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Thursday, October 13, 2011


October 10 brought a day off school for Dalton and a day for father and son to take to the field for the first Kansas archery deer hunt of 2011. The plan was to do some early season roadside scouting but the fog had us locked down and we were unable to glass any potential hidey holes.

We changed gears and took a chance we could hang an early morning tree stand in an area we’d been seeing a good whitetail. Things didn’t work out to well. We got the stand up but we also ended up getting soaked and spooking the whitetail buck and watching him bound over the early morning horizon.

As we made it back to the vehicle the fog began to break and we spotted good mule deer buck feeding in a drought stunted milo field. We decided to head back home for a change into dry camo and to wait for the wind to come up a bit. We arrived back at the field about 11 am. After about ½ mile walk to swing downwind we were about 300 yards away from where we believed the buck to be. Luckily enough, the buck stood up to stretch, reposition, and feed a little. We watched the larger buck and a yearly for nearly 30 minutes before they bedded back down.

Having them pinpointed, we began our stalk. As we approached the terrace channel we had seen them enter. I spotted the larger buck bedded on the terrace top, his antlers quite visible in drought strickened headless milo. We used the Mule deer doe Heads Up Decoy and crawled our way to within 20 yards of the larger buck and only 10 yards of the yearling buck.

We got comfortable and positioned as I held the decoy in plain few for the bucks to see. Dalton was positioned just to my left. The plan was for Dalton to draw and I would hold the decoy and bleated with my mouth. Hoping for the buck to stand and look. First try the buck only looked our way and couldn’t see the decoy through the milo. After about 30 minutes and a 2nd and 3rd try and my arms cramping from holding the decoy the 4th try worked. I bleated a bit louder and the buck rose up just enough to see the decoy and was on full alert. He stood and within seconds after seeing the decoy you could tell he had relaxed. Dalton is at full draw, shoots and takes the hair off the bucks back. The buck only runs 10 yards and turns back to look at the decoy quartering away at 30 yards. This time Dalton did not miss the mark and the buck tears off and goes out of site after a 250 yard sprint.

A repeat for Dalton, and another successful stalk with the heads up decoy. I am convinced that after the miss, without the heads up decoy, this buck would have been plum out of the country. In the end patience, remaining calm, and trusting in the decoy was all it took to for Dalton to put an arrow in another fine Kansas Mule Deer.

Submitted by Author KH

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sticker Patch Buck

I am sure there are times when a bowhunter finds himself intrigued with one particular animal not always due to the size of the horns, but something different and related to a personal quest. At least that's where I found myself during the KS antelope season chasing a pronghorn that demonstrated a personality that made him susceptible to the decoy.

Opening morning we watched this buck chase off numerous "toy bucks" when they were mere specs-in-the-distance as  my partner, his son, and I weaved our way down a steep draw in the middle of a recently planted winter wheat field. There was a rise in the field where we could show the decoy closer than this buck apparently needed for a reaction. But as luck would have it, a smaller satellite buck began to get our attention and was approaching our position. We still had 400 yards yet to go before we approached the harem master...if you will...so why not. A goat's a goat out here. This buck was a good distraction and as it turns out allowed me to witness one of the longest charges I have ever seen an antelope buck make.

Several failed decoy attempts at this satellite buck yielded a reaction from our targeted buck that had we not been distracted, my partner's son may have gotten run over. Kent and Dalton ran up a draw trying to head off this smaller buck with decoy in hand. The dominate buck had seen the movement and the flash of the white decoy from....at least 600 yards away and came at a hamstring pullin', ankle breakin' sprint directly at them. Tragically, they had no idea what was happening. I witnessed the event from 200 yards away hoping and praying that Kent would turn around. The buck never gave us another chance in that field as he quickly gathered his harem and headed for the sticker patch across the road where he probably is as I am writing this post.

I went in the sticker patch after this buck on 2 occasions. Although I probably scored some toughness points with my partner, I was unable to get close to this buck. The decoying action that first weekend was good. The second weekend not at all. I was able to harvest a small buck that spent his time annoying the "Sticker Patch Buck" on the last morning in an all-or-nothing move to sit in a feeding area next to the sticker patch. Full disclosure here...I did not use the decoy to harvest this buck, but by gosh that decoy was either in my hand, on my bow, or tucked in my shirt as I crawled all over western Kansas those 6 days and there was no way I wasn't going to get a picture with it. In the pics you may see some differences in the decoy. We were experimenting with different size buck decoys...it's ongoing. Please enjoy some of the images from our hunt. Click on picture to enlarge...then use your back button to return.

Kent takin' care of Dalton's stickers

Kent and Dalton making my birthday dinner. Thanks men.

Beginning of a great day

This buck came in to 55 yard, but crosswind was too high

there's a muley buck in there somewhere

Hoyt Maxxis, Easton FMJ's, Grim Reaper Broadheads

Badlands 2200 packed him out

Next year Sticker Patch Buck!