

If you hear dirt hitting leaves ...

If you hear dirt hitting leaves ...

By Mike Handley

Clark Campbell doesn’t mind stepping into the shower in the middle of the day, especially if he knows he’ll be in a deer stand 15 or 20 minutes after toweling himself dry. The 23-year-old from Guthrie, Oklahoma, doesn’t hunt where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain. He goes to a friend’s acorn-rich 9 acres in the (... READ MORE

Who Bowhunts from the Ground?

Who Bowhunts from the Ground?

By Mike Handley

Minutes before Dillon Boone pushed himself up from the ground in order to get a shot at the monstrous whitetail sauntering into bow range, he’d been stewing over brother Taylor’s suggestion they hunt together, sitting only feet apart. Dillon had reluctantly agreed. In his opinion, they’d be too vulnerable, too easily seen and smel... READ MORE

Worth the 15-hour Drive!

Worth the 15-hour Drive!

By Mike Handley

As far as Christina Krajcsovics is concerned, the road to Heaven runs from New Jersey to Iowa, and it’s 15 hours long. Christina was the tag holder when she and her husband R.J. struck out for a friend’s 300-acre farm last October. He went along to film her hunt. The cold and snow kept the couple indoors on Oct. 28. To pass the time, th... READ MORE

Better than Pictures and Sconces

Better than Pictures and Sconces

By Mike Handley

Chris Frey’s wife used to hate the thought of seeing a deer mount in their New Baltimore, Michigan, home. Now, not so much. Prior to the 2019 season, Chris had little reason to test his beloved’s resolve. His best buck to that point was a forkhorn. The one he brought home on Friday, Nov. 29, however, was plenty reason to consider redeco... READ MORE

‘Nobody in His Right Mind’

‘Nobody in His Right Mind’

By Mike Handley

More than three decades of writing about deer hunting has taught me that nine of every 10 hunters who punch their buck tags on public lands shed a lot of boot leather. They wander far off the beaten path not only to avoid humanity, but also to discover where whitetails are most apt to weather the onslaught. Ben Still, 49, is among the 10% with a lo... READ MORE

Gift That Keeps on Giving

Gift That Keeps on Giving

By Mike Handley

Carmen Lafromboise’s husband, Tony, gets the prize for best Mother’s Day gift. A handmade card might’ve been nice, but it can’t compete with a new crossbow. Shooting lessons were included. Tony wanted to be sure his 49-year-old sweetie was adept at shooting it. Very adept, since they’d booked an out-of-state, weeklong ... READ MORE

Kentucky’s Finest from 2019

Kentucky’s Finest from 2019

By Mike Handley

Spencer Loftus might have switched zip codes in 2018, trading life in Whitetail Wonderland for a Massachusetts hamlet. But that didn’t stop him from returning to his old Kentucky home with his bow. Before he left that year, he set up several trail cameras, which his father agreed to monitor. They amassed several summertime photos of an incred... READ MORE

Desperate Times and Measures

Desperate Times and Measures

By Mike Handley

Hunting the same property day after day can be like pining for pizza in a chicken joint. Eventually, you’re going to grow weary of looking at wings, thighs and drumsticks, and drive across town so hot mozzarella can burn the roof of your mouth. Sick of seeing the same immature deer every time he went afield in the weeks leading up to Thanksgi... READ MORE

Maiden Season

Maiden Season

By Mike Handley

Very few people possess the chutzpah to pick up a rifle for the first time and centerpunch a target, especially a living, breathing one. But that’s exactly what 18-year-old Madelyn Calvert did in 2019. The Warrensburg, Missouri, teen had never hunted before last season. And she’d never shot a gun prior to Nov. 20, the day she ridded Cha... READ MORE

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

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