- By Brandon Wikman
A certain sign of hunting season’s arrival is when the soft velvet turns ripe and begins to peel off antlers like dry flaky skin. It was early, the weather was warm, and the deer still sported a thin coat in Kansas last week; let the hunt begin!
I’ve always looked forward and dreamed of sitting in a Kansas tree overlooking a mass field of greens. As a media savvy population, we know the caliber of deer that are taken from Kansas’s ground, which makes the concoction so much more riveting. TV shows, writers, and industry leaders flock together like geese to find their landing strip in the beautiful rolling hills of Kansas. Though the state is very diversified in land and terrain, bucks are of plenty. Trophy scoring giants attract antler aficionados all season long. It isn’t a surprise to see so many hardcore hunters travel to the Sunflower State in pursuit of tall-tined critters.
My hunt began with an in-depth research review of my selected guide and outfitter. I’ve been blessed to hunt some absolute dynamite spots with magnificent people, but in the same token, have made fatal mistakes of driving into the wrong camps. My Kansas go-to-guy was David Schotte, owner of Blue River Whitetails. Schotte runs a superb family oriented operation and has been doing a successful job putting his clients on both species year-after-year. He’s also featured on Drury Outdoors, Bass Pro Shops Next Generation, Hardcore Hunting, and Hunting With Keith and Tony! It didn’t take long for me to realize just exactly why these well-known television shows kept returning to Hanover, Kansas!
The first day I arrived at Schotte’s house for a meet n’ greet and more! After striking back on old times and past memories, Schotte was quick to upload some recent Moultrie trail cam pictures. Using the aid of trail cameras significantly reduces hunter error by ten-fold! This is exactly how Blue River Whitetails is able to provide their big buck hunting clients an unheard-of 70% success rate with a 150” average!
As we both clicked through picture-after-picture of recent deer activity, I could only gawk at some of the heart-wrenching whoppers that called this place home. It became even more exciting when we stumbled upon a spot that had an abundance of morning activity. It didn’t take us too long to hone in on the pictures and reserve a spot for the next morning.
Daylight brought the sounds of darkness alive and colors of Mother Nature pure. Muzzleloader in hand, I scanned the valley in search for antler, but instead stumbled upon the trail camera that was strapped to a tree a hundred yards below me. This was where many of the deer were crossing.
Only minutes of daylight passed until deer began funneling back to their bedding area. I motioned to a slight noise of movement to my field producer as he turned on the camera. I buried my face into the scope and waited to see brown. On cue, a doe walked out into the opening. She posed for the trail camera for a brief moment before tossing her head back. Another doe followed. As both doe crossed my shooting window I spotted antler in my scope. Massive brown tines balled-up into my scope and nearly struck me in the face as the doe left my field of view. My heart sunk into the bottom of my stomach as my thumb cranked back the hammer.
Crack! In seconds, smoke piled in front of me like London fog and blocked my vision. The shot instinctively felt good, but I needed to see blood. I walked down the hill, smiled in front of the trail camera and found what I was looking for; fresh blood.
The time and efforts Schotte put toward planting food plots, installing waterholes, building brush blinds, and strategically placing cameras all boiled down to that very moment; holding my biggest buck to date. I want to sincerely thank David Schotte of Blue River Whitetails and bless his family for providing an incredible atmosphere each year we go.
United States, Kansas