Big Buck 411 Blog

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

‘Ten-pointer’ is SO Much More!

‘Ten-pointer’ is SO Much More!

By Mike Handley

When Wil Branem spotted a second buck approaching his pinch-point stand on Nov. 7, 2020, he incorrectly deduced it was a 10-pointer. The underestimation didn’t really matter, though, because the deer was way bigger than the 4x4 he’d been hoping would step clear of a tree. That the lesser deer’s vitals were covered is the only reas... READ MORE

2020 Whitetail Shuffles Michigan Records

2020 Whitetail Shuffles Michigan Records

By Mike Handley

The state of Michigan gained a new No. 3 (irregular) whitetail among rifle harvests last season. The name beside the impressive 16-pointer is Tom Fogarty Jr. of Benton Harbor, who had neither seen nor heard about the deer until it emerged from a creek bottom on the opposite side of the wooded pasture he was hunting on Nov. 18. Tom was sitting insid... READ MORE

‘Dumbest Buck in America’

‘Dumbest Buck in America’

By Mike Handley

Clay Kiteley could do no wrong on Nov. 3, 2020, though he might now think twice before carrying a naked crossbow to and from his deer stands. It’s one thing, a good thing, to climb and descend ladders with an uncocked and unloaded bow. When feet are on the ground, however, it’s usually prudent to be prepared. After an uneventful morning... READ MORE

‘Twin Towers’ Ties Oklahoma Record

‘Twin Towers’ Ties Oklahoma Record

By Mike Handley

Blind rattling isn’t particularly effective once the whitetail rut is underway, but tickling the ivories can sometimes tear a lovelorn buck’s gaze away from its heart’s desire. Better yet, the distraction can make it shift into kick-butt mode and charge into bow range. Chano Bargas knows this, which is why he carried a small set o... READ MORE

Forty-minute Roller Coaster

Forty-minute Roller Coaster

By Mike Handley

When it comes to shooting bragging-sized bucks, John Koleszarik isn’t accustomed to things going right. Even if the hunter from Central City, Pennsylvania, isn’t too discombobulated when opportunity knocks, he’s apt to witness Murphy’s Law in action. While hunting public land in Somerset County last season, however, he snuck... READ MORE

Carpe Diem (Seize the Moment)

Carpe Diem (Seize the Moment)

By Mike Handley

For Emily Schaad, the iron was hot on Oct. 10, 2020, and boy did she strike! The Stockport, Ohio, huntress had been hoping to get a shot at a camera-shy buck she’d nicknamed Freak since 2018, but it was a hide-and-seek master. “His rack was all weird back then. I believe he was hit by a vehicle, maybe in 2017,” she told Ed Waite, ... READ MORE

This One was a 160 without the Junk

This One was a 160 without the Junk

By Mike Handley

Jakob Begley was crestfallen when the whitetail at the top of his wish list would come no closer than 70 yards the one day he actually saw the animal in 2019. But when their paths crossed again a year later, distance wasn’t an obstacle. The deer of his dreams was either living on or passing through a relative’s farm in Fayette County, t... READ MORE

Trading Three Cartridges for Wall Art

Trading Three Cartridges for Wall Art

By Mike Handley

Adam Wood knows all too well that bullets in a box don’t put venison on the table or antlers on the wall. While his first shot knocked his career-best whitetail off its feet and might have done sufficient damage to permanently douse its flame, he wasted no time in sending second and third rounds downrange to ensure it wasn’t going to pu... READ MORE

Copyright 2022 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd