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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The truck is fueled, loaded and parked waiting on my 3:30am departure for SE Kansas. I'm hoping by 3:30 pm I will be at my lodging destination in the "Land of Ah's" as the locals prefer it to be called. (as opposed to the title of the movie that featured Judy Garland, Toto, the Tinman and the flying monkeys) It will will be a short nights sleep but I grown to expect sleep to always be elusive anyway before any hunt that holds great promise. I'm sure that we all know that the expectations of any hunt usually falls short in reality; but the excitement of the possibilities beforehand keeps us going back. That's true whether your destination is for some wilderness big game in Alaska or merely rabbits in the Mississippi delta.

I will write and post pictures of this hunt because I like to keep daily entries that I can go back and read. In addition, maybe it will keep a few folks entertained and the forum active. Who knows, maybe something good will happen and speak well for the traditional method of bowhunting. If not, I'm sure I (we) will have still a good time. I know you understand.

See you with a little luck in Kansas tomorrow.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well as you might imagine, there is not a great deal to talk about on a travel day. One thing that I did do was take a quick look at the Mined Lands Wildlife area. Mined Lands consist of 13,000 acres covering 43 miles in a series of blocks. What makes ML unique is it made up of over 1000 strip pits filled with water due to surface mining by one machine that worked 24/7 from 1962 to 1974.

The shovel was run by electricity and took 103 rail cars and 52 men working 11 months to assemble. It weighs approximately 10,300,000 pounds, is 16 stories (160 ft) tall and if all the strips were connected would have dug over 1300 miles in the 11 year period at a speed of .22/miles an hour!

After 11 years of operation, it was no longer feasible to surface mine coal so in 1974 when the coal company couldn’t get an increase for the cost of coal; Big Brutus dug itself out of the 60 ft trench it had dug and was turned off for good. Eventually all the Coal lands were donated to the Kansas State Parks and Big Brutus was given to a non-profit who has a museum and the machine on public display.

I stopped by this afternoon and visited the museum and witnessed the second largest land machine ever built (see picture) it’s pretty awesome!

Tomorrow I meet with the Kansas State Parks at 8:00 for my orientation before getting access to a truly remarkable area. More on that tomorrow I hope as I should get some hunting in!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Today was a rainfest complete with enough wind to make me uncomfortable.

An orientation took place this morning and it didn’t conclude until past 10. That really crowded the day in terms of scouting the area and getting two stands hung.

Out of 20 folks who drew a lottery permit; I drew number 2 so that really made me happy as I could pretty much pin the map anywhere I wanted for the first selection. It turned out to be great as I am at the intersection of three trails that are tearing across a creek. Looks like someone went crazy with a Murray Tiller! Tomorrow will be interesting!

My second selection was number 22 so I just picked a creek drainage with no one near it. I found another creek crossing; not nearly as good as the first one….but still promising.

I finished the last stand placement about 5:30 in the rain. Given I was wet as a duck and there wasn’t much more than an hour left of daylight in the cold dreary gray skies, I decided to leave everything to rest and hit it tomorrow.

The bucks aren’t chasing yet but I likely saw 20 deer today; but no good bucks. It should get much better by the end of this week as the rut kicks in full steam. Stay tuned!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Today was friggin unbelievable. I think I saw over 50 whitetails today with about 35 of those at my stand by the creek crossing. As I got to my stand I scattered about 20 in a 10/10 split east and west. Tails were bouncing in all directions!

I hastily climbed my stand and proceeded to slam the millinieum tree seat on my thumb; splitting the nail the entire length. Not a good start for a day that had so much promise. Undeterred, I nocked an arrow and sit all of 15 minutes before a doe came from behind me and started crunching acorns. Given you have to sit out the following year that you draw unless you take a doe….I let it rip at 12 yards and shot under her. Yea…I missed. The worst part is she ran over and broke my very best wood arrow!!!
I guess I liked it so much 45 minutes later I did it again. Me trying to shoot a bow today was like someone trying to dribble a football; it just wasn’t going to happen. I have lots of valid reasons but in the end I just missed.

Of course I was there to kill the P&Y and Booners so it was just a doe. It wasn’t the end of the world I guess. I’m just flushing it and starting tomorrow as a new day.

Deer filtered through the woods from 8 to 11 and from 3 to 5 today. I eventually saw 15 from the stand on my acorn flat and it was likely the best day of bowhunting in terms of numbers I ever had.

Deer were all over the roads going in and out. Of all the deer I saw; I only saw one buck that I knew of. He crossed in front of me at 55 yards at 3 pm. He was a nice 8 pointer but not a trophy.

The rut hasn’t kicked in yet. Should be any day now. When the rut starts; this place will get crazy.

I know of only one buck taken today…a 136 P&Y. Just a baby deer here.

Bentstick54, glad your here. Should be great for your trip in a couple of weeks!

Stayed tuned. The wind is changing tomorrow and not in my favor. May hunt the creek crossing/acorn flat in the am and my other stand pm.

Lets hope my shooting improves!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The day started well. At 7:05 this morning on the drive in about a mile from where I was going to hunt, I saw a doe about to run in front of me. It was still dark so I had my bright lights on and as she crossed I saw a buck right on her heels. I was dead stopped as he ran 10 yards ahead in my high beams. Biggest buck I ever saw; at least 5 long points on both sides. Easy a 150 or 160 deer!

The trip to the stand was uneventful. The morning was rather slow though I did see 7 deer. Every time a doe started to get close; the haphazard wind would betray me. Funny thing about these deer is when say smell you they just slightly raise their flag and take a couple of those indignant prancing steps….and go back to feeding in another direction. I have yet had a deer stomp it’s feet or even snort!

This afternoon was very slow as I saw one doe. The wind is playing havoc as its extremely variable and every deer I saw today knew where I was at before they got close. This would have been a great day for sightings anywhere but here. You just expect more here.

People don’t come here just to see deer or shoot doe; they come from all over to kill the gagger bucks. Crestedbutte, they show a slide show first of the legendary bucks they have captured on trail cameras in the past; then the ones from this year. You will be impressed! That said I will have to give you a demerit for naming the area:) No worries as it was a bad kept secret. I was dropping clues along the way. Once you buy a $447 non-resident license to try to draw one of the highly sought after 20 licenses in a given week; it becomes evident that it’s expensive spin at the roulette wheel.

I will close by saying I need a change of strategy as I’m not seeing the bucks and I’m being busted by the does. You do get two stand locations by order of your draw slip but I’m going for broke by moving my 2nd stand location next to my first one to have a bigger swath of assigned territory. Probably will just use one stand to easier move with the daily changing conditions.

With a little (lot of) luck maybe I will have a better report tomorrow. The bucks ought to really be chasing
next week for Crestedbutte.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 · (Edited)
Crestedbutte, there is no foul as I would tell anyone if they ask. As you know it’s a public area so no matter whether 250 people put in or a thousand; the draw is the same to insure quality hunting. The forum guidelines in the past has discouraged disclosure of the public lands being hunted. I would suspect that is a thing of the past as the traffic on the Bull is a fraction of what it used to be.

The area has limited cell coverage and I’m amazed at how I miss keeping in touch with everything. Being a pretty solid traditionalist in mind and spirit, it’s a disclosure that is painful to make; as when it didn’t exist…. I didn’t miss it. I guess I could say that about a lot of things.

Wind is still variable in hindsight the proper stands to bring should have been a loc on and a climber as the climber changes position easily and there are enough oaks to make it work. They absolutely don’t care if you use a saw (they actually want you to) so you can saw your way to the top…….

Well that was fast. I was typing in I phone notes to paste later tonight. I looked up and saw 4 or 5 does being pushed around about 100 yards from my stand. I eventually saw a much larger deer in body size but the antlers looked small. Apparently, all participates were just play acting for the real show as the buck broke off; crossed one of the three creek crossings and headed to me. This was the first deer of the 60+ that I had seen earlier that actually played by the script; coming to me as I had set my stand to anticipate.

As the buck approached closer, he started looking better to me. Good spread, long beams with tall times. I knew that if I was from Kansas, they would just call this a baby deer.

But I “ain’t” from Kansas.

This deer would be in my top two deer with a bow and I could hunt years where I do without seeing this type of buck. This dude was playing the game as designed; we all know that is rare.

At a total distance of 11 yards, I drew without the buck knowing I was above him. I shot and pin wheeled him tight behind the shoulder with the Douglas fir arrow and Zwicky broadhead. He went about 60 yards and went down as a “thump” in the woods. I could tell you about a 63 year old fat guy trying to
move a likely 225 pound deer over a mile; but it’s not interesting and we all have been there. I’m having Tylenol tonight for supper:)

The buck is a main frame 8 with a small kicker; scores awful, and is small I guess by some subjective standard. Out of the 20 participates, 6 had already tagged bucks and mine was likely 25 points smaller than the smallest one.

Ask me if I care. I had a great time in Kansas and am grateful for the state of Kansas to have given me this opportunity! I’m happy with my buck and make no apologies.

Just wait until next year. I will get a big one then!
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Unfortunately on the wildlife area once you shoot a buck your hunt is over. The doe is applicable only when it’s before the buck.

Thanks for the comments! I had a great time. I have to sit out a year but year after next I will reapply!
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
I think both of you are going to center punch the rut; it might start in two or three days but my money would be that it will be raging next week and continuing into the next. Those doe are important as they allow you to re-apply next year without sitting out a year.

As far as how many doe I’m not sure. Most folks don’t want to fool with them though the wildlife officials practically beg the hunters to shoot them. I saw a sheet of harvest and I counted the bucks (the best one was 162)….but I didn’t pay that much attention to the doe kill. It didn’t jump out to me as a lot….maybe 5 or 6 I think
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 · (Edited)
I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who checked in and to those who took the time to comment. As I think I mentioned, it was a great hunt with big bucks and a high population of deer.

Being a bowhunter, I am always amazed at how Midwest states often set up these types of quality hunts with the archer in mind. It’s a structure that works for them apparently. I could never imagine the our state setting aside 13,500 acres as a bowhunting only environment. I’m glad someone does
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
I couldn’t agree more. The drive in lined with rocks representing PY bucks is impressive.
I have made three trips there (though none recently) and had a great time on each.

The only thing that I wish could change is for the hunt to last longer than 2 1/2 days and there to be
more than two toilets for the 300 people! There is anguish on many faces at 5:00 am:)

Hopefully things have changed in the last 10 years or so. I would love to
make another trip back. This hunt should be on any traditional bowhunters wish list….
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
Stringwacker….how are the conditions of the roads on the “place”? Supposed to get a lot of rain on Wed. 11/10. Are the roads decent sand/gravel or terrible mud holes and washouts? Thx, -CB-
No worries on that at all as I would say 85% of all roads are paved and the others are well maintained crushed gravel. I would also say that many have street lamps:)

I did encounter one washed out bridge, but it was properly marked so an incident couldn't happen. I just found another way to go. I found my GAIA app very useful in getting around the road network.

I will be following on CB's hunting journal. Good luck!
 
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