After years of watching videos of bucks with beef-cow bodies and head ornaments that looked like rocking chairs, I was finally going on my first Kansas hunt. My cousin Tyler and I were so excited before the trip that we could barley sleep the week before our flight. It was mid-November and the bad boys were strutting around the open prairie land with massively swelled necks and nasty attitudes. The rut was in full swing and we decided to film our first hunt in the legendary big-buck state. We both took five days off from work and made a pact to only shoot a giant. This agreement would put a serious strain on our relationship as the last day of our trip quickly approached. Over the course of the week, we had passed on several nice 140- and 150-class bucks. During this time, we had stayed locked in the small platforms of our hang-on stands from daylight until dark fighting the cold and sometimes unbearable wind.
Finally, on the last day it looked like our perseverance was going to pay off with an absolute giant. We spotted a super stud buck chasing does in an open field across the river from our stands. Even at 300 yards both of us knew this was the buck we wanted to take back to Kentucky. Unfortunately, the buck ran all of the does out of the field and jumped a fence going directly away from us. Quickly, I grabbed my “Pack-Rack” rattling call that Harold Knight had sent me and began making some serious noise. The buck stopped dead in his tracks and turned toward the loud commotion. Then he broke into a run and was headed right for the river crossing just below our stand. However, just before the buck got into range a doe jumped off her bed and cut him off. This was one of the biggest letdowns I had ever experienced in the woods and all of the bucks I had let go that week were coming back to haunt me.
With about 30 minutes of good shooting light left, several does stepped out of the thicket and began feeding just below my stand. All of a sudden, I caught movement about 60 yards to my left. It was the same buck I had rattled in earlier that morning and he was headed back across the river. Three loud bursts on my grunt call grabbed the buck’s attention and he spotted the does that were scattered beneath my tree. Immediately, the bristles on the buck’s large back stood straight up and he started trotting toward the does. I came to full draw and let an arrow fly that would end one of my most memorable hunts. On impact, the buck hunched over and ran into the thick scrub brush not 20 yards from my stand. My first trip to Kansas was rewarded with one of my heaviest bucks ever and a hunting memory that will last a lifetime. You can checkout this hunt next fall on Realtree’s Monster Bucks DVD.—Travis Faulkner