posted on November 28, 2011 07:02
By Mike Handley
Trudging a mile and breaking a sweat to reach a remote river bend is a small price to pay for smoking a centerfold buck.
Kelly Doyl, a 51-year-old printing press operator from Walker, Iowa, knows the value of sweat equity and expending boot leather.
On Oct. 18, 2010, he and his brother, Bryan, hiked to a distant ridge overlooking a small river and hung stands about 300 yards apart. They saw the sunrise from those positions the next morning, the coldest day they’d had to that point in Buchanan County.
Shortly after daybreak, a forkhorn crossed the ridge near Kelly’s stand. After it disappeared, he rattled lightly with a 130ish set of antlers he’d sawed off roadkill. Twenty minutes later, he tried again -- a bit more aggressively -- and immediately heard something coming.
He couldn’t see the buck, at first, because of the leaves still on the trees. When he finally glimpsed it, head-on, he wasn’t too impressed. The rack was only about 16 inches wide. But when the buck turned its head to the left and Kelly saw the right side, he changed his mind in a hurry.
Thanks to eight long tines -- the smallest being one tick under 9 inches -- the Doyl Buck is a magnificent mainframe 5x5 that grosses nearly 200 inches by its lonesome. The 17 irregular points contribute another 54 inches to the final tally. Its BTR composite score is 248 6/8.
Another Iowa Smoker
While bowhunting with a friend, Jeff Davis, in Ohio last month, I had the privilege of laying a tape to another awesome Iowa rack. Jeff was replicating the antlers for the hunter, Nick Skinner, who’d shot the buck with a muzzleloader in 2010. Ironically, I’d just written the story a few days earlier about Kelly Doyl’s deer.
The Skinner Buck, a 10x10 with an official score of 219 3/8, is a new No. 3. Factor in the inside spread, and its true gross is 238 6/8.
I haven’t spoken to Nick yet. He was bowhunting in Illinois while I was trying to punch a tag in Ohio. But we’ll connect eventually.
Meanwhile, Kelly’s deer is in the bag, so to speak. It’ll be featured in the July 2012 issue of Rack magazine.