Whitetails In The ‘Real World’: Part 5

From last week in Part 4: As the sun neared the Western horizon, far off on the prairie, a deer caught my attention. Raising my Brunton binoculars, I soon realized that I was looking at a mature buck. Clearly on the prowl, the buck looked like a prime candidate for some calling action — grabbing my rattling antlers, I let out a sound. Snapping to attention, the buck quickly stepped into high gear, headed directly for my location!

Part 5
As the buck made his way across the prairie, I recognized him as one of the two 140-class bucks that my hunting partner Travis Keith and I had taken pictures of earlier in the autumn. Feeling that I’d probably be hard pressed to get a better buck, I decided to try for the bird in hand — grabbing my Mathews, I assumed the position.

A summer trail camera picture of the buck the author harvested.

Never breaking stride, the 8-pointer covered the 300 yards that had originally separated us, in no time flat. Drawing my bow as the buck strode up to 25 yards, I wondered if I was filling my Kansas tag too early. Should I let this guy go, in hopes of something bigger later? Nope — a bird in hand, is worth two in bush — with a thump, his fate was sealed.

As the buck made a quick run, then settled to the ground within sight, I couldn’t believe I’d already closed my Kansas whitetail season — on November the 8th! There was a lot of prime hunting time left — now what? Not wanting to get the cart ahead of the horse, I climbed down and focused my attention on the beautiful buck with which I had been blessed. As the Western sky caught fire, I sat on a lonely prairie hill and soaked-in my good fortune. Thanking the Lord for my life, I knew that there were many bowhunters that would end up finishing their season without having experienced this kind of a moment. Yes … I was a very blessed man indeed!   

The following morning, Peg and I spent the early hours of the day taking pictures of my trophy, while simply laughing and enjoying the cool November day. Though I didn’t mention it, I desperately wished that we’d recovered Peg’s big buck of the previous morning. What a day yesterday would have been then — two trophies in one day! 

As I spent the evening taking the meat from the bone of my buck, Peg once again went afield, in hope of action. As I sat at camp and watched the sun set, I was already getting antsy — what was I going to do with myself now? Keith would be showing up at camp in a couple of days, to begin his hunt while mine was already over. Peg would be continuing her hunt while mine was already over. With no other tags in my possession, what was I going to do now?

But, wait just a moment — didn’t I have an Oklahoma lifetime hunting license in my wallet? And didn’t that allow me two buck deer? And weren’t we camped within driving distance of Oklahoma? And didn’t I have a friend in the Oklahoma — that lived directly south of where I was currently at — that might get me on some hunting ground? Knowing that the answer to all my questions was a resounding “Yes,” my mind started scheming. Maybe I could get back to the woods after all. Grabbing my cell phone, it was “game on.”

The author’s 2011 140-class Kansas buck.

After a call to my friend, it was clear that my I’d be able to spend some more time in the deer woods after all! Even though I’d have to drive 60 miles to get to it, and it would be a spot that I’d never seen before, and it was in a state where big bucks were few and far in between, at least I’d be hunting — at least THAT would keep me from losing my mind over the next few weeks! OK — this dog would hunt!

For the next couple of days, I drove into my home state and scouted the property where my friend had been so gracious as to offer me access. Peg continued to hunt on her public land spot, and we’d both meet up at camp in the evenings. Keith finally showed up at camp on the 15th, eager to start bowhunting. Now the crew was fully assembled, be it a motley crew at best.

Here we were — just a bunch of commoners — bowhunting the do-it-yourself way in the middle of the heartland. We knew that at this very moment, all across our great land, there was a brotherhood of other bowhunters doing the very same thing.  Whitetails beware!

Please read the conclusion of this series in Part 6.

For a fine selection of Archery gear, click here.

Eddie Claypool provides tips on bowhunting, with an emphasis on whitetails. Claypool has harvested 63 Pope & Young-class recordbook animals including 35 whitetails (Coues included), 16 elk and eight mule deer. All the animals were taken on do-it-yourself hunts.

Leave a Reply

Commenting Policy - We encourage open expression of your thoughts and ideas. But there are a few rules:

No abusive comments, threats, or personal attacks. Use clean language. No discussion of illegal activity. Racist, sexist, homophobic, and generally hateful comments are not tolerated. Keep comments on topic. Please don't spam.

While we reserve the right to remove or modify comments at our sole discretion, the Sportsman's Guide does not bear any responsibility for user comments. The views expressed within the comment section do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of The Sportsman's Guide.