Archery season continues through Dec. 31
Regular Firearm: Dec. 2 - Dec. 13, 2015
Firearms Whitetail Antlerless-Only Deer Seasons begin Jan.1, varying by location throughout the state.
Before sunrise on Sunday morning, enduring winds in gusts of 30 mph, Texas hunter Philip Kalmbach, with guide Tevor Olsen of Central Kansas Whitetails, a Great Bend outfitter, climbed into a Rush county tree stand and quietly waited in hopes of a successful Kansas bow hunt. His patience was rewarded when a large buck made his way into his field of vision. His shot was spot on, and the buck fell to the ground.
But as Kalmbach approached, the giant stood up and ran, requiring the men to follow it until a second shot could be taken and the five-and-a-half year old typical buck succumbed. Judging by its size, it is no surprise.
As it turns out, Central Kansas Whitetails’ client may have brought down one of the top 20 all-time 8 pt. bucks as listed at the Boone and Crockett Club, according to CKW’s Wally Eldridge. Boone and Crockett is the oldest wildlife conservation organization in North America, having been founded in 1887 by Theodore Roosevelt and George Bird Grinnell. Official measurements cannot be taken until the antlers have air dried at normal room temperature for at least 60 days after the animal was killed.
Eldridge said the buck scored 189 inches in the field. For comparison, the average whitetail will score around 171.5. Scores are determined by the lengths of various measurements of the rack. This buck had a 29.5-inch main beam, a 25-inch spread, 11-inch brow tine, and a 16-inch G2 (the length of the second point), all well beyond the average whitetail. Full field-scoring guidelines can be found at www.boone-crockett.org.
Chances are slim another hunter will be as lucky as Philip anytime soon, Eldridge said. Record bucks are few and far between in Kansas. In fact, according to a list of the top 40 typical and nontypical bucks of all time courtesy of Outdoor Life magazine, it turns out there are only two Kansas bucks listed, one typical, rated no. 19, scoring 199 2/8 inches in 1999, and one non-typical, rated no. 13, scoring 280 4/8 inches in 1987.
What determines if a buck is typical or nontypical? It has to do with the formation of the rack. A typical rack is for the most-part symmetrical, and formed with tines growing up and out. Non-typical racks are often asymmetrical, with some of the tines growing down or out at odd angles.
According to Charlie Swank, district biologist with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, Cheyenne Bottoms office, there are a variety of factors that cause antlers to become non-typical, ranging from simple genetics (often where many nontypical are found in one area), to injuries to the velvet on newly forming antlers, to injuries elsewhere on the deer which diverts the body’s resources from antler formation to healing. Nutrition is a factor, also, in the size and formation of the rack, and in Kansas, nutrition is good.
It takes a deer at least three to four years before it has grown and matured enough to have antlers worthy of being considered a trophy, Swank said. Each year, antlers are dropped and regrow. Should a buck be wily enough to survive multiple seasons, growth increases along a bell curve, tapering off and declining over time if teeth become ground down, making it more difficult for the deer to feed. This time of year, as bucks are on the lookout for does, they are less cautious, and are more likely to be spotted by hunters or hit by vehicles.