The Kansas Hunt for the Fence Post Buck
Featured on Buck Fever III
One of my favorite hunts featured on the videos is the Kansas hunt for the fence-post buck. I located a lease on 40,000 acres of land in Kansas that had never been hunted. Several miles of the Cimarron River run through this lease, and this particular area of Kansas is known for producing big whitetails. Irrigated for alfalfa food plots, the land offers plenty of good cover for big bucks. I was on my way to a tree stand when a doe jumped 60 yards from our vehicle and began to run across a sage flat field. A buck spotted the doe running and began chasing her. With my binoculars, I watched them run about 400 yards before the doe stopped to bed. When she bedded-down, the buck bedded-down beside her.
This buck was tremendous, so I decided to try to take him. I crawled out of my vehicle and made sure the deer couldn't see me. I checked the wind, and the wind blew in my face. Again, I looked toward the location where the deer had bedded and saw they weren't far from a fence. I found a gate in the fence and counted the fence posts back from the gate to where the deer had bedded-down. The deer were straight out from the 24th fence post. So, I knew if I got to the gate and went up 24 fence posts, I would be within shooting distance.
Because I wanted to get into a shooting position before the buck stood up in his bedding area, I ran for about 20 to 25 minutes toward the river, came up on the field, spotted the gate and counted to fence post 24. I had about a 300-yard crawl to get to fence post 24. The sage brush was high enough that when I crawled on my hands and knees, the deer couldn't see me.
Another problem I faced were cows in the pasture on my side of the fence. I had to crawl slow so the cows could get used to me and not become spooked. If I spooked the cows and they started to run, they would spook the deer, and I'd blow the stalk. Since the cows looked a little nervous when they saw me, I'd stop crawling for a minute to let them get accustomed to me. I was lucky the cows were gentle and had been around people. If they'd been the usual range cattle, I would have spooked them and the deer.
My crawl took about 45 minutes. Once I got to fence post 24 and was in a position to take the buck, I waited for another 20 minutes before the buck and doe stood up. I waited on my knees with an arrow nocked because I didn't know when the buck would stand up. I had to be prepared to shoot. My camera man, Jason Huntsman, crawled from the truck, got a tripod and a camera and set up so he could film the hunt. He was in a position to give me hand signals as to where the buck was. While I sat on my knees, I knew Jason could see me. So, I shrugged my shoulders and put my hands palm-up as if to ask, "Where are the deer?"
Jason put his hands straight up to indicate that I was in the right spot to take the deer. But I thought he meant the deer were behind me. So I turned to look behind me and didn't see the deer. When I turned back to face the fence, the buck and the doe stood up. Both of the deer looked right at me, but since I wore Leafy Wear, they never saw me. When the buck turned back to look at the truck, I picked up my Leica range finder and saw the buck was at 45 yards. I put the range finder down, picked up my bow (with the arrow already nocked), came up from a crouched position with the buck looking away from me, aimed between my 40- and 50-yard pin and shot for the gap. I was confident with my shot because I'd practice out to 120 yards. A 45-yard shot was doable for me because the animal was still and not nervous.
The arrow landed right behind the deer's front shoulder and traveled forward. I knew I had a double-lung hit. The buck ran about 200 yards. Just before he crossed the fence and headed out of sight, I saw his tail spinning, which was a dead give away that the buck was mortally wounded. When I recovered the buck, his antlers scored 172 points. He was a tremendous buck from a great hunt.