Thursday Morning Hunt
The weather was perfect this morning. Temps in the high teens with a very slight wind. I was waiting all week for this wind since I wanted to go after that big white-antlered buck I had spent all day hunting on Tuesday. But when we got there, the wind was terrible. Kent was pretty confident it would switch but I hated like hell to blow him out of there - I had 3 more hunts between this afternoon and tomorrow. So I climbed back into the truck and we headed to the round-bale stand where I spent yesterday morning and Sunday morning hunting.
The wind was not ideal here either and that became evident when I was winded by 4 does and fawns at first light. I saw nothing until 7:13am when I could hear the unmistakable sound of a buck rubbing his horns on dead branches. I could barely make him out through the cedars in front of my stand but eventually he walked into the open and I video taped him. He was awesome but I couldn't quite tell how many points he had. His horns were quite dark and he didn't appear to be excessively massive. But he was definitely a shooter. The buck walked down the trail out of range and then made a new scrape while I filmed him. It was terrific footage. He walked out of my little patch of trees without ever giving me a shot. As he headed into the field he turned north and kept walking until he was clear out of sight.
Forty minutes later I spotted movement off of my right shoulder back in the field. The shooter was back and appeared to be heading to my patch. But before he reached it he turned west and disappeared again. I scanned to my left a few moments later and spotted a lone doe walking across the field. She looked to be heading into my tree patch. I immediately looked west. That shooter buck was cruising for does and if, by chance, he noticed her there was a great chance that he'd head in her direction. Well, my hunch was right. He spotted her and walked in her direction. I flipped my video camera around and captured some incredible footage of him walking though the field in the golden morning sun. It was the first time I could see his horns and I started to lose count after 12. He had points jutting out all over the place and appeared to have considerable non typical points and stickers. He walked east to the doe and I lost him in the trees on the field edge.
I thought he would follow the doe down the trail that came in front of the stand. But after a few minutes of nothing I assumed he had left. Another 5 minutes went by when movement caught my eye. That buck was walking the field edge behind my stand. He was coming right by me and was going to give me a close, 10 yard shot. I flipped my huntercam cradle bracket 180 degrees and framed up the scene on my camera. Pulling my bow off the hook I clipped on my release and hoped. Here he came. I drew back an arrow and tracked the buck until he was ten yards away.
My arrow hit him sending his back legs into one of the highest bronco kicks I've ever seen. He ran under my stand and stopped just 60 yards away. He hunched up his back and walked off slowly. This is usually indicative of a gut hit but he appeared to be hit much better than that. Perhaps I caught some gut but I felt good about the shot. He bed down within 80 yards of my stand - in clear sight. I watched him for 30 minutes. All movement had stopped 15 minutes earlier but I didn't dare get down from my stand. A few minutes later a small 6pt was working the brush line before coming upon my buck. At first he jumped back but then walked stiff-legged back to the buck. This dink confirmed my hunch - he was dead. I climbed down from the stand and carefully snuck up to the deer. Sure enough - he was dead. At first he looked good, but then as I got closer he got better. He had points all over the place. He was a typical 10 with another 5 points of abnormal trash. He was a super buck! I was thrilled.
Kent showed up and we were both flying. This had been a tough hunt this week and I had no intention of hunting this stand today. It turned out to be a great move - albeit unintentional. We spent the balance of time taking pictures before loading up my buck and heading over to pick up Bill.
When we got to Bill's stand the boy was off the charts. He had shot a buck at 7:25AM and had been waiting for us to track him. He said it appeared to be a big 10 and he was also confident that his shot was excellent. Well, he was right! We followed the blood trail just 60 yards and could see the big rack sticking up in the air. Bill's first PY buck was a dandy and we were all thrilled. Two great bucks for both Bill and I with two great shots. It really doesn't get any better than this.
Ron had a tough morning hunt and with both Bill and I tagged out he had the run of the place. Over lunch I suggested that he hunted the wooden stand North of town. This is where I had planned to hunt this evening and where I sat all day waiting on that heavy 10. I also offered to video for him. Now, Kent normally does not allow people to set up a double stand for videotaping a hunt. I think because I had such a connection to this buck he was Ok with it. So was Ron. We rushed back from lunch to get ready for the PM hunt.
Thursday Afternoon Hunt
It didn't take me very long to pop up a new stand. The wooden stand was in a big cottonwood with lots of trunks. The best trunk for videoing was on a forked trunk directly above Ron and in back of him. We settled into the stand at 3PM and began the wait.
We saw a few does here and there but at 5:00 PM I saw Ron pull his bow off the hook. The big 10 was running does in the field. There he was - broad daylight - in the middle of the wheat field. For 30 minutes we watched him bounce from doe to doe and even running off a decent buck at one point. At one time he headed toward us but stopped and ran back into the field. The buck then trotted into the trees to our right and we lost him.
Several does were feeding below us when I spotted movement to my right in the plum thickets. The big ten was working his way toward our stands. I was tagged out but my heart was pounding! I could not see Ron and didn't dare move my head to see the viewfinder in my camera. So I just guessed where to turn the camera and hoped for the best. As the buck walked from the trees and presented Ron with a 20 yard, broadside shot, I cringed because I had no idea what I was videoing. But Ron never shot and the buck moved to our downwind corner. When he hit our scent he acted like someone had him him with a 2x4. He stopped dead in his track, but he shook it off and still came in. I now had an ethical dilemma. I had a bunch of nervous does to my left and Ron's awesome buck to my right. Do I dare swing my camera and take a chance of blowing Ron's opportunity? Well, years of experience filming taught me that if I move deathly slow - I should be able to pull it off. All this time I had no idea what Ron was doing below me - I could only hope that we could time this right and I prayed my movement didn't ruin a perfect setup.
When the buck emerged from the trees the does scattered. He stopped as Ron shot him dead center in his chest. The buck ran clear across the field before going down. Guys - we were out of our minds ecstatic. This was as exciting for me behind the camera as it was for Ron behind his Bowtech. This was the deer I had parked myself on all day and my buddy Ron got him. When Kent and Bill picked us up they couldn't believe it.
Three great bucks from three guys shooting Bowtechs' - all perfect one-shot kills. Needless to say - Thursday night was party night in Kansas!
|Our Kansas bowhunt takes place in Southwest Kansas with Cimarron River Outfitters.