By John E. Phillips
Mid-November bowhunt in Toto’s Land ends with the slaying of a giant.
Allen Shelton has been a fan of trail cameras for years.
Even so, he was shocked to see an enormous buck among his photos in 2013. Although he lives in Pottawatomie County, Kansas, which routinely yields giant whitetails, he’d never seen a deer that big on his property.
Knowing he could very well see the world-class, tall-tined whitetail in his sights, Allen left his home at 2:10 p.m. on Nov. 10. That week is one of the Sunflower State’s best for bowhunting.
Soon after he arrived at his destination, he spotted a huge buck walking through the gate leading into the pasture he planned to hunt.
“I’m very scent-conscious,” he said. “I want to be as scent-free as possible. That day, I carried my clean hunting clothes in an odor-proof bag. When I saw that big buck moving into the pasture, I hurried to my stand and changed clothes.
“The pasture I was hunting had tall grass and was surrounded by soybean and cornfields,” he continued. “I liked that treestand because it overlooks two nearby trails bucks use to reach the does’ bedding area.
“The paths come together at a pinch point, and my stand was about 20 feet high. I could see the trails and the bucks moving through that high grass,” he added.
Allen had been aloft for only five minutes when he saw the giant buck photographed by his trail cam topping a hill 400 yards distant. He’d named the animal Mine, because he considered it his No. 1 target.
“Mine was coming up on the east side of me, moving north and going through a pocket of trees where does usually bed,” he said.
Allen lost sight of Mine when the deer went into the trees. He hoped the animal would come back out and walk toward him before dark. But the buck had bedded down in high grass.
Allen felt so confident the big whitetail would stay bedded until after dark that he texted a couple of his buddies on other stands and other properties, sharing his predicament.
However, the buck stayed in the grass for only about 15 minutes. It then stood and headed straight west toward the 20-yard-wide draw in which the surprised hunter was waiting. Aloft in a cedar tree, Allen was completely concealed.
The same held true for the buck when it walked underneath the evergreen.
“I couldn’t get a shot because when the buck walked under the tree, the cedar limbs obscured him,” Allen said. “The area the buck had come through was very thick, and he’d moved off the trail and walked into the thicket between my stand and the trail. I couldn’t get a shot at him as he was coming toward me, and I couldn’t see him when he was right under me.”
After going under Allen’s tree, Mine kept moving to the west and then circled the tree, never giving the hunter an opportunity. The buck eventually walked out from under the tree, into thick brush, and then circled the tree again. Throughout this maneuver, it was never more than 15 yards from Allen, but the thick cover prevented a shot.
Finally, Mine walked out 11 yards from the base of the tree. Allen had already pulled back his Mathews Switchback. When the deer turned broadside, Allen settled his pin behind the buck’s shoulder and released the arrow.
The buck kicked out his back legs and ran southward, away from Allen.
“I couldn’t see beyond 30 yards, but I thought I heard the buck crash into the high grass,” Allen said. “I sat down on my stand and texted all my friends, telling them I’d made a good shot on the biggest buck I’d ever seen in my life. I also texted my wife, Leslie, and asked her to bring my two boys – 13-year-old Marcus and Coby, 11 – to help me blood-trail the deer.
“A friend picked up my wife and boys. We drove to the place where I’d arrowed my deer, and, of course, as soon as the truck stopped, my two sons were out of it,” he continued.
“When I showed them the direction my deer had gone, they started scouring the area before I even could discover a blood trail. Soon thereafter, Marcus and Coby yelled, ‘Daddy, we found him!’
“As I walked toward the boys, I heard one of them say, ‘This thing is huge!’ Marcus yelled out, ‘Dad, this buck is bigger than the one I shot!’”
Two years earlier, Allen had taken Marcus, then 11, on his first deer hunt during the Kansas youth season. When a buck from their trail cameras appeared, Allen coached his son through the shot.
Marcus’s buck grossed 184 inches.
Once Allen reached his deer, he could tell the buck was every bit as big as the trail cameras had indicated. When he wrapped his hands around the antlers, he announced “This buck will be hard to beat!”
After loading the deer into the back of his truck, Allen and the rest of his crew took the deer home to his walk-in cooler, which is part of his taxidermy business.
Hunter: Allen Shelton
Score: 193 4/8
This article was published in the October 2016 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home. Read Recent RACK Articles:
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