Whitetails In The ‘Real World’: Part 6

From last week in Part 5: Drawing my bow as the buck strode up to 25 yards, I wondered if I was filling my Kansas tag too soon. With a thump, his fate was sealed. Peg continued to hunt on her public land spot, and we’d both meet up at camp in the evenings. Travis Keith finally showed up at camp on the 15th, eager to start. One buck down, two to go!

Part 6 Of 6

With November fast departing, I could tell that both my hunting partner Travis Keith and my wife Peg were starting to feel the pressure to “git ‘er done.”

Peg had already experienced a couple more close encounters with record-class bucks, yet had been unable to seal-the-deal. On Keith’s second day of hunting, he’d passed up a shot at a 135-class 10-pointer, and it was clear that he was second-guessing this decision. As for me, I was simply soaking-up the leisure of having a big buck down, and a new place to explore. Inside, I knew that something exciting was going to happen with one of us soon.

A summer trail camera picture of the buck Travis Keith harvested.

The evening of the November 22 found Keith in one of the best spots on our hunting property. He’d seen a nice buck in the area a number of times, and had slowly been honing his way into position for a hoped meeting with this buck. The buck was the “other” 140-class animal that we had pictures of from earlier in the year.

Were we going to harvest the two best bucks in the area? Was this a good thing? And if so, would such success come back to bite us in the butt the next season, with a shortage of mature deer available? Only time would tell.

As evening slid by, a few does visited Keith’s location, feeding placidly nearby. On full alert, Keith was quick to spot the appearance of “his” buck on the scene. Knowing that he’d take the buck if given the chance, Keith handled his Mathews and prepared for whatever might transpire. Making his way slowly along, the buck inched closer. Passing at a distance slightly farther than desired, Keith slid his Bushnell rangefinder to his eye, taking a quick reading — 38 yards. Fully capable of such a shot, he calmly placed an arrow directly through the ribcage of the unsuspecting buck — another tag was punched!

Travis Keith’s 2011 Kansas buck.

When I arrived back at camp that evening, I knew something good was up — smiles were plentiful! As I gained the truth, congratulations were in order; and I wanted to see the buck — now! As I stared at the fallen buck, I wondered what the odds were of us taking the two best bucks that we’d seen on the property all year. Certainly, Keith and I had been very blessed.

If only Peg had consummated her deal from earlier in the season, we’d all three have taken record-class animals — with the dame’s certainly being the largest-antlered of the bunch! Ooh, could the guys take such a hit? Oh well, we’d never know — Blondie had dropped the ball; we’d won by default. Or, had we? After all, she still had a tag in her pocket, didn’t she? Yep, and with her, who knew what the final outcome would be? Cutting out eyes at one another, Keith and I knew with her happenstance luck — she would probably kill a world record!    

A few days later — as I arrived back at the camper after a long day spent sitting in a tree in Oklahoma — I once again was greeted by a “smiley-face” — Peg! She’d shot a buck right at sunset, and she’d watched him drop dead within sight of her tree! I was ecstatic — she’d finally consummated the deal on a buck. Questioning her about antler dimensions, once again, I was met with stiff opposition — seemed she couldn’t remember much on that topic! It was time to get in the truck and get some answers of my own.

The author’s wife Peggie with her Kansas buck.

Hurrying to the area, I grabbed a flashlight and headed out, Blondie in tow. In typical Peggie fashion, it took awhile to find the buck — but find it, we did! In the back of my mind, I actually had been wondering if it might be the whopper she’d hit earlier in the season — not hardly. In all reality, it was a bit of a “dinker,” as Travis and I call them. But most importantly, it was dead, and more importantly, recovered.

For Blondie, the celebration was on! As I dragged my girl’s buck out of the woods, I finally broke my silence on some matters: “well, now, since you whacked a dink, at least you have a lot of room for improvement next year!” 

Yep … boys rule!  

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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.

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