Date: November 7, 2016
Time: 2:30 p.m.
Temperature: 56 degrees and dropping
Weather: Heavy rain
Barometric Pressure 29.0 and falling
Moon Phase: Waxing Gibbous
It was everything I expected — endless agriculture sliced apart by long, narrow shelter belts and miles of swaying CRP and dense cedar thickets. There’s no doubt that I was back in the land of Oz, this time a guest of John Vaca, National Pro Staff Manager for Vista Outdoor.
The bring-sweat-to-your-brow temperatures from the previous week had been replaced with a crisp Northwest wind, soupy clouds and heavy rain. I was thrilled. It was November 7, I had a Sunflower State deer tag in my pocket, and the farm John had given me the tour of was breathtaking.
I had my own little slice of heaven — a farm with all the right ingredients to produce a whopper entirely to myself. John simply pulled into wheat field and pointed toward its inside corner some 700 yards away. “That’s it,” John said. “Right in that corner — right where that thin line of CRP separates the alfalfa and the wheat — that’s where your stand is at. It’s tucked back into that shelter belt, and that entire shelter belt edge is lined with big rubs and scrapes. These are stands I have a ton of confidence in. They are stands I put in locations I would hunt myself, but if there is something you don’t like, we can change things.”
Peering through John’s Bushnell Trophy Xtreme 16-48x50MM spotting scope, a very affordable and ultra-clear spotter, I could easily see the layout. It was perfect. The deer living in the area had it all — food, water and plenty of bedding cover. We didn’t stay long. The weather was expected to break, and we were all chomping at the bit to get in our respective stands.
The rain didn’t stop. In fact, it intensified. But I didn’t care. The wind was right, and my Summit Dual Pro Ladder was tucked under the limbs of a heavy locust that kept the heavy moisture off. After getting my gear situated and mounting my Ozonics HR300, I started scanning the cedar-filled CRP to the north. Satisfied that there were no deer up and moving, I sat back and let the evening unfold.
My plan was simple: let it happen. Yes, I know deer calls were made to be used in Kansas, and I was in the perfect place for a decoy, but with it being my first night in, I wanted to observe. I wanted to see where the deer were coming from and how they were acting.
The first deer to cruise past my location popped out of the head-high CRP 50 yards in front of me. He was an 11-point — you know, a healthy spike — and he fed in the wheat for several minutes before coming under my stand and disappearing into the thicket. Minutes later, four big does popped out of the CRP toward the north end of the field. They grazed lazily through the wheat at a distance of 400 yards.
The sun had set and the rain was dumping. Deer activity in the wheat field had come to a halt. Then, without warning, a doe sprang from the shelter belt 50 yards to my right and darted across the field. Her tail was up and her head swiveled to check her six often. I stood, grabbed my bow and waited. He was a nice buck — a young, 125-inch 10-point — and he was hot on her heels. I grunted. Both deer stopped. The doe looked in my direction and came on a string with her gentleman suiter in tow. Man, I love the rut. The pair walked 40 yards in front of the stand before the buck pressed the doe into a trot.
I had 15 minutes of legal light left when a big doe and her two fawns popped into the field to my left. They’d been the first deer to walk down the tree line where I expected deer to come from and were on me before I knew it. They nibbled nervously at the wheat and then scattered. His grunts were loud, and by the time I grabbed my bow, he was in plain sight. His body was enormous.
I drew, anchored and pulled through my Scott Hex. My red Nockturnal G Nock lit up the night. The shot was perfect. The Rage-tipped GoldTip Kinetic Pierce entered behind the last rib and slammed through the opposite side shoulder. The buck’s death sprint would be short, and I was elated.
My only worry was the rain, which I knew would wash away the trackable blood. John, along with property owner (and one heck of an awesome guy), Dallas Woolf, his son Marshall, and fellow hunter Alan Clemons arrived in no time. The Man upstairs had shut off the rain. The blood trail was unreal, and the tracking job was short. Without question, the buck had the biggest body of any deer I’ve ever harvested. His bottom row of teeth on both sides were reduced to numbs, and his heavy, bladed 4×2 rack was chipped and broken in a number of spots. Mission accomplished! I’d anchored a mature Kansas brute. I just sat there for a long while — the rain once again pouring down — taking time to appreciate what had just happened. God bless Kansas!
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