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Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog

16

Don Barbour

By Mike Handley

Does giveth, and they taketh away.

Don Barbour of Mishawaka, Ind., is all too familiar with this bowhunter’s proverb.

On the last afternoon of Indiana’s early archery season in 2010, he jumped a bedded buck and doe while walking to his stand. Because the wind was blowing in Don’s favor, they never smelled him, and it’s doubtful they saw him, which explains why they didn’t head for the next county.

The doe bedded down again on the other side of a fencerow, and the buck had no intention of leaving her. Don and her suitor stared at each other from a mere 40 yards, but the wall of vegetation between them was too thick to allow a shot.

Accepting fate, Don watched the buck through his field glasses. He counted six points on each side of its rack, but there was something weird about the brow tines. They were wrapped with weeds or something.

“I really wanted to get a shot at that buck, so I tried moving parallel,” he said. “After taking one step, however, I decided I couldn’t do it. The leaves were just too dry.”

A half-half later, the doe stood and bounded off toward the next nearest patch of woods, buck in tow.

Exactly one year following his first encounter with the 12-pointer with weird eye guards, Don saw it again. It was Nov. 11, the eve of the 2011 firearms season, and the distinctive buck was one of two he watched from a distance too great for an arrow.

The next day, Don went afield with his lever-action .44 Magnum.

Thanks to the does it was following, the buck, actually a 22-pointer, hit the dirt soon into the morning hunt.

Almost all the irregular growth on this mainframe 7x6 occurs near the brow tines, which explains why Don thought his dream buck was a 12-pointer, at first. At 191 4/8 inches, which doesn’t include the 21 1/8-inch inside spread), his is the third-largest whitetail ever felled by a rifleman in Indiana.

There’s a whole lot more to this story, written by Ed Waite, and you can read the rest this fall in Rack magazine.

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