- By Rich Miller
Ever since my November Kansas hunt I have regretted not getting a chance at one of those Midwest giants. Well, a few days before Christmas my wife suggested that we take a family road trip out there after the holiday festivities. As you can imagine as soon as she mentioned me going back out there and filling my bow tag, I was in. I immediately got my hunting buddy Mick on the phone to make sure it would be alright to come back out for a week and he was excited about the opportunity also. While we were talking he did mention that he had been seeing a lot of bucks lately.
The day after Christmas my wife, little boy, and myself loaded up the truck and headed west. Although I was very excited to get another chance to hunt Kansas, I was a little concerned about the weather. Aside from the bad road conditions the forecast for the days I had planned on being there was to be very cold. After driving all night we arrived about noon the next morning, there was about six inches of snow on the ground and it was 18 degrees. After settling in Mick and I checked out several different stand sites and with not many days to hunt, we settled on one in particular. It was a soybean field that still had some beans standing in one of the corners. The deer had the field torn up where they had been feeding on the standing beans to the point it looked like they had removed the snow. We popped up a Summit Run and Gun Ground Blind on a point that stuck out into the field and brushed it in good. We were going to make our stand in this spot and hope that it would pay off.
By the time we got the blind put up and brushed in we didn’t have time to go back to the house and get back in time to hunt so we glassed several other bean fields and eventually made it back to the field where we had our blind set up. When we pulled back up to the field we were on the road about 400 yards away and it was easy to see the antlers on the bucks that were standing in front of our blind. Man I wish I would have been in that blind right then and I would have been really happy to get a shot at three of the four bucks. After seeing all the buck activity in front of the blind I was really sure where I was going to spend the next several evenings.
The first evening we had deer activity as soon as we got settled into the blind. The first couple of deer were small bucks and following them was doe after doe. By the end of that first evening we had 27 deer in front of the blind and I don’t know how many we saw off in the distance, but not any shooters.
For the next several days it was the same thing: lots of does and just a few small bucks. It was a good thing we were seeing deer because if we hadn’t been I don’t know if we would have lasted in the frigid cold. I think that was the coldest weather that I have ever bow hunted in. The highs were in the twenties and the lows were in the lower single digits.
It came down to the last evening on the last day of the year, so we got in the blind pretty early just to be on the safe side and not spook any deer. As the previous days, we had deer in the field early and there were even a couple small bucks that we hadn’t seen in the previous days. As the sun fell behind the trees and the shadows got longer, more deer kept coming into the field but nothing that was getting our attention. With a little camera light left I told Mickey to get on one of the big does in front of us. If I couldn’t get a shot at a Kansas buck I was going to take out a trophy doe.
After ranging several times the closest mature doe I had was at 45 yards so when she quartered slightly I settled my pin and sent an arrow right underneath her. Luckily for me she ran about twenty yards and stopped looking back in our direction. I knocked another arrow and ranged her again but she was now at 62-yards. I settled my pin again and this time my Mathews and I sent an arrow through her boiler maker. As far as what happened on the first shot I could make a lot of excuses because I have thought of a lot of them, but all I can say is I shot where she wasn’t. Some people might say something about shooting at a deer at 62-yards and my response is I shoot my bow almost every day year round from 5 – 80 yards. Also if the conditions are right and I know my range I feel as comfortable at 62 as I do from 22.
It was a very long and frustrating deer season this year and even though I didn’t fill my Kansas buck tag, I was fortunate enough to get a couple of real nice South Carolina deer. The main thing is I had a ball doing what we all love to do and can’t wait to do it all again next year.