Landowner offers advice to help overcome an abundance of other hunters.
This past hunting season in Kansas was different from previous years. The weather was nicer, but there seemed to be a lot more hunters. While we’re fortunate to hunt on private land, other hunters have permission to hunt there, too. There were also hunters on the property who were not supposed to be there.
On opening morning, my friend Moose had hunters come in on him. Sometimes that can work in your favor. We go in and get set up well before daylight. Quite a few hunters in that area like to drive in and check the draws from their trucks. If they jump a deer, they scramble out and try to get a shot. The good news is it gets the deer moving. The bad news is the deer are sometimes at a dead run when they come by our stands. During the afternoon hunt, I also had hunters walk in on me, so the first day was a bust.
The following morning, we spotted a buck bedded in the prickly bushes. We figured he had to come out some time, so we decided to wait him out. After an hour and 10 minutes went by, I heard a truck come in behind us. That was the end of that scenario. The buck was bedded 300 yards away, and when it jumped up to run, we didn’t even think about taking a shot. I don’t think the guys in the truck even saw it.
The landowner was disappointed about all the unauthorized activity on his farm, so he showed us some out-of-the-way places where trucks wouldn’t be a big issue.
Moose went out with the landowner’s son to check some other spots, while I opted to sit for the morning. When Moose got back, he still-hunted through a draw the landowner had shown us.
While easing up the side of the draw, Moose saw a doe stand up and begin to move off. A buck jumped up to follow, but it was too thick for Moose to get a shot. That evening, Moose got a nice 9 pointer.
The next morning, we set up on some of the new spots. We saw some does and a shooter buck, but he didn’t cooperate and zigged when needed him to zag.
After lunch, Moose suggested we push the draw where he jumped the buck the day before. I set up on the upper end while Moose walked the other side.
Just 10 minutes later, a bunch of deer came out of the draw. I saw three different bucks among the does. They ran out and stopped, so I got the biggest buck in my scope. Just before I squeezed the trigger, I realized one side of his rack was gone. Then, off to the left, I saw a big buck looking back in the draw. It was one of those bucks that immediately gets your heart pounding, so I kept telling myself to ignore the rack and just look at the rib cage.
I managed to get him in the scope and fire a shot, at the sound of which he took off back into the draw. All the other deer took off running, and next thing I knew there were bodies and tails flashing by everywhere.
I kept looking for the big buck, but he didn’t come by me. I headed over to look for sign of a hit. About 125 yards up the draw, I spotted Moose on the other side. I asked him if a big buck came back up the draw, and he said no.
About that time, the buck came running out of the draw and headed out in the field. I took a quick shot and then jammed my gun trying to bolt another round too quickly.
Fortunately, about the time I got the gun in working order again, the buck when down.
Moose signaled that he would keep an eye on the buck as I got in better position for a coup de grâce. By the time I got closer and in the clear, it was over.
You should have seen us when we walked up on him. I knew it was a big buck, but I had no idea just how big. Moose and I shared high-fives and hugs as we whooped and hollered.
At more than 170 inches, it was our biggest whitetail ever. The Lord has really blessed us on our hunting trips to Kansas, and I thank him for every deer we harvest.
I also have to thank the generous landowner and his family for letting us enjoy his beautiful property, not to mention their amazing hospitality.
Now Moose and I are counting the days until next year’s tag draw.
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