I posted in the blog two days ago, Wednesday September 23rd, about hunting early season bucks in Kansas and Iowa. Ironically, that very evening I got a call at 6:15 from my friend and past Iowa client, Tim, who was early muzzleloading on one of my personal leases that he just dropped a great buck with a lot of height at 80 yards. I instantly dropped what I was doing, jumped into the truck, and hit the road by 6:30 to Kansas from eastern Iowa where I live. I arrived at the farm at 12:30am, met up Tim, got the whole story, gave him my congratulations, did some hero shots, and helped him with the flashlight as he caped and quartered the buck to take back home.
A new shooter in late September. I didn't recognize him and after checking cards, realized I had zero pictures of him, but he shares a significant rack characteristic with a buck I named "Weirdo" who is a non-typical stud. More on him later. I was guessing he'd be in the 150" range give or take, which is comparable to a 160" typical ten point, and with a sweet-looking tall frame and obvious maturity, I was stoked! Despite it being on a personal lease and one of my friends & past clients, I'll still say that I'm counting this buck as a harvest for MDL as our first one in Kansas. I will always remember it!
Tim had been hunting both of my leases since Sunday, and even adding some bait due to our overly hungry coons and does cleaning up the 1000lbs of corn I put on that farm 3-1/2 weeks ago, hadn't seen much in daylight. Temps are okay. Pressure was good. Wind was good. Moon was okay. No shooters had been seen in daylight on either of the farms. There were a couple of does here and there and a couple of small dinks here and there. That sort of gets the emotions running a bit while on the hunt. With me knowing how Tim hunts and his availability to stay and hunt only into Thursday morning, I had hoped that one would make a mistake. I knew we wouldn't have any crazy storybook-type intel, like one of the shooters being there in daylight 3 days in a row or something like that, but I knew, at a minimum, he's gotta get out and try. If he didn't kill, he would learn the farms and stands a bit just by being there, and no trail camera can replace that type of intel.
I talked to Tim about choosing his last hoorah of a stand, which is where he killed his buck. It was the absolute wrong wind, but he sprayed down and was really cautious about his scent. He had two does come in Wednesday night at 20yds downwind looking at him while their mouths were filled with corn to his left. Looking back to his right, out on the edge of the timber where the soybean field started, out walked this stud. He started feeding heavily on the green soybeans, and Tim put an end to that with one shot out of his custom smoke pole that can reach easily to 600yds. The 80-yard shot was nothing but a chip shot minus finding a small hole in the tree cover to shoot through. Tim was rather covered by the tree cover, so the buck really never saw him. It wasn't necessarily the plan, but it worked. If that's not hunting, I don't know what is.
Here are some photos I took of Tim's buck at about 1:00AM yesterday:
(click the navigation arrows on the side of the photo to slide from photo to photo)
Tim is quite the accomplished big game hunter, and for him to be excited about a whitetail, I knew it was going to be a good one! Now, I have to get Tim back next year to Kansas and get him back to stockpiling Iowa preference points. Thank you, Tim, for trusting me and being part of my test run in Kansas this year. I knew if anyone could make it work, you could. Congratulations on a fantastic BIG 8!
The early season can be a great time to kill a big buck in the Midwest. Despite most bucks being extremely nocturnal during this time, their bellies make them make a mistake. You don't know when that will be nor where, but you just have to capitalize on the mistake if you're blessed to have it happen in front of you. Tim and I are very blessed with this buck, and now, my focus goes back to my boy's youth hunt, and continuing to analyze the deer in Kansas and Iowa for future endeavors. I still have two more friends hunting in Kansas on my personal leases this year, and I have my archery clients in Iowa awaiting the October cold fronts and November rut. Once, the bow hunters are done, I have some last remaining gun bookings from year's past to get through (former clients only), and then I am going on a hunt myself in late muzzleloader for the first time in a very long time off. In all, if everyone kills out including my boy and I, we could be sitting with 25 bruisers on the ground.... a very, very large feat. The goal has been set though. That is what I am going for. It will be extremely tough, but with the great moon phase in the rut, early to normal crop harvest, great farms, solid stand sites, plenty of food sources, and very high-quality whitetail nuts with their bows in-hand, it is doable. 2020 could be a year for the books. Only time will tell. Whether we shoot 5 bucks or 25, I graciously ask that you all wish us luck this year, and I hope that you enjoy following along as we attempt to reach our goals in the whitetail woods.
Thanks for reading,