Trouble in Kansas Deer Camp

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Do you remember this hunt?

Team Realtree Online Journal # 17

Entry Title: The Good, Bad and Ugly Parts Of Do-It-Yourself Hunting

By Realtree Pro Staff Member Tim Andrus

Earlier this year I packed my wife Anne and daughter Brooke and set out for Montana. A perfect trip, I took a big 5x7 muley buck, everything was perfect. (See Realtree's Online Journal #11 after Mike Waddell’s story ) This latest hunt in Kansas was quite the opposite.

Hunter Name: Tim Andrus

Where Hunting: South Central Kansas.

Hunting Method: Rifle hunting from treestands

Phase Of Season: Rut was pretty much over, hopefully some does that weren’t bred yet would come into heat again. Deer were hitting food sources pretty good.

Dates Hunted: Dec.4th to Dec.9th

Weather Conditions: A snowstorm blew in the night before the opener crippling that part of the state. Roads were closed with 10 inches of snow and strong winds made whiteouts common. Two days later we were greeted with a fog that lasted two more days. Mother Nature was not very kind to say the least.

Stand Locations: One was between two small woodlots in a goldenrod field that spilled out to a CRP field on the Chikaski River. The other was over looking a winter wheat field that backed up to one of those woodlots.

Game Seen & Observations:

1st morning was a bust. You couldn’t see with the blowing snow. Conditions were terrible.

1st evening: went much better. Snow let up and winds died down to variable. Saw four does and one small buck (probably 100-class) come out to the wheat field at last light and pawed through the snow to get at the wheat.

2nd morning: Light wind. Saw two does at first light and that was it. Sun was looking like it would come out in the afternoon.

2nd night: It was partly cloudy with light variable winds. After being in the stand one hour the winds switched on me and I was forced to leave and make a ground blind. It overlooked a brush lot and the wheat field. Right away I saw six does and one half hour later two more. About 45 minutes before dark a nice 10 point came through the brush lot and entered the woodlot. I opted to pass hoping for a bruiser that Kansas is known for. One half hour later a saw doe off to my side being chased by a brute of what appeared to be an eight- pointer that would score around 150. I had no shot due to thick brush. After about five minutes of watching and wishing they’d run across that brush, they left me with an iffy shot that I passed on. I figured I had 3 more days to hunt and hopefully have another chance. Then right at last light that same doe bounded out into the wheat field and looked back. I thought here might be my chance and got ready. As if on cue, out bounds a big bodied buck. I took the shot. At the shot another big racked buck ran out of the woods and stopped. I thought two big bucks! Boy I love this Kansas. As I approached my buck something didn’t look right. Then it hit me, I didn’t check his rack when he bounded out, I just took the shot. There laying in front of me was that 10-point that I passed on earlier. The buck that ran out of the woods at the shot was the buck I wanted.

Trophy Notes: The buck was still a respectable one, a 10 pt that will probably score 130. He had good mass down both main beams. He weighed in at the meat locker in town at 204 pounds dressed.

General Notes: I usually do 2-3 do it yourself trips a year and that’s often my topic for my seminars. And I try and tell the guys that things are going to go wrong, it’s Murphy’s Law. Nothing major, but the weather might be too warm, flight delays might occur, deer aren’t moving for what ever reason and so on. Little did I know I was going to have more than my share of bad luck Here’s how this particular hunt went down:

Flight there was delayed twice, totaling 3 hrs.

Snowstorm crippled southern Kansas with blowing snow. Roads were closed down.

Land owner whose property I hunted gave me a car to use so I wouldn’t have to rent one. On opening day I parked on the side of the road where I was hunting and another hunter lost control of his vehicle and smashed into it cracking the windshield, caving in the door and more. Luckily for me the man did the right thing and reported it and every thing came out fine.

Lastly, I shot the wrong buck. It would have only taken a second to check him out, but I didn’t. No excuses! I got caught up in the moment and thought it was the same buck that I just watched five minutes prior and I had totally forgotten about the other buck. Hey, it’s hunting. Just when you think it can’t happen -- think again!

About the author: Tim Andrus hails from western New York. He is a licensed New York State hunting guide and a member of the Team Realtree Prostaff. Andrus is also a member of the Scent-Lok Advisory Staff and a seminar speaker. His specialties include Do-it-yourself hunts in the Midwest and western states including Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Montana Nebraska and others. Andrus’ very understanding wife is Anne. Their 4-year-old daughter Brooke is turning out to be Tim’s best hunting partner yet! “Whenever possible I take them with me to what shows I may be doing. Since my daughter’s birth in 1998 she has been with me on 4 hunts including this most recent mule deer hunt in Montana.