posted on October 25, 2010 07:54
By Mike Handley
If fear has an odor, it’s lost on the most odiferous critter prowling Ohio’s soy- and cornscapes. Twice while venturing into the wilds before daybreak earlier this month, I froze midstride when I realized I was on a collision course with polecats.
Both times too close for me to bolt in the opposite direction, I simply stopped and watched them amble to within a foot or two of my boots. And believe me, I was plenty scared of being doused with funk.
I narrowly escaped the need for a tomato juice bath, but not the oxygen loss to my brain when I stopped breathing. As soon as the skunks got that something-ain’t-right feeling and turned 90 degrees, I shut my eyes and imagined sweet-smelling things.
I was bowhunting in Pickaway County as a guest of my friend Joe Schneider, on the very farm where he shot the world-record Irregular with a pistol a few years ago. It’s a gorgeous place – real bucky – and we gave it the ol’ college try.
I spent the first evening standing atop the wheel of a piece of irrigation equipment, sans bow, glassing for deer heads sharking through an unpicked soybean field. I was hoping to discover a favorite entry point from the adjacent creek bottom, but only a couple of does waded into the beans on my end of the field.
Over the next four days, I bounced around and tried different stands. I wasn’t happy with the stout northwest wind, but it was better than most scenarios.
I wound up passing on a couple of 2 1/2-year-old 8-pointers; a yearling followed me out of the woods one day; and either a sasquatch or a real stud of a raccoon did its level best to scare the bejeezus out of me while I was en route to a tripod on the final morning. I’ve never heard such a snarl.
I was both skunked and not skunked on that trip. I spent time with a friend, measured a couple of great bucks for the record book, and learned a little more about a wonderful piece of ground in the state that was last season’s No. 1 yielder of boss bucks.
Maybe next time.
The week after I left Ohio, by the way, I got an e-mail from Steve Esker. Subscribers to Rack magazine might remember the name. Steve was on the cover of the July 2010 issue with a 212 2/8-inch (BTR composite) Buckeye State buck he took with a crossbow in 2009.
He’s done it again.
Rod Stewart had it right: Some guys have all the luck. Only in Steve’s case, it’s more than luck. This is his third 200-plus-incher.