posted on July 23, 2012 06:58
By Mike Handley
Crestfallen, Mike Kemble looked at his grunt tube as if it were a turd.
He hadn't been in his treestand for very long on Nov. 3, 2011, when the 130-inch buck at the top of his wish list appeared 60 yards down the creek that wound through his favorite patch of woods. To coax it closer, the hunter from Newton Falls, Ohio, pulled out his tube and grunted softly.
He might as well have shouted, "Run away, fool!"
Blue flames shot out from under its high white tail as the deer rocketed out of sight.
"I wondered what the heck caused it to do that," Mike said. "My grunting isn't THAT bad!"
A few minutes later, an absolutely HUGE 4x4 was broadside at a mere 15 yards, which is when Mike's crossbow bolt sliced through its shoulder. Leaking like crazy, the animal collapsed at the end of a 60-yard dash.
"Later that evening, several of my friends convinced me that we should measure the rack," Mike said. "The numbers we got were unreal. If we were right, based on what I found on the Internet, the deer was one of the largest 8-pointers ever harvested. Maybe THE largest!"
Waiting for Boone and Crockett's 60-day drying period was torture, and widespread speculation that the buck might be a world-record 8-pointer didn't make it any easier. It had not occurred to Mike that Buckmasters has no drying period.
When it was officially measured for B&C, the Portage County brute netted 179 5/8 inches after deductions – less than an inch short of breaking the record now tied by bucks from Michigan and South Dakota. By the BTR's yardstick, it's 3/8 inch away from the top spot among clean 4x4s, bested by the same South Dakota buck (the Michigan deer ranks No. 4 with us).
Mike isn't complaining. He'd have been happy with the 130-inch (spread included) buck that had his heart racing before the ill-timed grunt caused it to flee.
Ed Waite scored Mike's buck. He also wrote the story that'll appear in Rack magazine next fall. You'll also be treated to a look at all the BTR's top 8-pointers.