Luck of the Draw
It was the first week of Kansas Whitetail hunting season. Seven good friends, two pick-up trucks, and a cargo trailer with a deep freezer is how our Kansas hunt began. This was a trip that I will never forget. After traveling through Pennsylvania, we finally made it to Ohio and our first fuel stop. Routine, yeah right! One truck gets filled up with fuel and then won’t restart. What now? After checking every rental car location, flight, and train, we had no luck. Phone a friend. A good buddy from home drove 5 hours each way in a rollback with a spare vehicle in order for us to continue our journey. Needless to say, 25 hours after leaving home we arrived in Marysville, Kansas.
Here we met Rocky and Brenda Edwards. Rocky showed us the way to our home for the next week. We arrived to find very comfortable accommodations, but we didn’t have much time to get unpacked and settled in. We were running late and we needed to find our tree stands. Rocky was very clear when he stated, “we have been seeing two huge bucks at Cherokee.” Then he followed with the question, “who wants to hunt there?” Everybody wanted to hunt there of course, but there was only room for two hunters. We made the decision that the fairest thing to do was a quick game of high card. It was my lucky day! Flubby and I drew the two highest cards and so we got first shot at the two spots at Cherokee.
We all loaded up in the trucks and headed out to see the tree stands where we would be hunting the next morning. Rocky showed us each stand and gave us some general information about the location and the surrounding area. The signs of deer were definitely looking good and tomorrow couldn’t come soon enough
The first morning we loaded up and headed off to Cherokee. Flubby and I found the stands without issue, but it sure was cold. Rocky told us that there was nothing like Kansas cold. After hunting many different places, including Saskatchewan, Canada; I figured how bad could it be? When the wind began to blow and it sustained at 45 mph, I thought…Man was Rocky right! It was a cold like I had never felt before.
The first day I saw six deer, 4 small bucks and two doe. The two doe were being closely tailed by bucks. So my first thought was, the rut is still in and this is going to be good hunting. I sat tight all day feeling frozen, no shooters, but definitely movement and lots of good signs.
The start of day two and everyone is up and rolling. All that I can really think about is the cold wind from yesterday. We grab our gear and Flubby and I head off to Cherokee once again. We drive the seven mile trip down the road and the sun is not even close to coming up as we arrive at our destination. We decide to stay in the truck for just a bit and saver the warmth of the truck heater. Every so often I would open the door to do a wind check…..it was still cold and it was still blowing. After an hour of this and a few good stories, we made the decision to head to the stands. I grabbed my pack, gun, bibs, and a coat and headed into the woods as the sun was just starting to rise. I arrived at the stand and made several trips up and down the ladder in order to get all of the gear to the proper location. I sat in the stand for nearly a half hour and then I started to put on additional clothes, it was cold. I had my gun and my video camera to my left side and I was ready for something to happen. The wind was still howling and I couldn’t hear a
thing. I carefully watched all of the areas that I could see with my naked eye and then I started to scan with my binoculars.
After being in the stand for just about 1 hour, I spotted a doe to my right side about 60 yards away. I reached to my left to get the video camera, as I had promised my wife and fellow hunters that I would bring home some footage of my trip. As fast as I could grab the video camera and glance back in the doe’s direction, she was gone. I scanned the area looking for her and just that quick a very large bodied buck appeared at the edge of the thicket. I took my hand from the camera and quickly placed it on my rifle. As I concentrated on the buck, he began to walk away as he trailed his doe. I remember thinking to myself as I stood up and got situated for a better shot. Is he big enough????? I made the quick decision that it was cold and in my mind he looked like a trophy. The deer was now running at full speed and he was quartering away from me. I got my sites steady and……BANG! I cracked the first shot from my 300 short mag and down he went. I ejected my shell and quickly placed another shell in the chamber. BANG!! I fired a second shot out of the gun and I missed. I realized at this time that the deer was not going to get back up and I could take my time for a final, precise shot to finish him off. I thought to myself, “Don’t shoot him in the head and don’t ruin any meat.” I sounded off the last shot and sure enough he was done.
I had only seen this deer for the first time about 20 seconds ago and there was no time to get nervous or even think about shaking. As the deer laid about 120 yards away, I could now see that he was much bigger than I ever thought. As things started to set in, I began to get very nervous and I didn’t want to take my eye off of the prize. My knees were now knocking and I couldn’t even compose myself to get down the ladder and out of the tree stand. I decided to text my wife, who was home hunting in Pennsylvania. I told her that I was tagged out, not sure how many points, but that it was BIG. I finally gathered my composure and started down the ladder. As I reached the ground, I jacked another shell into the chamber of the gun, just in case. It was all that I could do not to run out across the field to see what I got. I got to the deer and I could not believe my eyes. I counted every point one by one. There were 14 points. NO WAY!!! I counted again and thought to myself, “This is incredible!” I stood there in disbelief and I didn’t know what to do next. I wanted to head back to the truck, but I was afraid that when I returned he would be gone. The next thought was... I can drag the deer. That wasn’t going to happen. So, I took a picture of the great creature with my phone and I e-mailed it to my wife, just it case it was gone when I returned.
I quickly took my gun and headed for the truck. As I was getting to the truck, I could see that Flubby was also heading the vehicle. He said that he had heard my shots and he could tell that something was hit hard. We loaded up in the truck and headed for the deer. He was still there when we got back and it was finally setting in that this was not a dream. I had killed a MONSTER BUCK from Kansas.
It took three attempts, but we finally got the brute loaded onto the truck and we headed back to camp. I had never shot anything like this before and this had been a wonderful trip and a great opportunity.
The remainder of the trip was great. Five of the eight friends killed, two missed, and the guy whose vehicle broke down on the way out got his on the way home with another buddy’s truck. It was a blast that won’t be forgotten. There are many more stories; some include 5 of us tracking a deer for miles, missed opportunities, laughs, and some other nice trophies. I don’t think my wife will let me go again. Well, that is unless she gets to go too. Thanks Rocky, Brenda, and Fred. See you guys soon.