This 271 4/8-inch monster whitetail, taken on a 102-degree September afternoon, is the largest buck ever shot by a female hunter
|Rack Report Details|
|Buck:||271 4/8 non-typical|
|Time of Year:||September 2020|
|Place:||Kiowa County, Kansas|
|Weapon:||Savage .270 / Bushnell Scope Rifle|
There is a little cedar tree 25 yards from the blind where 14-year-old Paslie Werth and her dad, Kurt, were hunting during the September Kansas youth deer season. On the whole, the landscape is classic southwest Kansas: open country with pastures, cropland, and CRP fields. A cedar might stand out a bit, but Paslie and Kurt had no idea that as they sat in their blind that afternoon, a 42-point, 271 4/8-inch buck was bedded underneath it the whole time. It was windy that day, and 102 degrees. The buck didn't reveal himself until a few minutes before dark, when he stood up. Fortunately, Paslie spotted him, and she'd already gotten her rifle ready, just in case, a few minutes before.
Though they didn't expect the deer to have been bedded within bow range of the blind that day, the father-daughter duo certainly knew the giant buck was around. We first saw him as a 3-year-old, Kurt says. He had forked brow tines, and he was a 5x6. Forked brows aren't the usual on the deer we see out there, and we knew he had potential to turn into something special.
The Werth family knows big deer, too — and what a few extra years of age can mean for a buck in this part of the world. Paslie started deer hunting when she was 11 and killed a 7-pointer. Her second deer was a 140-class buck, and then last season, she killed a jaw-dropping 12-pointer that scored 178.
Paslie's older brother, Conner, and her sister, Jaeden, are serious about their deer hunting, too. We're all big hunters, Kurt says. We turkey hunt, and hunt pheasants, quail, and doves. Jaeden wanted a hog hunt for her 16th birthday. It's just a way of life for us.
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Jaeden — whose best buck is a 182 — even passed on this deer a couple of seasons ago, when it was a 4-year-old and sported forked G2s and G3s. Kurt estimates the deer was in the 170s at that time. The following year, as a 5-year-old, the buck's rack exploded, with 29 scorable points. We saw him during rifle season but never had great shots at him. And by then he'd ended up breaking off a brow tine and two drop tines, Kurt says. Late that season, Kurt's own resolve would be tested.
Second-to-last day of archery season, he came by me at 45 yards, he says. I got a good look at him, and he was still over 200. But he was broken up. I gambled and passed on him. I thought, if one of my girls got him, he'd be a hell of a deer. My children said I was crazy!
"We had one picture of him at about 8:15, and that was the closest thing we had to daylight movement."
But it was a good play. The Werths checked trail cameras in early September, and the buck was back — and he'd become a world-class animal. I thought he'd go well over 250, Kurt says. But he was very nocturnal. We had one picture of him at about 8:15, and that was the closest thing we had to daylight movement.
Paslie is getting into bowhunting, and the box blind they were hunting — near that little cedar — was set up for a bow shot. Jaeden, also an avid bowhunter, was after the deer, too. But Paslie was still young enough to hunt the Kansas youth season, which opened Sept. 5, and so she was able to carry her rifle, a Savage .270 with a Bushnell scope, to the field.
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We try to figure out a travel pattern from bed to water source, Kurt says. This buck was feeding in some milo fields on the neighbors' but bedding closer to us.
It was brutally hot that weekend — 102 degrees for the high — and overall deer sightings were slim. Paslie and Kurt saw a few does the first evening but no bucks. The following morning, they saw just one lone fawn. After lunch that day, Kurt says he was feeling pretty uninspired — but Paslie was chomping at the bit to get back in the blind.
I wanted to go out at around 2, and Dad wanted to wait. I kept telling him to get moving! I was bothering him, but we did get up and go, Paslie says, laughing.
In addition to the heat, the prairie winds were ripping that afternoon. Kurt parked in a draw where they typically hide the pickup, and they hiked to the blind, settling in around 3:30. We got in the blind, opened all the windows, and got some airflow, he says. And then, we just sat and watched grass for a long time.
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Two does walked in at around 6 p.m., but they were skittish and left. At 10 minutes to 8, Paslie asked her dad when shooting hours ended. Sunset was 7:57. I said, we can hunt almost to 8:30, but we're not going to see anything, Kurt recalls.
But Paslie had a hunch. I took the sling off my gun and held it out the window. I just had a feeling something was going to happen, she says. Right at 8, Dad was packing his grunt call, binocs, empty water bottles, and getting ready to leave. I looked up, and this deer just stands up from that little cedar tree 25 yards away. I looked at Dad and said, 'Shhh,' and he went, 'Don't shush me!' And I said, 'Shut up, there's a big buck right there!'
Kurt pulled his binoculars up, but that wasn't needed. Paslie already had her gun steadied on the buck's shoulder. She squeezed the trigger.
She pulled the trigger, and I'm watching him. He goes down to his nose — a .270 at 30 yards is a whack — but all of the sudden he jumps to his feet and takes off, Kurt says.
Paslie knew she was on the buck, and she jumped to open the blind door to see where he'd gone. She saw him, just as he crashed into the CRP, dead. I didn't really have time to be nervous, she says. He just stood up, and I did what I was supposed to, got the gun on him and pulled the trigger.
But the nerves hit hard, walking up to the buck. I couldn't hardly hold the horns for pictures! Paslie says.
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The buck is indeed amazing. He still had a 6x6 frame, but with 44 points, 42 of which are scorable, Kurt says.
After things settled, Kurt asked Paslie where the buck had come from. I said he just stood up from right there under that tree, she says. He got up, stretched, looked right at the blind, and turned perfectly broadside. You could tell he'd been bedded under that tree. There was a big bald spot on the ground. He'd been there the whole time, when we walked in. And we weren't even quiet. I'd let the blind door swing open, Dad had me laughing in the blind, and we weren't whispering. How he didn't hear us is crazy. But I had a feeling, after that morning hunt, and I wanted to be out there. I got pushy with my dad, trying to get him out the door, and I took the sling off my gun right before dark, to get ready.
That feeling was real. After taking care of the meat and cape, Kurt and a buddy started measuring the rack the following day. I was measuring, he was writing. We scored 41 points and had some circumferences that pushed 7 1/2 inches, he says. We had him at 282 6/8, and thought we must've done something wrong. So, we did our math again.
After some debate, they decided to share a photo of the buck on social media. Phones lit up then, and plans were made to have the buck officially scored, after the 60-day drying period. On Nov. 16, with 42 scoreable points, the buck was officially measured at 271 4/8 net, making it the largest non-typical whitetail ever taken by a female hunter — and without a doubt, one of the best deer stories of 2020.
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