Kansas deer hunting is always exciting, whether with gun or bow. This year I took advantage of an any-season whitetail tag to switch to firearm hunting when unforeseen circumstances kept me out of a bow stand through most of November. But a nice buck I’d seen only at night on trail camera pictures was still in the area, and yesterday, I rolled the dice and set up on a hideaway bedding tangle in hopes that he was tired from the rut and hiding out from heavy hunting pressure nearby.
That thought hit paydirt when the buck suddenly emerged from a cedar glade you couldn’t walk through with a half hour of sunlight remaining on a great December afternoon. It wasn’t a food play, a rut play, or a trail play. The buck simply came to the edge of a place he relied on as totally safe. And the unconventional sit gave me a150-yard shot at a fine trophy. The buck went down in its tracks at the sound of my .243, steadied on shooting sticks.
This was the first buck I’ve shot with a rifle after 40 years of bowhunting. I’ve harvested does with a firearm, but all my bucks have been taken with arrows. You know what? It didn’t bother me a bit. When hunting time doesn’t work out as planned, the flexibility of the any-season permit gave me the chance to get the deer I was after, even though in a different way. And it was a hunt I’ll always remember.