A complete waste of time. I should start off by saying that this was a hunt won by someone else. The person who won the hunt was unable to make it, and offered it to me. I jumped at the chance without doing any research on the outfitter at all. Really, how bad could it be considering I only gave $800(tag not included) for the hunt? As an added bonus, a buddy of mine decided to buy a hunt as well. We had always wanted to go on a trip together.
After talking to the outfitter (Dan Bell) a few times throughout the summer, I began to feel pretty good about the chances of seeing some nice deer and perhaps even kill one. However shortly after I arrived in Kansas I began to understand just how good of a storyteller Dan really was.
Dan showed us some trail cam pics upon my arrival, and the first thing I noticed is that they were all taken over huge corn piles, and nearly all were taken at night. Before the hunt I specifically asked Dan if his stands were baited or not, and also expressed interest in hunting only stands that were not baited. He replied that most stands had bait near them, but he had plenty of stands without.
My first afternoon as I was getting ready to head out to the stand, I asked Dan for directions. He replied "just follow that fence line until you come to the corn pile. The stand is right next to it." Because it was getting late I did not argue with him, I just went and hunted. Saw a small 8 pointer, and a bobcat. This was surprising considering the wind was blowing the absolute worst direction it could have for this spot. It was literally blowing right down into the creek bottom the deer were supposed to come from. Later back at camp, I expressed my concerns with Dan, and he assured me that the deer are used to human scent and that it does not bother them. When further questioned, he continued by saying that he spends alot of time at all his stand sites, baiting, checking trail cameras, and even said he urinates right next to the stands all the time. He continued "the deer here don't care about human scent, and I think you should head right back to the same spot in the morning."
Well, I ain't no idiot, but it became very clear I was dealing with one. Not wanting to cause trouble I reluctantly headed to the same spot the next morning. Of course I saw nothing. After the morning hunt, my buddy and I talked Dan into showing us some new ground. To say we were disappointed would be a huge understatement. He showed us a couple of farms, but there was almost no deer sign anywhere. It was mid November, and I couldn't find a rub or a scrape to save my life. It was pitiful.
In the vehicle with Dan, he told us some disturbing information. He had zero (0) paid clients hunting whitetail with him this past fall. All of the people in camp were there as a result of winning the hunt. He also stated that in years past most of his clients left early, or left with out warning. Most guests were leaving after 2 or 3 days on a 5 or 7 day hunt. I THINK I KNOW WHY!!!!
To make a looonng story, relatively short. My buddy and I didn't even hunt the afternoon of our second day. We went out and scouted some public land a couple hours away. The sign was terrific, and we both knew what had to be done. We made up some crap story about an emergency at home and we had to go. In truth, we spent the rest of our time sleeping in the car and hunting on the public land. It was great. Neither of us killed a deer, but at least we were seeing lots of deer and had some control over where we set up.
The only positive things I can say about this hunt is that the people were friendly, and the food was better than average. Infact, aside from the chili, the food was pretty darn good.