By Brandon Wilmoth
It’s not always a plan works in the great outdoors but it worked for me during the Kansas muzzleloader season. I had set up several ground blinds along bean fields on my eastern Kansas farm prior to the opening of the season. Tagging along on my first hunt of the season was my good friend, Ramsey. Ramsey had never been on a hunt in his life but his career involves marketing outdoor companies so he wanted to better understand the world of hunting.
After meeting Ramsey at the hotel Friday around 5:00 pm, we headed to the woods for our first sit. The blind we chose to sit in was on the edge of beans and was super easy to sneak into without spooking any deer. After we settled in it didn’t take too long for the action to begin.We ended up seeing a handful of young bucks and more than a dozen does. We backed out and headed in for the evening.
The next morning we decided to head right back to the same blind.The weather was cooler than it had been all week and the deer were on their feet. We had action as soon as daybreak hit. Early on it was mostly does and young bucks but around 8:00 am a 140-class ten pointer stepped out on the field. Wanting a more mature buck I chose to let the ten point walk, but five minutes later another buck walked onto the field just 230 yards from the blind. I could tell it was a mature buck and had great mass as soon as he stepped out. After looking him over for a long time I decided to let him walk as he was a main frame 8 point and was at the max distance for my muzzleloader. I didn’t want to risk a questionable shot. We watched the massive 8 point buck walk off the field and up a cut, saw more deer later in the morning, and Ramsey experienced an excellent first morning in the woods.
During the midday we hung at other stands and checked various spots on the farm. All day I couldn’t help but wonder if I had just let a great buck slip by me that morning. As the evening hunt approached I decided I needed a better look at the deer I’d seen earlier in the day. I had an extra blind in the truck and remembered a large brush pile that I thought I could hide the blind in.
Ramsey and I grabbed our gear and hiked to the back side of the farm, careful not to disturb any deer on our hike in. We set up the blind and settled in for the evening, knowing we were in good position if the buck walked back out of the cut he’d left in during the morning.
The action began from this location with the spotting of a few does and a mid 130-class eight pointer being the first to the field. We were enjoying the show when Ramsey turned and looked in the cut, excitedly whispering “Brandon there is a really, really big buck coming. I’m not going to move.” As I turned to look, the buck was closing in fast, but I immediately recognized the same mainframe 8. This was the buck we’d spotted earlier.
I gave him a quick look over with my binoculars and saw all the extra points he carried, plus one three inch droptine off his left base. Having never killed a droptine buck and seeing the three inches of bone on this one, I knew this was not only my chance, but a buck I had to get.
So I settled in and let the smoke roll out my muzzleloader. The shot was good and the buck bolted back into the woods, but I was confident he wouldn’t go far. After giving the buck some time, we left our spot to track him. It didn’t take long. He’d gone only a mere 50 yards.
Naturally, celebration ensued, though I was quick to remind Ramsey that not all hunting expeditions are met with this kind of success. Still we took photos and were proud of our kill. He may not be the biggest buck in the woods, but to get to introduce a friend to the sport of hunting in such a manner was ideal. We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.