Do You Remember This Hunt?
Hunt Location: Dodge City, Kansas
When: Early December
Hunter: Chuck Jones
Weather: Cold and snowy
Terrain: Open CRP
Walter and I got into our shooting house about 30 minutes before daylight. As soon as it got light enough to where I could see, I spotted the buck I would ultimately kill later on in the day. At first glance I figured him for being a 150-class deer. Perry (landowner), no doubt has some pretty big deer on the property, so Walter and I didn't panic when the buck started feeding away from us. The buck's antlers were dark and the CRP grass was so high, that I really didn't know for certain how big the deer really was. The buck then got to about 300 yards where he was silhouetted against the sky. At that moment I could see how big the deer actually was.
The buck then disappeared into the grass then popped back up when he started chasing some does. He chased does around for a couple of hours and ended up coming back to us. Walter and I both had cameras for filming for our new television series. So we were both running camera as the buck made his way in our direction. The buck got to a cedar bush that I had ranged earlier with my Nikon laser rangefinder-225 yards. The deer was 210 yards away by the time I put down my camera and grabbed my rifle. He just disappeared into the grass again.
The bunch of deer ended up going away from us again. A short time went by and we didn't see anything in the field. That's when we figured the big deer bedded down. Walter and I debated what to do for about an hour. We finally decided to circle downwind of where we thought the buck had hunkered down. Once we got to within 60 yards of where we believed him to be, I set up my shooting sticks, Walter his camera, and I gave out a low whistle to try and 'stand him up' for a shot. I didn't want to make a whole lot of noise because I knew that if I blew him out of there, that he and those deer would be gone forever. But the grass was neck high on me and I'm taller than six feet. I knew that deer was there -- we just couldn't see him. We waited for a few minutes then eased on out of there and went back to town where we told our fellow hunters our story.
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We planned on heading back to the same stand that afternoon. Now Walter has a lot more patience than I do so he lagged behind me about 100 yards or so filming as I nonchalantly walked toward the stand. As I got up over this small hill I thought to myself that I'd better start looking for what's up ahead just in case. The first thing I noticed was some tumbleweed moving in the wind. I threw my glasses up and realized that the tumbleweed was in fact the buck we'd chased earlier in the day.
At first, I wasn't sure if the buck saw me and that was why he was running. I found out quickly though that he was chasing a doe through the high grass. She was playing cat-and-mouse with him as I motioned to Walter to pick up the pace. The first wave to him was like a 'Come on up here,' and Walter started walking to me. The second wave to Walter was more like 'Come on now, get it in gear, there he is!' and that kicked Walter into running mode. Walter finally got up to me and started filming.
I didn't think I was going to get a shot at him, especially with the high grass and all. Walter and I debated whether or not I should risk crawling over and into the shooting house to get some height in order to shoot over all the weeds. We decided to stay put for the moment and eventually the buck made his way into a small opening in the CRP where somebody had driven a truck through and matted down the grass. When the buck got into the tiny clearing I shot him. The shot was maybe 100 yards. The deer instantly bolted in his low-to-the-ground death run. I could see that he was hit. I bolted the gun and shot again.
The deer went about 20 yards or so, piled up and disappeared into the weeds. He sure was a pretty typical 10-point buck with a three-inch kicker coming off of his base. The deer scored 187 1/8 inches.
A biologist friend out there used to hunt the property where I killed this buck. He told me back in town that he watched this very deer grow up. He also told me that I killed 'the little one.' He said it with a grin but I knew he wasn't kidding. I told him that never in my life would I pass up a buck like this one.
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Editor's Note: This was originally published January 31, 2005.
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