When I got the picture text message on my phone, I immediately knew the Antler Geeks were off to a good start. And boy, are they ever! Congrats to my bud Tyler Ridenour and Adam Millard of the Antler Geeks, as they started off the season with two dandy Kansas bucks. Check out their great story below! – MK
“Adam Millard was on his first out of state hunt with a Kansas early season muzzle loader tag in his pocket. I also had an archery tag but truly didn’t expect to hunt on the trip; I was planning on returning to KS in Nov. Our trip began at a local car rental location, it’s a long haul from MI to KS and we wanted to save as much on gas as possible. Little did we know just how much we would save before this adventure was over. Total distance driven was nearly 4,000 miles, 1,600 miles of which were spent driving back roads while in KS checking out public land areas and knocking on doors trying to gain permission on private ground where we had spotted shooter bucks.
We arrived at our tent site home away from home two days before the season opened to give us time to scout and hopefully pattern an old KS buck. On our second night of scouting we began seeing the caliber of bucks we had driven so far from home to chase. Adam was amazed at the size of the bucks and sheer number of deer that live in the wide open country of KS and with several good bucks spotted the night before opening day he was nauseous to start looking at a big buck through the scope on his TC instead of just a pair of binoculars.
On opening morning we found ourselves back in the rental car, heading from spot to spot glassing for a shooter buck still on his feet. We saw several good bucks that morning but none on ground we could hunt. For the first evening hunt we sat on a water hole that showed sign of heavy use due to the extremely dry conditions KS is currently experiencing. We had action soon after getting set up and saw a couple dandy bucks that were unfortunately out of muzzle loader range. The next morning we scouted a new area and watched a giant ten point head into a creek bottom near a piece of public land that unfortunately was not open to hunting yet, so it was time to start meeting the locals in an attempt to gain permission on ground near that giant buck. Lady luck was on our side, the second farmer we asked to hunt gave us the go ahead and a plan for the evening hunt began to come together.
We hung our stands, cooked up some lunch back at camp and got our gear around…time to get in the tree. Shortly after getting settled in on the evening of the 20th we had a young buck feed into the field with a few turkeys, followed by a group of does and a young ten point. With just a few minutes left of legal shooting light Adam announced he’d laid eyes on a shooter. The massive 8 point was across the creek from us, straight down wind in an area we didn’t expect to have deer come from. Adam touched off the trigger and when the smoke cleared there was no deer in sight. We both pulled up our binoculars and began to scan the area for the KS stud. I spotted the buck thrashing in the meadow grass. Adam’s shot was just a bit high but still in the lungs, he worried the hit had just stunned the buck and quickly reloaded and climbed down to get closer in case a follow up shot was needed. By the time Adam reached the buck he was done and the hoot and holler from the happy hunter made it clear the buck he had come to KS to kill would be riding back to MI with us. I was so pumped for Adam; he had just killed his best buck ever on the second night of the season, what a way to kick off the first season of Antler Geeks.
It was time to put down the smoke pole and pick up the Hoyt much earlier than I had expected. However I didn’t get to jump right into the driver’s seat. Most of the next day was spent taking care of Adam’s buck and we were too short on time to make it out for an evening sit. My 2011 season began on September 22nd, a very hot day that resulted in minimal deer movement during hunting hours. The next morning I found myself still thinking about the big ten point we had seen a few days earlier near the spot Adam killed his buck, the wind had shifted back to NE just as it was the night Adam killed, so I thought we’d see if we couldn’t make that tree stand our new favorite spot.
Again shortly after settling in the tree we had a young buck make his way into the field. Then the doe parade began. I watched as the doe’s fed within bow range when Adam whispered there was a shooter buck in the field and he was heading our way. I couldn’t see the buck due to a tree and brush in between us, but I could hear Adams breathing becoming heavy and my anticipation just to see the beast was mounting. As the buck made his way towards our edge of the field the wind swirled just for a second and the doe’s got a bit edgy. Then, just as the buck stepped into my view, something in the creek bottom made a commotion and the doe’s bolted for the opposite side of the field, taking the heavy bodied buck with them. All the doe’s ran out to around 120 yards then began to feed farther away from us, but the buck stopped and fed casually for a couple minutes in the center of the field before heading back in our direction. The buck made his way to 30 yards but was at a quartering to angle, just one step to turn broad side and I could send an arrow into his rib cage. Unfortunately luck was not on my side, the buck’s next move was a whirl in the wrong direction, and he bounded across the fields and out of my life.
My adrenaline settled and a few deep breathers restored the oxygen supply to my brain and within minutes I heard a splash in the creek to my right, then another splash before ever seeing what was making the noise. Then I spotted white tines of a young ten point as he made his way out of the creek, past my stand and into the alfalfa field. He was followed by another small buck and a third deer I was yet to see. Then buck number 3 appeared with long tines and a much larger body than the previous 2 bucks to walk by the tree, I knew we was a shooter. I came to full draw, grunted to stop him and sent a wasp broad head into the lungs of my first September buck. I lost sight of the deer almost immediately after the shot due to a large tree that blocked my view of a section of the field. I asked Adam if he could see my buck and he simply said “yeah…he’s dead” the deer hadn’t made it out of the field before piling up!
Now for the fun part: like in mentioned earlier we’d rented a car to save on gas but hauling a bloody buck back to the tent in a midsized sedan presents a unique set of challenges. We lined the trunk with garbage bags and duct tape like a scene out of a mafia movie and stuffed my buck inside…hey we made it work. The next day we processed the buck and loaded up for home with enough money saved on gas and lodging to pay for another tag…that’s what the Antler Geeks are all about.
As we drove home I was almost in disbelief, we had driven half way across the country with the goal of Adam killing a buck in 10 days, and instead we were both tagged out by the end of day 5. This was by far one of the most memorable out of state hunts I have been on and certainly one I will never forget. The next 2 Antler Geek episodes will cover our KS adventure; the first show should air early next week.” – Tyler