posted on September 26, 2011 06:53
By Mike Handley
It’s a good thing Troy Tate packed his rifle when he returned to Kansas in December 2010, even though the avid bowhunter never intended to unsheathe it.
The only reason he carried it afield that one day was because the wind’s direction was completely wrong for sitting in the stand closest to where a buck he’d hunted all year had been seen entering a field 24 hours earlier (and 24 hours before that).
Rather than push the deer off his 80-acre lease, Troy -- thankful he possessed a tag good for either -- chose bullets over broadheads for his 11th-hour hunt.
The Louisiana hunter wanted that buck the moment he found its shed antler the previous spring. The neighboring landowner had found the other side.
Eager to see the former wearer of the impressive sheds, Troy hung new stands and trimmed shooting lanes that summer. He returned for two weeks during bow season and was tempted by several great whitetails, but the big guy never showed.
He went back in December. And while all the locals were hunting with rifles, he chose to keep bowhunting.
“I hunted from daylight ‘til dark for six days and never saw the buck,” Troy said.
Acting on a tip from a friend, he decided to watch the field where he’d found the shed.
“The buck appeared within five minutes of the time it came out the previous day. It was very near one of my stands, but the wind was wrong,” Troy said. “Later, I checked out the weather forecast, and the wind was going to be bad again. Since I was running out of time, I went out the next day with my rifle.”
The buck wafted out of the timber at its usual time and began feeding, but it was 500 yards from Troy. There was nothing to do except hope before a coyote intervened and spooked the deer, as well as 19 others, back into the timber.
When the big whitetail reappeared, it was 150 yards closer, and then another 100.
Troy took the 257-yard shot, nailing down the 25th spot in the BTR’s rifle/typical category (for Kansas bucks). If he’d shot it with his bow, it would’ve been No. 9. Its BTR tally is 163 3/8; the 18 2/8-inch inside spread gives it a composite score of 181 5/8.
The full story behind this gorgeous buck will appear in RACK magazine in December.