Rack Magazine

Sweet Sixteen

Sweet Sixteen

By Mike Handley

Bow and early blackpowder seasons aren’t the only yielders of velvet bucks in Kansas.

Clayton Brummer’s days of unsheathing his deer rifle in September are finished. Now that he’s 17, he’ll have to wait for December to shoulder his beloved .300 Ultra Mag, which – in his capable hands – can turn out a deer’s lights from as far as 450 yards.

The soon-to-be junior at St. John (Kansas) High School made his last youth hunt count, though, by centerpunching one of the largest whitetails felled in 2015. Photographs of the giant buck in velvet hit most deer hunting websites and Facebook almost before the animal was caped.

The Sunflower State’s early youth (and disabled) rifle season spanned nine days last year, from Sept. 5-13. Hunters 16 years old and younger could hunt if they carried a valid permit and were accompanied by an adult. The regular 12-day rifle season opened Dec. 1.

Clayton was accompanied by his father, Darin, whose job as an agronomist – an expert in soil management and crop production – has earned him deer hunting invites from several landowners in Stafford County.

On Sept. 7, the boy and his dad hunted a milo field and saw an absolute monster of a buck, or at least its rack floating above the uncut crop. But because the deer’s body wasn’t visible, Darin advised his son against taking the unethical shot. Clayton, sure he’d never see it again, reluctantly agreed, and they watched the deer slink into the distance.

“It was a heart-sinking feeling. I didn’t know if I was ever going to see it again. But it was the right thing to do,” Clayton said.

Seeing such an animal put a spring in the young hunter’s step, however.

“After school the next day, we went out way early – about 4:30 – and set up on a picker road. That’s the farmer’s mowed path to the irrigation system’s heart. Within 30 minutes, we saw this buck stand up and run through the milo field.

“We didn’t think it had smelled us or anything because the wind was in our favor,” he continued. “We finally realized it was trying to outrun the bugs.”

The deer ran into the standing corn abutting the milo. The Brummers could only hope it would pop back out before sundown.

While his father was glassing the double-crop milo field, Clayton was watching the wall of cornstalks, his rifle resting upon shooting sticks. He was practically willing the buck to appear.

And, poof, it did.

“The buck stepped out of the corn right in front of me. It was only 30 yards and broadside, a piece of cake compared to the 450 to 500 yards I’ve shot this gun.

“It stepped out just far enough for me to see it,” he continued. “There was no mistaking which buck it was. As soon as it stepped out, it looked right at me. I just knew it was about to run.”

Darin had no clue Clayton was even looking at the deer until the stout rifle hit its high note. When he whirled to look at Clayton, his son’s eyes were glowing.

“I knew I’d got him. He dropped right there,” Clayton said. “I was all excited; really hyped up.

“When we got up to it, we saw points going everywhere,” he smiled.

The rack was still covered in velvet, though the membrane had cracked in places, revealing the bloody antler underneath. Clayton had the option of preserving what was left, or stripping all the velvet, which is necessary before the Boone and Crockett Club will measure antlers.

“I thought about it a lot,” he said. “I really wanted to get him in the (B&C) book. Your name’s in there for a long time.”

The velvet was ultimately stripped, and the antlers were indeed measured for B&C.

If they’d been measured for Buckmasters prior to the velvet’s removal, the buck would’ve been the new world-record rifle harvest in the BTR’s velvet category. Without the velvet, it shares the No. 103 spot among hard-antlered rifle kills.

Clayton still hasn’t decided whether to have the rack sprayed with faux velvet when the deer is mounted.

“I really like the way it looks now,” he said.

Hunter: Clayton Brummer
Score: 231 7/8
View Scoresheet

This article was published in the October 2016 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home.

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Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd