I started my Kansas hunting the afternoon of November 30. Took off work a couple of hours early and was in the field about 2:30. Glad I got out early; both the ground blinds I had set up were blown over by the wind. The big one I was planning to hunt actually had lost the fiberglass rod hub on one side. But, there was not any damage; none of the rods had broken. After 20 minutes of struggle I got it all put back together and finally situated for my evening hunt.
We bought this farm October of last year, and while I hunted it last year it was more of a hit and miss fashion then dedicated hunting. I did not have time to scout or set up stands, so pretty much went out into the cold Kansas wind and located myself in a ditch or in the woods. While I would see deer every time out, I was never in a position to shoot one with bow or gun. Just too much brush.
This year, I had some time to do some scouting and had the travel patterns of the main herd down pretty well. Plus I had the opportunity to do a LOT of brush hogging.
Having tagged out early during the Missouri gun season left me with most of a week to do nothing, so I came back early and did some work on the Kansas place. Got a couple of ground blinds up, and spent a good couple of afternoons tearing out cedar and hedge trees that dotted our pastures. Probably took out a good 40 cedars, but when I was done I had clean shooting lanes out to 200 yards.
Anyway, back to my hunt. On this farm I know I have a group of 5 does that tend to run together, and there is another couple of groups of 2-3 does. I do not see many bucks, and those that I have on camera would not be shooters on our Missouri place. I went into the evening hunt figuring I would see does and if they followed their pattern I would have a shot opportunity at about 180 yards.
I sat the blind for a couple of hours, and then around about 4:40 p.m. I noticed the white flag of a deer tail as it walked along the far tree line on the south edge of the farm. And then I saw another, and then another. I found the deer in my scope, but there were no antlers on any of the three. Then I looked up and more deer started trailing the first three. I counted 10 total, but no antlers in sight. Checking their back trail for a good couple hundred yards, and not seeing anything else, I decided to shoot the last doe after about 10 minutes of watching. Using the bottom of the ground blind window as a rest, and in a solid position I took aim… and missed. The shot did not seem to bother the deer; they kept feeding along the tree line. Having gotten the shot out of my system I now decided to wait and see if anything else would show up.
I watched the group through my binoculars for a minute or so, and then I noticed two more does coming along a perpendicular hedgerow along our eastern property line. They were both good sized deer. They seemed to have come out to see what the gun shot was all about. The stood along their hedgerow watching the other deer feed. Finally they started moving toward the other herd. I put my crosshairs on the bigger of the two and waited for her to clear some grass and the deer she was with. Finally she was clear and I shot her at 140 yards. After the shot the deer in the larger herd decided they would run toward my blind, most likely the sound of the shot had echoed behind them and sent them my way. They finally stopped about 70 yards out. After about 15 minutes all the deer had cleared the area and I waited the last 15 minutes of daylight to see if a buck might show up.
No such luck, but I got my first Kansas deer on opening day of gun season. She was a BIG doe, field dressed out at 131 pounds.
Hopefully over the next few years with some selective harvesting we will grow some bucks like those we have on our Missouri place. I plan to be out again this weekend and hopefully find a good sized buck to shoot and most likely another doe.
“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”