I have finally made it back from my Kansas hunt and now I have to wait another year before I get to hunt those giant whitetails again. The 14 days I stayed out there hunting was over before I could turn around. It is hard to believe that after all the preparation and anticipation that it is now over.
The trip out there went great. I went through Cadiz, Ky. to pick up my cameraman, and Jim Strelec had a big pot of chili beans prepared so naturally we had to stay there and eat supper. After getting our bellies full, we visited a while and then hit the road to pull an all-night drive.
We arrived in Kansas about 6:30 in the morning and immediately started unpacking and getting stands ready. When we arrived, the temperature got up to 70 degrees and stayed that way for several days. The first evening and next morning were pretty slow in the stand, but while going to the stand and coming from it in the truck we saw a lot of big bucks chasing does.
The first morning of the hunt, my Uncle Jimmy that hunts with me scored on a nice 14-point buck and that really got us excited. The deer came into his Carry-Lite deer decoy and acted just like you want a deer to act.
My cameraman and I were seeing a lot of deer, but they were just small bucks. A couple of mornings we saw some big buck but they were locked down on does and would not respond to rattling, decoying, grunting or anything else we threw at them. I thought if we could get some cooler weather or some sort of weather change that the deer would start moving more during the daylight hours.
Well, as they say, in Kansas “if you don’t like the weather, then wait a minute.” We got our wish on Sunday morning because it did cool down some, but about the time we got settled into the stand the flood gates opened up. We stayed as long as we could stand it, but the camera started getting wet so we headed to a warm and dry place.
Sunday afternoon we hunted a totally different area on a good friend’s farm where he had been seeing a lot of nice deer. We got a little luck when we headed to the stand because the rain had gone from pouring to just a light drizzle. There were deer in the field when we arrived so this place looked good from the start. The rain held off for the rest of the evening and we started seeing deer about as soon as we got settled into the stand. The problem we were having is that it was so cloudy and we were losing camera light fast.
There were a couple of little bucks feeding in front of the stand and the cameraman kept looking at them through the camera to make sure we had enough light if a shooter came out. Darkness closed on us fast and finally he told me he didn’t have light to film anymore, but we were going to stay in the stand till it got completely dark so we didn’t spook any of the deer around us. It didn’t seem like it had been a minute since he told me about our light situation that I looked to my left and out stepped the biggest deer of my life. I did as any of us would do, I grabbed my bow and asked my camera man (Squirrel) are you sure you don’t have any more light? He confirmed that he didn’t and then I asked him if he could just see the outline of the deer. Even though he couldn’t see the buck through the camera I could see him perfectly standing broadside at 15-yards. I don’t know exactly how big to tell you this buck was, but I feel like he was between 180 and 200 inches.
After watching him for a few minutes he chased the two smaller bucks across the field and out of my life. I stood there on my stand in complete shock that I didn’t take the shot on that deer. Squirrel looked at me and said he was sorry. Other than that he was speechless and looked as if he had seen a ghost. I have hunted my whole life to get a chance at a buck like this and then I let him go because we couldn’t get it on film. I really don’t know what I was thinking and have been kicking myself in the butt ever since. As you might guess I didn’t sleep very much that night and we were back in the same stand the next morning. We stayed in the stand a couple of hours until the heavy rain started again. Then the rain turned to a sleet and snow mixture so we had to get the camera out of the weather again. The nasty weather set in for the next couple of days and that is the way my last couple of days went till I had to get back home.
I have had a sick feeling in my stomach since my encounter with that monster Sunday afternoon. It probably wouldn’t have been so bad if it would have worked out and we would have been able to get a successful hunt on video, but not accomplishing that makes it even worse. We had a lot of highs and lows all week. A couple of times we were really close and we thought we might get a shot, but we never could close the deal. Now I have a whole year to anticipate and prepare for my Kansas hunt again.