posted on August 10, 2014 09:24
By Mike Handley
Mike Mallory has no qualms about stinking up his boots. As far as he's concerned, drag rags are for wusses.
The old trick of dousing his boots with doe-in-heat scent paid off handsomely last year for the carpenter from Akron, Ohio. Going into the season, he might've known the place he hunts held at least three shooter bucks; he knew where they liked to walk, too.
But even more important than the photographs taken by his new trail cameras, even more significant than his quick mastery of a crossbow, he credits Tink's #69 for luring the bull of the woods into his lap in mid-September.
"There's no doubt," he says.
When Mike crawled into his treestand on Sept. 16, he glanced at the trail he'd walked to arrive at his tree and saw the buck he and his 15-year-old son, Jacob, had nicknamed Shaker (because seeing it the previous year had almost caused him to vibrate off his platform).
"I was still on my knees, and my bow and backpack were still on the ground," he said. "I was sweating bullets!"
Since the buck's nose was to the ground, following the scent trail Mike had laid, the hunter was able to pull up his crossbow and unzip his backpack to retrieve a bolt. As soon as he was ready to shoot, the deer was only 20 yards away and facing him.
Mike made a soft urrrp with his mouth, and the buck half-turned, exposing its side. A second or two later, the bolt passed through both the deer's lungs.
It was all Mike could do to roll the buck over to field-dress it. He wound up calling the landowner for help, and the two of them struggled to winch the deer into the back of an all-terrain vehicle.
Back at the barn, the scales showed the gutted deer weighed 272 pounds, which is about 112 more than Mike weighs.
The mainframe 5x6 with pop can bases has an additional 10 irregular points that help its BTR composite score to a whopping 205 5/8 inches. Ed Waite measured the deer and is writing the story for Rack magazine.