2016 was definitely the year of youth hunters for me. During the spring turkey season, I was fortunate enough to take both of my kids out to hunt for their first turkey. Both of my kids were able to harvest their first tom turkey and I was able to capture both of the hunts on video. I spent the summer trying to locate a giant buck to go after for fall bow season. I was also anticipating and gearing up for an elk hunt that was coming in September.
Labor Day weekend is usually the start of hunting season for dove in Kansas, but this year it was also the opening of youth deer season. My son Flint was ready to go and we had targeted a nice 9 point. During our first night in the blind, he made a marginal shot with the crossbow at the target buck but we were fortunate enough to recover his buck the next morning. The buck was my son’s biggest to- date; grossing around 148 inches as a 9 point. The following week I had another youth hunter arrive, Chloe Williams and her father Mark. We were able to put her on a beautiful 8 point velvet buck that was eating in a Whitetail Institute Alpharack food plot.
Mid September was here and I headed back to Wyoming to chase big bull elk with my good buddy Donnie Monroe. We had several encounters with some great bulls, but we could not close the deal. Donnie was able to harvest a cow elk on the trip; he had a nice encounter with a 5 by 6 bull but was unable to capitalize. I left Wyoming with my tag in hand, but was ready to chase big whitetail in Kansas.
I spent most of October locating big bucks for clients and also developing a game plan on a big buck I call the ‘flyer buck’. This buck had all kinds of character and around the third week of October I had an encounter with him. The flyer buck was acting as though he was in full rut, even though it was still October. He came out chasing a doe and would not respond to any of my calls towards him, which is unusual for that time of year. Even though I did not get a shot, it was awesome to see that buck on hoof in person and capture it on video.
November had arrived and I was busy helping clients get on bucks and still trying to harvest one myself. I had to switch properties due to time constraints and work. I had some incredible decoy encounters on this new property I was learning and passed some great bucks, but I still had the flyer buck on my brain.
Rifle season crept up on me and I found myself taking out my good friend, Nate Gorentz to harvest a management buck. He ended up shooting his biggest buck to-date, which grossed over 150 inches and had a drop tine. During the rifle season I was also able to get Hannah Williams out in the field on a nice Kansas buck, which she harvested with a muzzleloader.
Late season was officially here and I still had a bow tag. The flyer buck was nowhere to be found. I had been keeping my eye on a big 9 point that we had been trying to harvest during the gun season. I waited for the weather, wind and moon to be right and I went in for the kill. The hunt was successful and I came out with 155 inch 9 point and I was able to close my season.