In November 2022, I headed out to south-central Kansas for an archery season whitetail hunt with an outfitter I have sent many clients to over the years.. He hunts whitetail, mule deer, antelope, elk, turkey, and upland game in Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Texas. This is my fourth personal hunt with this outfitter in as many years. I was excited to return and get a crack at a giant whitetail.
In Kansas, getting a whitetail tag requires a lottery application for a non-resident. Occasionally, the tag can be obtained the first year you apply with 0 points, but more typically, it will take 1 point to draw. The application period generally opens on April 1st and closes in late April. We will help you with your application for a preference point or tag.
I finished a successful rifle whitetail hunt in eastern Montana with a good friend and traveled to the Kansas hunt straight from Montana. The flight from Sheridan, WY, to Wichita, KS, went smoothly, and the outfitter picked me up at the airport. We had a nice dinner and drove to their place, where I got settled in and ready for the first morning.
Through our trail cam scouting, we had a few deer identified as no-brainer shooters, but there was one deer, in particular, I was hoping for. We had pictures of him from summer and very recently, almost daily, during daylight. He was an old, narrow deer with tons of stickers on his massive bases. I’d definitely take some of the other bucks too, but I really liked the character this one had.
We were out the door on the first day of the hunt and headed to the 2800-acre property I was hunting. I walked in at 5:45 am and was set up by 6:25 am, well before shooting light. I got my Ozonics unit set up and running and settled into the nice ladder stand in a great big tree in a draw looking over a cedar tree flat. Just at daybreak, I had a doe run by me from my right and kept going. Then a giant no-brainer shooter came in at about 6:45 am. He came straight at me from in front of me and was moving fast, so I started to shift my weight so I could stand up when he got behind a cedar, but he saw me when he was at 20 yds and bolted behind the cedars. I stood up and drew my bow, and he came out at what I guessed was 40 yds. I grunted to stop him, and he stopped perfectly, but even though it was 2-3 minutes into legal shooting, I could not see my pins. Well…you know, after you grunt to stop a deer, you are either shooting, or it’s game over.
Well, it was game over. Hard to believe that just 5 minutes into the hunt, I had a chance at a giant, and it didn’t pan out. I was using my Mathews compound bow. The night before, the outfitter had asked me if I wanted to use his Ravin crossbow. If I had made that choice, the deer would have been dead for sure, as I could have easily seen him in the scope. Oh well, what a start!
A bit later, I had another doe come in from my left and went to the feeder for several minutes until a buck came from behind, and she took off. The buck was a 3 yr old beautiful 10-pointer, probably a 135 class but a young deer, so I watched him. He made his way right by me at 15 yds and made a scrape behind me. Then went into the clearing behind me. Then came right back by me and walked past the feeder and out of sight. A bit later had a 4 pt come into the feeder for a while, then he walked right by me as close as 8 yds. Finally, around 8:00 am, I had a 4×2 come to the top of the ridge where the big one came out. He hung there for a while, then went back. He was looking at the feeder for does. He had a split brow on one of his antlers and no brow on the other. Then at 8:30 am, I had a spike come from behind me and cross the clearing behind me at 25 yds.
Around 10:00 am, a doe came running through and stopped at 5 yds. I saw a buck following, so I quickly knocked my arrow; the doe took off, and the buck came trotting by – a young 8. Too bad he wasn’t a big one, as I could have shot him.
I sat the rest of the afternoon and enjoyed all the birds and quail. Pretty slow as it was warm. Finally, at 5:30 pm, I had two bucks come from my right. A young 17-inch 8-pt and the same 4 by 2 as earlier today. It was dark at 5:53 pm, and I walked out to meet the outfitter. Overall, an excellent first day. I saw 7 different bucks and four does. A bit warm – mid-60s and breezy, but the deer moved early and late.
Super warm – 66 degrees and a south wind. Brought the Ravin R29 today after I shot and practiced with it last night. Walked in quietly with no headlamp and jumped a deer right under my stand in the dark. It was a solo deer and blew – guessing it was a buck, but who knows? I was all situated by 6:05 am, and legal shooting was around 6:30 am. Before 7:00 am, I saw a small 8 in the back of the clearing behind me, and then a spike buck came behind me downwind but didn’t react. This Ozonics unit really works. I think of the six deer that have come downwind of me so far, only one has smelled me.
Fewer clouds and more wind throughout the morning, and temperatures climbed into the 70s in the afternoon. I had just stood up to put my jacket back on, and after I got it on, I turned around and saw a bobcat slinking to my left. The birds sounded the alarm upon seeing it. I watched it go down the tree line out of sight for 10 seconds. Cool to see. Stayed hot all afternoon. Sun came out periodically. I did have another bobcat come under my stand at 5:40 pm then a larger one came out in the clearing in front of me a minute later. Looked like a big male. Cool to see. Sat till dark, then walked out.
66 degrees and blowing south wind. Went to the same stand. Supposed to have a wind switch around noon from S to N and cooling to 55 degrees this afternoon. Then much colder Fri and Sat. Hopefully, the deer will start moving. Set up by 6:05 am and shooting light at 6:30 am. Had a covey of quail feed behind me. Left the stand at 11:00 am and walked out so the outfitter could pick me up. The cold front is starting to come through.
We grabbed a quick lunch and returned to the property to hunt a feeder out of a shooting house in a cut feed field. All set up at 1:15 pm. Cooler now – about 50 degrees, and it had just rained. Definite weather change is starting to come. Yeah! Hope the deer will move this afternoon.
Saw a 2 yr old 8-pointer at 3:30 pm. He came from the right of the field, fed for a few min, then left, jumped the fence, and went back down the draw. At 4:35 pm, I had another 2 yr old 8-pointer come from my right. It eventually went in the draw. Then in the grass in front of me, I saw the first 8 and another slightly larger 8 with a kicker on the right G1 to make him a 9. They came in. The smaller 8 went across the field, and the larger one came in to feed for 5 min, then jumped the fence and went back down the draw at 5:00 pm.
I saw a doe come out from my left and work her way toward me. She got to within 50 yds and knew something was up – she was downwind. But after a few min, she bolted, but it wasn’t from me. Two big bucks broke from the woods in hot pursuit of her across the field. Both were shooters. The lead one was a giant. They ran slow – their bodies were so big they looked like steers. They were a totally different class of deer. They went to the far right of the field and jumped the fence 300 yds away after her and were gone. It was a sight to see, though.
Later, I had a 3-point and spike come out of the same spot and make their way to the feeder for a bit. Also had 5 or 6 other does come out and come in. Then, finally, a significant storm passed – big, nasty thunderhead clouds and lots of lightning. Could see and hear the cracks roll across the field. I thought it would get western quick – maybe a tornado – it looked menacing, but it eventually broke up. Stayed till dark and had deer all around me when the outfitter picked me up in the rain. We got out of there quick. It was a very eventful sit-with-deer activity all afternoon.
Cold around 28 and north wind 15-20 mph. I sat on a tripod stand overlooking the large cedar draw from 6:00 am to 2:00 pm. It was frigid, but I hunkered up. Ended up seeing deer all day from first light to 1:45 pm. 5 different bucks and 16 does plus or minus. Four of the bucks were 1 yr old, and one was a 2 yr old 6 pt without brows. I think the big bucks must be in lockdown, so I’m only seeing young ones. One of the old does have a volleyball-sized tumor on her brisket hanging between her front legs. Didn’t seem to slow her down any. Overall, an enjoyable morning with lots of action, just not the right deer.
The outfitter picked me up, brought me some lunch, and I returned to the feed field shooting house at 2:15 pm. We jumped a doe and buck when we drove in. Had a 3 yr old 8-pointer come in about 4:15 pm. Got some video, and he got downwind and didn’t freak but knew something was off. He trotted across the field and jumped the fence in the same spot as the two big bucks from last night. At 4:25 pm, I spotted two does who came out where he jumped the fence. They fed to the corner. Had a doe and fawn come from my right and run across the field to the other two does. After that, it got busy. Ended up seeing 6 bucks total. One was the same 6 I saw in the morning, and a new 8 pt. I also saw three more small bucks. Probably saw about 12 does as well. Very few deer were spooked tonight, despite the wind blowing toward them. The Ozonics did a great job. It was a fun night.
Sat the tripod on the south cedar draw. NNW wind and hard frost. But a light breeze, so it was a perfect morning weather-wise. The cattle were all around me at daybreak. I had an older 2×3 cruise by. Looked like a management candidate – he was probably 3 yrs old. Then at 8:30 am, I had the same 6 pt with no brows come by. Saw a lone doe at about 9:00 am. Then I heard a buck walking to my left grunting, and I stood up and glimpsed him cruising. I’m unsure if he was a 120 or a 140, but he was better than the others I had seen that morning. But I never saw him again, and he was gone. Right after that, I had a doe and fawn come out at 9:30 am. Quiet after that. Enjoyed watching the blue jays and cardinals and other birds. At 1:30 pm, I had a 3 pt come out and then return after a few minutes.
The outfitter got me at 2:00 pm, brought me a chicken lunch, and we went to the shooting house on the feed field. Set up at 2:15 pm. Sunny and 40, light N breeze. Had a doe come in about 3:30 pm and feed for a bit. Then saw a doe run across the way in the grass with two other deer behind. Then three small bucks came out. They all came in and fed, and I got some pics. They left at 4:00 pm. They all returned and fed some more, leaving again at about 4:30 pm. Then it got busy. I saw about 8-9 bucks total, and that many does. I did have an older heavy narrow 8 come out and feed for a bit. Pretty deer and old, but only a 120 class.
I saw two good deer cruising in the tree line to my left. I hoped they would eventually come out to the field, but they kept walking. One was a definite 150 plus. He had tall tines and looked to be a main frame ten. He also had a split G2 on his right antler. I would have gladly shot him. The other deer looked like a heavy 8 and a probable shooter. Had good action all evening. Some of the smaller bucks were chasing does in the field, and it was an eventful evening sit.
20 degrees and light wind out of the southeast shortly after daybreak. I sat on the double ladder where I hunted for the first few days, as the wind was good for that location. We had gotten a picture of the target buck that I wanted a crack at two days earlier at 8:30 am at this location, so I was hoping he would show. Got set up before 6:00 am, and all was quiet. It was a perfect November morning – clear and crisp.
Had a buck come by before light. He went to the feeder for a minute, then walked on. Around 7:00 am, I had a small doe walk into the feeder, and she was hanging around. Then I heard the sound of pounding hoofs on the ground, and she bolted, and a buck ran right in like he owned the place. I’m not sure where he came from, but I think he came from the flat to the left of me and was behind the cedars the whole time, so I couldn’t see him until he was 80 yds away. I put the binos on him, and it was the buck! He immediately jumped in the feed pen and proceeded to feed for 5 min. I just hoped he would come by me when he came out instead of returning the way he came.
Luckily the doe had come by me and not winded me when she got downwind (thank you, Ozonics), so I was hopeful. Then he jumped out of the pen and started walking my way. Was it really going to happen? I used the R29 Ravin crossbow and set the sight for 40 yds in anticipation. He was still coming, and when he hit an opening between cedars at 45 yds, I grunted to stop him. He turned slightly to me, and I shot. He didn’t react to the hit and ran about 30 yds and slowed down. Then a few seconds later, he tipped over! I couldn’t believe it. Finally, I got the one I was hoping for, and he was down at 7:15 am!
I climbed down and made my way over to him. He was all I had hoped for – heavy mass and an old deer. He had 17 points, 7 on the right and 10 on the left, with great character. I called the outfitter to let him know, and he said he would be on the way. The outfitter arrived at 9:15 am, and we got pictures and made short work of quartering the deer.
The outfitter also saw a tremendous 10-point 170-class deer driving in to get me. Before leaving the farm, we went to the north field to put more corn out and saw another giant with a doe at the end of the cut feed field. He was also a definite shooter, and there was another buck, probably a 140, with him too. Cool to see.
It was time for me to head to the airport later that day, so we said our goodbyes until the next time, and I proceeded home.
Overall, I saw lots of deer during each sit except when it was hot. I saw 8 big deer total, and I’m sure at least 5-6 were 150 plus. That field will be fantastic in rifle season, as I saw 6 big deer there, although never close enough with the bow. The outfitter was great as always and fun to hunt with. And I came away with my best buck yet – on November 13th, to boot – I’ve always had good luck on dates that are the 13th. And got him in the last hour, the last day, after hunting hard, so I feel like I really earned him. It was a great hunt, and I’ll be back.
Call us if you are looking for a great muzzleloader, archery, or rifle whitetail hunt in Kansas. We work with several outfitters in Kansas, in several locations throughout the state, and can recommend the proper hunt for you after a quick discussion.