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Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog

13
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...]

06
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.

[Read the rest of this article...]

30
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...]

23
This Figment's for Real

It took only one night for Brad Southwood to substantiate the existence of a bodacious buck with towering brow tines in his corner of Wayne County, Ky.

He'd heard reports from three people. Fueled by curiosity, even though he'd tagged out for the 2012 season, Brad obtained permission to set out a trail camera on a friend's property. He checked it the very next morning, and, lo and behold, the tall-racked buck was on it.

"I was kind of shocked to get him on film the very first night," he told Dale Weddle, Kentucky's regional director for the BTR, who's writing the story for Rack magazine.

The mostly nighttime photographs continued into February, when the buck shed its antlers, and Brad later found both sides, which tallied more than 160 inches without a spread.

The deer's next rack was even bigger.

On the Monday following the Sept. 7 bow opener, the previously nocturnal buck made the mistake of passing underneath Brad's stand.

[Read the rest of this article...]

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