The big buck stories have begun to pour in and today we have an exceptionally great tale to share with the Wired To Hunt Nation. Last week Pete Alfano of Whitetail Properties put the drop on a giant Kansas whitetail and he was kind enough to share his epic journey for this buck with us all. But what is Whitetail Properties you ask? Quite simply, it is the premier real estate company for hunting property across the midwest and additionally the Whitetail Properties crew has produced one of the best hunting shows on television showcasing these incredible hunting locales. Pete is a land specialist and manager for Whitetail Properties and is frequently featured on the television show chasing giant bucks across the country. So read on for a great story, straight from Pete, of big buck management, surveillance and hunting.
“Kansas has been known statewide for its world class animals for a long time. This is just a short story about how the two year quest for this monarch of an 8 point I named” Big Brows” fell opening week of Kansas early Muzzleloader season this year.
Two years ago we purchased 1050 acres of ground in Comanche Co. from one of our Kansas Whitetail Properties agents Tom McFarlane. I’ve hunted eastern Kansas a few times and never really gave much thought of traveling west of Wichita in pursuit of Whitetails. After talking with Tom and looking at dozens of south central Kansas properties we decided to pull the trigger on 1050 acres in Comanche Co. Kansas. The past owner hunted very little the few years he owned the property and scored on some very impressive animals and had dozens of good bucks documented on the ranch. The property had water, lots of cover, I could see the potential food plot areas and the genetic pool in the area was great, so it made this decision very easy for us.
I spent the first year really just running Reconyx cameras and opening up a few food plots, actually I’ll call them test plots. The soil is very sandy and undesirable to most crop farmers. I consulted the Whitetail Institute and to my surprise the Whitetail Extreme they recommended, mixed with purple top and 7 top turnips exploded and in a short time I started pulling some really great rutting bucks over from other properties onto the ranch.
One buck in particular had my eye right away. I picked up his sheds as a two year old when we were clearing an old hedge row into a perfect square field the size of a football field. I felt the only fitting name for this food plot was Soldier Field for my beloved Chicago Bears. His sheds had great potential huge brows for a two year old perfect 8 point frame. Last year I started getting pictures of “Big Brows” right away and he was actually a 4 year old. We hunted just a few times and decided we would just let him grow to a 5 year old to see what he could do. In March while at the ranch shed hunting we discovered “Big Brows” sheds by a freak accident. Later that night we put a tape on them with a 17 inch spread he would have scored 153 as a main frame 8 point.
So this year I was excited to see what “Big Brows” would do with his head gear. I started the herd in February on a healthy diet of BB2 by Big n J Industries and the Reconyx pictures started flooding in. I was getting 30-40K pictures in two weeks. With no sign of “Big Brows” my hopes that he made it through the season started falling every card I pulled. My plan was to go to the ranch two weeks before season to get ready for early muzzleloader and one last hope of finding “Big Brows” . I headed down to the ranch on schedule with little hope of pulling the cards on the Reconyx camera and seeing him on them. On August 25 he finally showed himself and did he ever. He had dropped his Ninth point and turned back into a main frame 8 point with a kicker ‘drop. It’s one of my favorite pictures I’ve ever got. Once I knew he was still alive I put a full assault scouting mission on him from the distance. From the prior year’s photos and finding his sheds as a two year old and four year old I had a pretty good start. I was able to pattern him almost within 30 minutes of his morning and evening schedule.
So it’s opening day and I have a game plan and a great wind. I had dozens of pictures of “Big Brows” visiting soldier field at daylight and in the evening 100 yards from his core bedding area. I had placed a Banks Blind in the far North end of the field and mowed a trail through the sage and prairie so I could literally sneak undetected into the blind in the evening and would leave him alone in the morning. He did show himself opening night in 35 MPH gusts at dark. He stepped out and I knew it was him immediately. Losing camera light quickly we decided to pass him in hopes that all of my scouting would pay off. The second evening the wind gusts were terrible again and we decided to just stay out of the blind in hopes that the third day the temperatures would drop and the wind would lay down getting “Big Brows” on his feet and moving earlier.
The third evening I had one of my strange feelings I get that something was about to happen all evening. Deer started moving early that evening and a smaller fork horn yearling showed up that I had quite a few pictures of him traveling with “Big Brows” so my attention was pegged on high alert. A few minutes passed and I had the fork horn and a doe out feeding 80 yards in front of me. One thing I’ve learned hunting big deer is if you watch the deer in your food plots movements they will do a lot of your spotting for you. The smaller buck flicked his tall after looking in our direction and put his head down and walked away liked a whipped Kerr dog. The doe had her eyes pegged on something in the old hedge growth to my left but I couldn’t see a thing in the dark mass of the growth. After this went on for 15 minutes I grabbed the Nikon’s and did a quick scan of the hedge in hopes of spotting something out of the ordinary. Well it took me literally three seconds to spot him, he stood there for another 40 minutes just watching the food plot and the other deer in the field. He had come in downwind and was being very cautious, they don’t get this big making mistakes this early in the season. The urge to eat in the cooler weather had got him finally convinced it was safe to enter the field. I couldn’t have scripted the next 30 seconds any better. He walked broadside to the Banks blind and stopped at 90 yards offering me a perfect shot with the T/C. Let’s say at that point it was Advantage Pete! I got my Nikon scope settled in and squeezed off a great shot. The bucks reaction was all I needed to see, he high mule kicked and ran full speed low to the ground into the hedgerow opposite of where he had come out. In less than three seconds I heard a big crash and just put my head down and knew this chess match had just ended. After gathering my gear I walked over to the point of impact and knew right away there was no question on the hit. After a short 50 yard blood trail there lay “Big Brows” the buck that cost me many lost nights of sleep and hours of mind bending ideas on how to harvest him. Later that evening we put a tape on him, he ended up grossing 160 3/8ths.
South Central Kansas has produced a 160 and a 166 in the last two seasons for me in a total of 5 days of hunting. I think anyone looking at purchasing a farm to produce world class animals really need to take a look at Kansas. With a one buck rule, options on feeding and a friendly nonresident landowner program this state will always be at the top of my list.” – Pete Alfano
For more information about great hunting land available in Kansas and across the Midwest, visit the Whitetail Properties website.
And if you’re not convinced yet about the kind of bucks Kansas has to offer, check out the video of Pete’s hunt for his 2009 Kansas buck!