posted on January 16, 2012 09:43
By Mike Handley
Spending all day Saturday and Sunday, opening weekend of Kentucky's late blackpowder season, sitting inside his truck was pure torture for Michael Rothman.
The 44-year-old from Bonnieville works as a maintenance mechanic at Fort Knox, where he also serves as a "guide" for Unit 42 during special hunts. Being a guide basically means he checks hunters' paperwork, checks-in their deer and otherwise sits in his truck all day. It means waking up at 1:30 a.m., eating breakfast at a truck stop, and then going to the base.
He cannot leave until 5:30 or later.
On Dec. 8, the Thursday before he had weekend duty, Michael checked his trail cam and retrieved a photograph of a buck with antlers resembling a den of timber rattlers. He could think of nothing else afterward.
"I lost a lot of sleep," he said. "I'd close my eyes, and all I could see was this deer."
He was able to check his camera again on Dec. 12, while he and his oldest daughter, Megan, hunted. Much to his delight, the Medusa Buck had wandered in front of the lens on Dec. 10 and 11, so he knew it had survived the muzzleloader opener.
Michael took off the rest of the week to ... um ... nurse a sore back.
While sitting in Megan's double ladder stand on a frosty Sunday, Dec. 18, he found the perfect remedy for both back pain and sleepless nights. The pill was dispensed by his .50-caliber T/C.
If this strange whitetail looks familiar, it probably isn't. A very similar buck was taken off Fort Knox, where Michael works. But he shot this rascal on the family's 325 acres in Hart County. Ironically, he and Justin Corn, the guy who shot the other one, live only 20 miles apart.
Neither buck produced enough testosterone to shed their antlers or the velvet covering. The Corn Buck's testicles seemed fully formed and in the right location, but the Rothman Buck's had never descended -- meaning they were about the size of navy beans and inside the body cavity.
Dates to Remember
Jan. 27-29: BTR scorers will be measuring antlers in Topeka's ExpoCentre during the first-ever Monster Buck Classic. This show is a first for Kansas, so it should attract some of the largest whitetails on the planet. If you're really into big deer, this is a must-see.
Jan. 28-29: Hunters living in northern Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin or Michigan who would like to have their bucks measured for the Buckmasters record book can avoid the $25 entry fee by bringing their deer to the 28th annual Hammond, Ind., Outdoor Sports Show inside the Jean Shepherd Community Center.
March 16-18: If you're interested in becoming a Buckmasters scorer, the next measuring class will be held during Circle M Auctions' 11th Annual Whitetail Classic Sport Show and Antler Auction in Dubuque, Iowa's Grand River Center. You'll have to pre-register for the class. This rare opportunity aside, the show attracts truckloads of antlers and serious collectors. For information about the class and to download the pre-registration forms, click HERE.