Big Buck 411 Blog

Best Unlaid Plans

Best Unlaid Plans

By Mike Handley

Sometimes, the best plan is having no plan. That sums up Trenton Doyle's success in Missouri last fall, when the 30-year-old gas pipeline welder from Lamar decided to give his little brother the best vantage point while he ventured into uncharted territory. Trenton had only recently gained hunting rights to the property owned by his wife's family. ... READ MORE

Virginia’s No. 2 Shotgun Buck

Virginia’s No. 2 Shotgun Buck

By Mike Handley

Brent Boney knows what it’s like to be dismissed by friends. In January 2016, the hunter from Drewryville, Virginia, saw and missed a whitetail so fantastical that other members of the Round Hill Hunting Club were convinced he was exaggerating. He was not. His encounter came during a dog deer drive on the club’s 1,000 acres in Greensvil... READ MORE

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow … Repeat

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow … Repeat

By Mike Handley

It’s hard to stay enthusiastic when the deer at the top of your wish list goes AWOL for a couple of weeks, especially if you rely on trail cameras to reveal where to spend opening day. Just prior to Kentucky’s mid-November rifle season, Kent Walters knew exactly where he was going to be when the 2020 season dawned. He was collecting nig... READ MORE

Eleventh-hour Ohio Giant

Eleventh-hour Ohio Giant

By Mike Handley

When Scott Rawlings’s son, Cody, showed him a photograph of a magnificent whitetail in 2019 — supposedly taken near his Chillicothe, Ohio, home — the man never dreamed he’d actually see it. The likelihood was so remote that he barely gave more than a passing thought to the animal with downward-facing tines. By Scott’s ... READ MORE

Ghost Buster

Ghost Buster

By Mike Handley

After drooling over a summertime image of an enormous buck in 2019, Bruce Laudick quadrupled the number of trail cameras throughout his 5 acres in Grant County, Kentucky. He collected only a few more nighttime photos of the deer, which was discouraging, but he got the deer, which certainly put the spring back in his step. Bruce had nicknamed the 21... READ MORE

Mid-September on Public Land

Mid-September on Public Land

By Mike Handley

David Ramey of Cartersville, Georgia, doesn’t mind breaking a sweat while deer hunting, as long as he’s in Kansas with a bug machine. The roughly $555 nonresident price tag — for the license and a deer tag — isn’t cheap, but his hunting spot was. Anybody can hunt it. David and his brother, H.J., found the public land t... READ MORE

Staking Out the Bedroom

Staking Out the Bedroom

By Mike Handley

In the whitetail world, the shortest distance between points A and B isn’t necessarily a straight line. Even during the summer and early hunting season, when deer are most predictable, they often zig and zag so much that it’s almost impossible to predict comings and goings, especially when the same animals are walking in front of trail ... READ MORE

How to Christen a New Bow

How to Christen a New Bow

By Mike Handley

When C.J. Boynes dug deep and shelled out for his first bow last July, he probably didn't realize the taxidermy bill his new toy would later generate. Not that it matters. The Louisiana man was more than happy to double-down on his new passion, which was sparked by his young son's desire to give hunting a try. Both father and son shot their first b... READ MORE

Chewiness is a Small Price to Pay

Chewiness is a Small Price to Pay

By Mike Handley

Phillip Pless has always considered himself a meat hunter. Last season, however, he opted for a little more gristle in his venison. The mindset of the 42-year-old, medically-retired Navy man from Newfane, New York, changed after he retrieved a summertime trail camera image of an unbelievably huge buck in velvet. He was so bewitched by the animal th... READ MORE

Son of Buckzilla

Son of Buckzilla

By Mike Handley

Wildlife officials at the Fort Campbell military base believe a deer shot in 2019 is the offspring of a giant whitetail hit by a truck there a couple of years earlier. The former, which was still in velvet when it met its demise, scored 254 inches and was Buckmasters’ Deer of the Year for 2018. The latter, which tallies 224, is the new Tennes... READ MORE

Halloween Treat

Halloween Treat

By Mike Handley

Halloween has long been one of the Buckeye State’s biggest yielders of bodacious whitetails, but that’s not why Levi Lease chose to go hunting last Oct. 31. The hunter from St. Louis, Ohio, had planned to spend much of his day sitting inside a dirt track racecar rather than a deer stand. He changed his mind only because he and his crew ... READ MORE

Two Seasons and 45 Inches Later

Two Seasons and 45 Inches Later

By Mike Handley

Doug Hampton passed up a 170-inch whitetail in 2018, only because his outfitter promised he could return to Iowa and hunt it after it had “grown up.” Doug’s hosts speculated the deer was only 3 1/2 years old when they and he first became acquainted with it. In his eyes, it was already a world-class trophy. In theirs, it was merely... READ MORE

Public Land Bruiser

Public Land Bruiser

By Mike Handley

Landin Hall doesn’t have to hunt public land. Neither does he have to cross state lines to find bucks that’ll blow his taxidermy budget. In 2020, however, the 25-year-old from Kendallville, Indiana, did both, all because he was tired of looking at the same old seemingly deer-less property. He’d collected plenty of trail camera pho... READ MORE

Turdy-pointer, Trust Me.

Turdy-pointer, Trust Me.

By Mike Handley

I wish I could’ve seen Philip Carter’s jaw drop when he walked up to the deer he shot on Nov. 14. The 41-year-old from Bentonville, Arkansas, knew he was shooting at a great buck that rainy opening day of Missouri’s rifle season, but there’s no way he could’ve seen the 19 sticker points mostly behind its brow tines. Fr... READ MORE

Buck Fever or Test Anxiety?

Buck Fever or Test Anxiety?

By Mike Handley

Josh Wright, a student at the University of Pikeville, aced his finals in deer hunting last fall in a test that lasted a mere six minutes. The Nov. 29 outcome saved what had been a disastrous season to that point, beginning when he clean-missed the deer of his dreams, likely the result of either buck fever or test anxiety. His bullet flew under, ov... READ MORE

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Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd