February 09, 2024
Once I was 12, my grandpa took me deer searching with him for the primary time. Since that day, I’ve at all times been obsessive about searching deer — particularly with a bow. I like the problem that bowhunting presents, and as I’ve grown older, my habit for these fantastic animals has solely worsened. And, I’ve grow to be obsessive about concentrating on particular, mature whitetail bucks.
These journeys can final a number of seasons, they usually can actually take a toll on you. My 2022 Kansas whitetail season was no completely different, as I used to be centered on a deer that I had nicknamed “Locus” in 2021.
In 2021, I used to be not concentrating on Locus, regardless that he was already very spectacular at what we figured was a 4.5 or 5.5-year-old buck. The explanation was, I had already set my sights on a special buck — “Hollywood.”
Because it turned out, I arrowed Hollywood in early October 2021. He was my first 200-inch buck, and the story appeared on this journal’s 2022 Whitetail Particular. I had at all times dreamed of getting the chance to hunt a 200-inch deer like Hollywood, and I’m so grateful that I used to be blessed with that chance by means of laborious work, persistence, and dedication.
After tagging Hollywood, I figured there was no method I’d ever get one other probability at a deer of that caliber for a few years, and even for the remainder of my life. Little did I do know, Locus, who we handed on in 2021, would blow up into one other world-class whitetail that will push 200 inches all day lengthy.
In the summertime of 2022, I used to be counting down the times till I deployed my path cameras. As soon as July 4 got here and went, I instantly began hanging path cameras in hopes of getting some footage of Locus.
To my shock, he was one of many first deer that confirmed up, and I couldn’t consider how a lot he had grown. In 2021, he had a big droptine, however he had misplaced it in 2022. Though he now not had his drop, he had gained a great deal of mass, plus kickers flying in every single place off his gigantic 10-point body. I don’t suppose there was something that would have knocked that smile off my face, and I instantly went to work on a technique for intercepting Locus as soon as the season got here.
Because the summer time continued, Locus appeared much less and fewer ceaselessly on my path cameras, and I began to fret. I knew that he was not residing on the piece of property that I used to be searching; I used to be simply hoping to catch him on his toes transferring between his core space and his meals sources. With this intel in thoughts, I opted to not hunt him in September, as I wished to maintain the human scent and searching stress as little as attainable.
The primary time I sat for Locus was in early October, once we had an unbelievable chilly entrance push by means of. I obtained into the stand early, on my own, and I used to be actually treating it as an commentary sit as a result of I may see a great distance from that stand.
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Because the night time progressed, I ended up seeing over 50 deer — together with about 25 completely different bucks — with the final deer of the night time being Locus. He was throughout a standing beanfield at about 600 yards, however even to the bare eye, I knew it was him due to his body.
After confirming it was him by means of my binoculars, I started to fret that I used to be fully out of the sport, since he was transferring to a freshly minimize cornfield a couple of half-mile from the property that I may hunt. I knew that if I wished the very best probability to get a shot at Locus, I would want to achieve permission on the neighboring property.
I obtained involved with the landowner, who was gracious sufficient to grant me permission to hunt, and I couldn’t be extra grateful for his act of kindness. I then immediately went to work utilizing satellite tv for pc maps to pinpoint a spot the place I may successfully hunt Locus with a number of winds, whereas additionally having a stable entry and exit route.
My brother, Brock, and I nailed down a spot on a hedgerow between two minimize beanfields that led straight to the minimize cornfield that I discussed earlier. With Brock’s assist, we hung a path digicam and a double-stand set (one ladder, and one hang-on for filming) that was virtually bulletproof with the suitable wind.
At that time, we had been so anxious to hunt the stand that we may hardly comprise ourselves, however we additionally knew that we wished to watch the cameras and the climate, because it was early October and we didn’t wish to educate Locus to the truth that he was being hunted.
Our first sit within the new stand was our first morning hunt of the 12 months, and it was October 13, 2022. We obtained into our stands effectively earlier than taking pictures mild. It was cool and crisp, with a slight breeze blowing in the suitable course, which gave us optimism, regardless that we knew it was nonetheless a bit early within the season for a morning hunt.
I noticed a handful of does that morning and ended up passing on a stable 4.5-year-old buck, however Locus was a no-show. As Brock and I sat there that morning, checking the climate forecast, we each knew that we wanted to be again in that tree come night due to an approaching chilly entrance.
That afternoon, Brock and I made our method again to the freshly hung stand set with very excessive hopes. It was sunny at first, however then the clouds began to maneuver in — indicating the approaching chilly entrance.
Instantly after the temperature began dropping, deer began pouring out of the timber into the sector that we had been overlooking. Brock and I had been on pins and needles, simply attempting to not be picked off by any of the opposite deer within the subject.
With about an hour of daylight left, we had been centered on filming a stable 10-pointer that was 125 yards throughout the beanfield. As we had been working to get some footage of the 10-point, I seemed down and to my proper alongside the hedgerow…and noticed Locus trotting in whereas additionally pushing a yearling buck round. I couldn’t consider my eyes, as Locus was nearly in bow vary, and Brock and I had been in no way prepared!
“There he’s! Get on him,” I whispered to Brock.
Brock did his greatest to get his digicam on Locus as shortly as attainable. In the meantime, I grabbed my bow, hooked onto my D-loop, and got here to full draw as quick and quietly as I presumably may.
At this level, Locus was at 25 yards however transferring shortly by means of our taking pictures lane. It was then that I made the choice to verbally cease the deer, which I’m usually not a proponent of doing, however I felt like if I didn’t attempt that tactic Locus would have walked proper by means of my taking pictures lane.
Once I tried to cease Locus with my mouth, he paused briefly — broadside whereas trying up at us. I settled my pin, after which I squeezed off the shot.
I immediately knew my shot was marginal — extra ahead than I’d have favored. After watching Locus exit the sector, Brock and I then replayed the marginally out-of-focus footage (on account of how shortly the scenario had unfolded).
Primarily based on the video footage, Brock and I may inform my arrow had hit Locus in his entrance shoulder. Upon affect, it seemed like Locus type of sunk down and pulled his physique collectively — nearly right into a sprinting place — almost definitely additional altering my arrow’s affect level. I obtained stable penetration, however we knew that we nonetheless wanted to offer him loads of time.
After backing out that night and getting nearly no sleep that night time, Brock, my different brother, Blaine, and I had been extraordinarily anxious to start out monitoring Locus the following day.
We went proper to the final spot the place Brock and I noticed Locus depart the sector. There we discovered my damaged arrow, and it indicated I had achieved good penetration.
The blood path we had been following slowly began to decrease, however it was headed straight downhill towards the underside of a pond dam, the place it changed into a creek. Blaine was slowly following the creek when he out of the blue noticed Locus bedded in a brushpile — however he was nonetheless alive.
Given how shut Blaine had obtained to Locus, we knew that the buck was not doing effectively. We additionally knew that I wanted to get a follow-up arrow into him as shortly as attainable.
After sneaking as much as inside 10 yards, I used to be in a position to end the deal on Locus. That’s when the feelings began piling up. We couldn’t get the grins off our faces, and we had been completely blown away on the sheer dimension of this deer. The trail-camera footage, and the post-hunt footage that we took, merely don’t do that deer justice.
The quantity of mass that Locus carried all through his beams and tines was unreal, and it was such a cool expertise to have fun that second with my household. Locus ended up having 19 scorable factors, with a whopping 48 inches of mass. He grossed 203⅛ and is simply flat-out spectacular in each attainable method.
I really feel extraordinarily blessed to have been in a position to chase two world-class deer, in back-to-back seasons. I couldn’t have completed what I did with out my household and associates, and amazingly sufficient, I’ve little doubt that my habit to chasing large Kansas whitetails continues to be solely in its early levels.
The creator works at Garmin HQ in Olathe, Kansas, because the New Product Introduction Planner for his or her Out of doors Section.
On this hunt, I used a Hoyt RX-7 bow, Easton Axis arrows, Garmin Xero A1i PRO sight, Ramcat Diamondback broadheads, Nockturnal lighted nocks, and clothes from Badlands.