Here’s a really incredible story from Scott Gasparini, a fella I met on the Archery Talk forums not too long ago. His enthusiasm for bowhunting whitetails, and his ability to share his stories in an enjoyable way made him a perfect fit to feature here on Wired To Hunt. So read on below for the account of his 10 day dream hunt in Kansas last year. I can promise you won’t be disappointed. And be sure to check back in next week, as Scott begins his 2011 Kansas hunt, which he’ll be sharing with us here as well! – MK
“It has been a little over two years since I met Jim. My efforts in trying to find a small time outfitter in KS culminated in our paths crossing. I had always wanted to hunt the Midwest, and in the Fall of 2009 I started planning on it for the following Fall. Jim called me as a result of a post I made in the Outfitter forum on Archerytalk. For half a year we traded phone calls and emails discussing options for my 2010 hunt. Initially he called to suggest some outfitters that he had guided for in the past. But in getting to know him, I realized hunting with him would be exactly what I had been looking for. His resume includes two booners (one a 203”!) with the bow, and he has access to some of the best whitetail farms on Planet Earth.
We spent most of 2010 preparing for my first out of state big buck bowhunt. Jim’s wealth of experience helped me in many ways from practicing to preparation. When the time for the hunt finally arrived I was mentally and physically ready and psyched out of my mind! Landed in Kansas City airport around 5PM on Friday November 5th and met Jim face to face for the first time. It was great to finally meet him after a year!
We took the short half hour drive west into Leavenworth County, KS where he lives and where we would be hunting for the next 10 days. The weather was cool and the sun was setting over the Midwestern landscape. He showed me a couple of the farms we would be hunting and there were deer piling out into the cut corn fields at dusk. Things were feeling RIGHT! Sleep did not come easy on the eve before my first mornings hunt. I had counted down months, weeks, then days for this hunt…and now I would be in a treestand in a KS rut funnel in mere hours!
When my alarm went off I was already awake. Quick scent free shower, breakfast, and we were off. It was clear and cool with overnight temps around 30 degrees. We had a SW wind and we had discussed the evening before the SW stand I would set that morning. The mornings hunt was eventful, seeing a handful of deer including a couple bucks and a group of 3 does. Around 11 I switched stands across the farm to another SW set high up on a ridge. It was the quintessence of deer country and looked amazing. I hadn’t been on stand for even an hour when I happened to glance down the hill and a BIG buck was moving through! I quickly gauged him as a non-shooter under 150” which was my self-imposed minimum for my hunt. He was close, and upon further inspection of his rack in the bino’s he carried 13 points. I grabbed the camera and took a few pics, but the brush was thick and they didn’t turn out great. Still, an amazing mid-day encounter on my first day in KS and I had already seen the biggest buck I’d ever laid eyes on! I had such high goals because I knew these farms had world class genetics and low pressure – even though my biggest buck previously was a 127” 9 pointer with the gun.
At last light I had another encounter with a 130” 12 pointer that was young. Great first day and I couldn’t wait for dawn the next day! Unfortunately, a warm front moved in throughout the following day. I spent dark to dark up on that ridge in the same set I was in when I saw the big one the day before. I was rewarded with seeing a bunch of deer including the 12 pointer at last light but no mature bucks. The weather was looking like it was going to stay warm for at least another few days so it was time for grind mode. I hunted a variety of stands and different farms over the next 3 days and saw a lot of deer but no mature bucks. By the time my 6th morning rolled around (Thurs Nov 11) I was starting to feel the pressure a bit. I had spent over 60 hours in Kansas funnels, seen some amazingly beautiful whitetail county and lots of deer…but zero mature buck movement. The thermostat had hit mid 70’s for the last 3 days straight! Tough hunting, but I was determined to see it through from up in a deer stand.
On Thursday the warm front finally started to break. It was cloudy all day and cooler by about 10 degrees. Saw a bunch of deer too, all does and small bucks. Still neither sight nor sound of the infamous (perhaps mythical?) mature buck that I was seeking. Dusk came and went bringing darkness and I met Jimmy back at the truck after the hunt. Over dinner we made a gameplan for the next morning. Friday was supposed to be cold and rainy…but that sounded a lot better than hot and sunny! I would go back to a 40 acre piece of property behind the landowner’s home. I had been seeing a lot of does in there the few sits I had put in on that prop earlier in the week.
I slept well that night and when the alarm went off I awoke to the sound of rain on the windows. You could hear the wind as well. I got up and saw Jim already out in the living room with a questioning look on his face. I said “Yea I don’t care…I’m going hunting!” My raingear would be put to the test that morning but I was determined to hunt every minute possible…I had 2.5 days left on my hunt. I got up in my stand well before first light. It was pouring like crazy as I waited for first light. About 10 mins after I could see my pins I broke out my big rattling antlers. I smashed them together for about 45 seconds as hard and as loud as I possibly could. The smell of bone was in the air from all the friction and energy.
The stand overlooked a small field to the front and a small woodlot to the back. A hill rose up to the right and a highway was off to the left across some big Ag fields 500 yards away. A cedar bedding area was within 400 yards towards the highway and another one about 300 yards away up the hill behind the house. With all the rain it was noisy in the woodlot so I was watching behind the stand. It would have been easy for a buck to sneak in from the cedar bedding area through the woods.
Fifteen minutes went by and nothing. I happened to glance over my shoulder out to the field in front of the stand and holy crap!!! MONSTER buck in range and moving left to right on front of the stand!! The second I saw him I knew he was a giant; huge body, massive antlers. The wind was good, quartering from him to me. He followed the field line in front of my stand 30 yards out, as I slowly and quietly turned around and grabbed my bow in the pouring rain. As he hit the corner of the field, he turned right, down the field rode that went by my stand at 15 yards. I drew and tracked with him. He was going to give me a close broadside shot if he continued down the road…but he didn’t! A few yards before my shooting lane he turned right again and headed directly at my tree!
I tried to sight on him in preparation for the shot; he was now within 15 yards and coming. Realized quickly that there was water in my peep and I couldn’t see through it very well…oh no! 10 yards. I try to blow it out quietly, 18 feet above him. No luck. 7 yards. I desperately try to sight on him through the blurry peepsight and continue tracking with him. 5 yards and almost right below me. I finally figure out where the top green pin is and center it right behind his shoulder in the middle and touch off. I watched the green Nockturnal center punch him 3 yards from my tree! He let out a monstrous ROARRR/GROWLLLL and took off like a bat out of hell crashing through the woodlot back towards the bedding area which he came from. I was only able to watch him for about 60 yards before it got too thick and I couldn’t see, but he never let up hauling the whole time. It looked like a death run but I thought the shot was back a little like liver quartering towards.
In the rain it was tough to make calls but I didn’t care, kept the phone under my hood. I called Jimmy, my bro, my Dad, my girl, and my two best hunting buddies to share the great news! I was absolutely amped out of my mind! I knew this was a mature monster buck but really didn’t know how big he was. I thought maybe 140-145” as a mainframe 8 but thought I saw some trash points too.
Since I wasn’t sure of the hit, and the heavy rain certainly washed away any blood, I backed out for the day. We considered going in that afternoon but again didn’t want to push him so we made the tough decision to let him lay over night instead of risking it. It was going to be cold so we weren’t concerned about the meat. We went back in at daybreak the following morning…after a day and night of intense anxiety!! We knew the property well and knew terrain features would funnel his movement based on the direction he ran after the shot. We hadn’t spent 30 minutes looking for him before I found him in a pond less than 150 yards from my stand! The shot was actually perfect right down through the lungs narrowly missing the spine by millimeters. He was likely dead in minutes, and died fully submerged along the water’s edge.
It was an amazing conclusion to the hunt of my lifetime! I later ended up taping him out at 154 3/8” green gross score with 41 3/8” of mass! This trumped my best bowkill prior to that by almost 60 inches! In addition to the amazing hunt, I had a great time with Jim and his family. We really hit it off hunting together and for as long as I can I will be returning to KS to hunt with him every year moving forward! This year I will be out there with him from Thursday November 3rd thru Sunday the 13th, 2011. CAN’T WAIT!!!
I didn’t realize it when I first shot him, but I had one trail cam pic of this buck from the 3 weeks we had it monitoring the field road that went by my stand I killed him out of. Made the whole thing even sweeter!
Interestingly, I got a trailcam pic of my buck 65 days before I shot him. The pic was taken 20 yards from where I killed him and I named him 8osaurus because of his unbelievably massive rack!
One of the best parts about my whole hunt is that I shared it with the world in a “live hunt” on Archerytalk.com. I posted live updates via my smartphone throughout every day, and at night I reported in much more detail with pictures from the day. Here is the link…it generated over 500 posts and 40,000 views:
I will be doing the same type of thread this year for my 2011 hunt, live from NE Kansas! ” – Scott Gasparini