By Paul Falke
-- The 2005 bow season in my area of Kansas was a success. I had seen and passed up more nice bucks than any other year prior to 2005. Now I was down to my last evening hunt before rifle season opened.
I farm and live in east central Kansas, and bow hunting for whitetails is one of my passions. I have taken some really good deer, including a 156 net typical and a double drop tine 180 gross non-typical, but it had been 15 years since the drop tine buck had fallen to my arrow. Since that buck had been harvested on the last afternoon before rifle season, it gave me hope for this last evening.
The past week was warm and the winds blew out of the south and southwest. I really needed some cooler weather with a north and northwest wind. The wind changed. After a front came during weekend. But it was blowing 20 to 40 miles per hour.
I had the right wind direction, but the deer were not moving very much. The wind was perfect for the stand I wanted to hunt, but it was also fairly exposed and I didn't know if a good shot could be made after sitting in the cold, gusty wind for several hours. Around 2 p.m. the wind slowed a little bit and I was ready for the afternoon hunt. The last time I had been in this stand there was a lot of deer activity. However, I did not see any big bucks.
The stand was located in a little strip of trees between two small crop fields. The fields were planted with wheat, so it was a great food source. Eighty yards to the north and across a hedgerow is a brushy draw in a pasture that is a good bedding area.
I was in my stand and ready by 2:45. It was cold and windy, but I was wearing Scent-Lok clothing that helped keep me warm. This bow season I had been working a lot more on scent control, and it seemed to pay off. Also, I was showering before every hunt with Scent-A-Way soap and spraying Scent Killer on my clothes.
At 4 p.m. I looked to the north and a good buck was heading my way out of the bedding area. When he closed the distance to about 40 yards it became clear this was what I was looking for. The buck walked toward me, stopped, and looked to the south. After a brief pause, it turned, headed west and then walked broadside directly in front of my stand. The buck was walking at a slow pace when I drew. I picked a spot behind its shoulder and released the arrow.
The arrow hit a little farther back than what I would have liked. The buck jumped forward, ran a few steps and stopped directly under my tree. I nocked another arrow, drew back and the buck started walking slowly away from me. I was franticly looking for an opening in the brush but all I could do was watch it walk away. The buck went about 50 yards and stood in the wheat field to the west. The buck eventually walked to the hedgerow and continued west. Nearly 30 minutes past and I climbed down to check my arrow.
It was bloody but there was not a drop of blood to be found. The big buck was bleeding internally, but there was not going to be much of a blood trail.
I hate to let a deer lay out all night due to the coyotes we have in the area. But I knew if I jumped this deer it would be hard to locate it a second time. I decided to wait until the morning to trail the deer because I did not want to spook it in the dark.
I spent the night worrying that gun hunters might find my buck. As soon as it was light enough to see, I went to the hedgerow.
Off to my left a couple of coyotes jumped up and ran away. I took a few steps in that direction and spotted one side of the rack above the grass. The buck looked bigger up close than it did from my treestand.
This was the moment I had been waiting for. The size of this buck exceeded my expectations. After putting the tape on his antlers, I came up with a gross BTR score of 181.