By Travis Hogan
Photos by Tim Hager
After a day behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler, most truckers might relish the opportunity to plant themselves in a La-Z-Boy - feet up, a beverage in one hand and a remote control in the other. Not Kevin Shelton, who runs his own trucking business in Randall, Kan.
When Kevin arrived home on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2005, he couldn't change into his hunting garb fast enough. The truck driver slid into his Under Armour, grabbed his Scent-Lok bag stuffed with hunting clothes and climbed right back in the driver's seat. It was the early muzzleloader season in Kansas, and time was wasting.
His original destination was a bowhunting stand about half a mile from home. On his way to it, however, Kevin decided a detour was in order. Because he wanted more time in the stand and less time walking to it, he drove a little farther to a tract his dad owned. He parked, dressed, sprayed himself with a scent neutralizer, grabbed his blackpowder rifle and folding chair and began the 250-yard hike to a creek junction.
After covering about 50 yards or so, Kevin realized that he'd forgotten his shooting sticks. So he turned around and went back to his vehicle to retrieve them.
En route to the vantage point he thought would be the perfect place to spend the rest of the day, Kevin was amazed at all the buck sign within the timbered strip flanking the north-south creek. He followed it to where a big branch split off westward for about 300 yards and set up where he could see both the creek junction and an adjacent alfalfa field.
Shortly after getting settled, Kevin saw a pair of fawns enter the field. After an hour and a half of watching them, another fawn joined them.
When the north wind subsided, the mosquitoes came out in force and Kevin considered going home. But with only 15 minutes of daylight remaining, he decided to stay and see what else might come to the buffet.
When he picked up his binoculars to look at the fawns and, by that time, their mothers, which had fed around a bend in the creek so that a fallen tree blocked most of his view, Kevin saw a buck. Or at least he glimpsed a portion of its rack. He knew at a glance the whitetail was a shooter.
Kevin eased out of his chair and crawled almost 7 feet so he could see around the deadfall. He propped up his shooting sticks and laid his muzzleloader atop them.
As soon as a fawn moved out of the way, Kevin took the shot at the quartering buck, which bolted back toward the creek.
The does and fawns didn't spook at the blast. They remained in the field, all but one munching alfalfa. One doe's eyes were glued to where he'd last seen the buck, and Kevin was hoping she was staring at it.
After re-stoking his rifle, Kevin walked over to where the big buck entered the creek, but he saw no trace of it. Then he made his way across the creek and started to climb a very steep hill. When he stopped to catch his breath, the deer jumped up from 10 yards away and went down into the bottom of the dry creek bed. It couldn't climb the other side.
Kevin was right behind the fleeing buck. In fact, the deer almost ran over him while trying to escape.
Perhaps lucky for Kevin, the buck managed to become mired in the only mud hole in the entire creek bed just long enough for the hunter to administer the finishing shot.
-- Reprinted from the November 2008 issue of Buckmasters RACK Magazine.