John's Journal... Entry 126, Day 1
WHERE TO FIND THE BIG BUCKS
The All Day Buck
EDITOR'S NOTE: This week we'll look at the deer hunter's Valhalla. The state of Kansas has produced some of the biggest bucks in the nation, and this week we'll look at the stories and photos of hunters who've hunted with Brad Harris and Tad Brown, members of the Outland staff, which produces Lohman's and M.A.D.'s game calls.
Kevin Rose from Apple Valley, Minnesota, was hunting with Brad Harris when the two spotted a big buck early one morning in Kansas. Harris watched this big buck go down into a little ditch just off the side of a hill next to a patch of persimmons. "I sat on my stand from 7 a.m. until 9 a.m. before I ever saw the buck," Rose says. "The deer stood up out of range, came out of the ditch and went over to some pine trees to work a scrape. The deer stood about 220 yards away working the scrape. So much brush stood between me and the buck that I couldn't take a shot. I watched the buck for about five minutes with my binoculars until he finally vanished into the brush. At about 11:00 a.m., I finally saw the buck come out of the brush and then return to his bedding spot. But once again, I couldn't find a hole to shoot through the thick cover."
Harris checked with Rose at noon to see if he wanted to go in at lunch. But Rose opted to stay in his stand and wait for a chance to take the big buck. A few minutes past noon, a smaller 8-point went in to the same ditch where the big buck was bedded. "I saw another 8-point buck with a high rack at about 2:30 p.m.," Rose recalls. "On any other hunt, I would have taken the high-racked 8-point, but I knew the buck in the ditch was a much bigger deer. He was the buck I really wanted to take."
During the next six hours, Rose kept looking, but he never spotted the big buck. He knew the buck hadn't left the ditch because he could see all the routes the buck would have to take to leave. During the day, saw about 15 does in the area. Some went down in the ditch while others skirted the area. Late in the afternoon about 5 p.m., Harris returned to Rose's stand site, and Rose told him he thought the buck was still in the ditch. "We saw a few more does before dark. As the sun began to fade, Harris explained that if we ever were going to see the big deer, he should come out of the ditch just before black dark," Rose says.
"Five minutes later, I saw the buck moving through heavy brush out into an open field -- about 260 yards away. So I got a solid rest and prepared to make the shot. When I squeezed the trigger, instead of hearing the report of the rifle, I heard a deafening click. The rifle had misfired. I ejected that shell. Then when the second round started to go in the chamber, the bullet got hung in the receiver. Frustrated and aggravated, I dropped the clip out of my gun."
After he dropped the clip, Harris whispered, "I think the buck heard us. He turned around and looked at us. You'd better hurry up and get a shell in your chamber." Rose took one round out of his clip and put it in the barrel with his finger. Then he closed the receiver on his rifle, put the rifle on shooting sticks, leaned back against the tree he was sitting next to, and once again prepared to make the shot. "I was shooting a Winchester Featherweight 708 with a Winchester ballistic tip and 140 grains of powder. As I looked through the Simmons 3X9 scope, I couldn't see the deer. The light had gotten so low that I just couldn't pick up the deer in the scope. So I backed the scope up to 3X, and I put the crosshairs 2-inches high of where I wanted it to hit. When I squeezed the trigger, the buck dropped out of view. I asked Harris if he could see the deer." But Harris responded, "No, I didn't see him. I think the deer dropped straight down."
Rose reloaded, and he and Harris started walking to the spot where he had shot the deer. "The brush stood about 1 1/2- to 2-feet high, so we couldn't spot the deer," Rose says. "I barely could walk because I had been sitting still for six hours, and my body felt numb from my waist down to my toes. However, my excitement built as I walked to the place where I expected to find the buck. As we got closer, I couldn't see my buck. Finally, we spotted the white under the deer's neck, and when I finally got beside the deer, I could see his massive 10-point rack. I was really excited after having sat for 11 hours to try and take this buck and finally complete the hunt. As I looked at the deer, I saw the bullet had hit right where I aimed."
All Rose had to eat all day long was a granola bar and a mini Snickers bar, and he hadn't drunk any water. "I felt as though I had paid the price to take my nice buck, which scored in the 140s on the Boone and Crockett scale," Rose says.
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