Here’s another great story from our friend Steve Tittsworth of Greenback Tactical Hunters. Steve has had a great year, in fact, you might have already seen his big ole Colorado whitetail he downed earlier this year. But today, the story is of his dandy Kansas whitetail! Congrats Steve! – MK
“Just about the time the last of the leftover Thanksgiving Turkey is polished off , its time for one of my favorite trips of the year….Kansas Rifle ! We’ve had a lot of success in Kansas over the years and this one was no different . Little did I know what a wild set of circumstances would accompany this years hunt.
Day one dawned with perfect weather and myself and cameraman Mickey Holder perched over one of my favorite draws. I’ve hunted this set on numerous occasions with great success. We hunt this spot out of a Double Bull blind perched on the south rim of this draw. From here we can literally see into the edges of this cedar-choked draw. The deer return from two directions to bed after feeding in winter wheat fields over a mile away. And as always in Kansas… we have a BB2 pile in front of our camera locations for good measure ! Good friend Scott Engstrom of Petersburg Outfitters has had these deer on BB2 for over two years now and the results are evident. Scott also allows us the freedom to take this particular piece of property and create our sets and hunt it how we see fit. Deer movement on the first morning was a little slow but we were taking in the scenery and already planning for a move to our second set for the afternoon. We had pictures of two potential shooters on this set and the one at our evening location. One buck was a straight eight pushing 160 and the other a main-frame 13 point with some extras that would score a little more. The latter was number one on the list !
That evening we headed to our second location. Another blind positioned on the other side of the property watching an open ridge top where the deer would be exposed when they left the bedding area headed for the wheat fields for the night. When I say open , I mean it was free of the cedars found everywhere else on the property but it was still pretty thick in its own right. Full of sage and buckbrush, it was a little tough to see. Nevertheless, this is where the deer were coming through so this is where we were too ! The first few deer that passed through were small bucks and this continued to be the norm until the magic hour arrived. There was one area that the deer would come into view as if they dropped from the sky. The brush was so thick that we couldn’t see where they were coming from. We had noticed the familiar shape of a deer in this spot when all the sudden a huge rack raised above the brush! I immediately raised my gun and checked the deer through my scope. “Get on him” I whispered to Mickey , “Thats him ! ” Our number one hitlist deer was the first mature deer to show up ! No need to range , inside 200 yards so I let it fly through an opening in the brush ! The deer hunched and trotted to the east away from us. Just before he was hidden from the brush , I saw him favoring his front end and his head bobbing as he stopped , preparing to go down . After high fives and post shot interviews we headed out to recover our deer before we lost light. When I got to the spot where the deer was standing , I was a little surprised not to find the familiar blowout of a good shot. I continued to follow the path that the deer exited on but no blood. What the heck? After searching to the edge of the bedding area , I elected to back out.
Back at camp we wasted no time in reviewing the footage. Just as I expected , it looked like a good hit. The deer had reacted as if I smoked him but no blood. I have seen this on occasions so I wasn’t to worried. We would probably be able to recover him with no problem. You hear stories of sleepless nights in these situations but quite honestly I slept like a rock.
The next morning we were out at the scene expecting more daylight to reveal more sign. This was not to happen. Still no blood , no sign , no anything. I couldn’t believe it. We grid searched most of the day to no avail. We traced the bullet path and found one stick of buckbrush that had a fresh cut….looks like I had a deflection but why did the buck react as he did ? On a last ditch effort we decided to check a couple cameras on the property including the one that our first set overlooked. We pulled the card and and pulled out of the area to review it. As we scrolled through the pictures from the previous night our jaws dropped when we saw a main beam sporting six up ! There he was ! Two hours after I shot at him he was a half mile away on the BB2 pile in the area of our first morning set. Upon further inspection we could see a cut on the back of his right front leg. This answered our questions about the deflection and the bucks reaction. We immediately started calling him “Lucky” for the fact a twig saved his life and on our part that we hadn’t lost a wounded animal and we might get another crack at him!
Although we had been on the search for our deer most of the day , we still had 3 hours of daylight left and with the way our luck was running surrounding this buck , we decided to jump in the blind overlooking the camera we pulled the last pictures out of. You never know, if he came here for safe haven after being shot last night , maybe he was still in the area. The deer movement was similar to last nights in that the little bucks were the first thing to show up . The only difference tonight was a few does were moving through and a couple of them were still hot. After watching some of the little bucks pushing the does around we noticed a larger body deer moving through the cedars. After a quick inspection with my Swarovskis, the only comment I could make was ” you gotta be kidding me” . You guessed it….”Lucky’ . What are the odds…shoot him one night ,find him on a camera in another area and looks like we’re gonna get another crack at him. He made his way into where the does were as I positioned myself for a shot. Made sure Mickey was on him and as he stopped broadside at 300 yards I let another one fly. No brush to contend with this time and the bullet had no trouble finding it’s mark.
What a hunt….crazy circumstances and all. Probably as many highs and lows as I’ve ever had in such a short period of time hunting! The buck still carried everything on his beams but he had lost brow at some point. Still an awesome buck and an even cooler story ! Keep watching for an upcoming episode featuring this roller coaster ride of a hunt ! ” – Steve
For more information and to watch the video featuring this buck, visit the Greenback Tactical Hunters website!