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November 27: Lee Novotny

Kansas started out brutal this year. Eric and I spent ten days in the first two weeks of November battling warm weather. There wasn’t a lack of encounters during this trip. We had bucks running all over, but I either had a hot doe run the bucks the other way or those “confused” bucks that would commit to coming in half way to calling and decide it wasn’t worth the rest of the travel. Regardless, we headed back to Minnesota empty handed, but decided to return to Kansas over Thanksgiving when we heard the weather was to be cool and the bucks were chasing hard searching for late does in heat. Thanksgiving night I had a 150” standing at 18 yard below the tree stand but just past camera light, so he got a free pass.

The day after Thanksgiving, we set up on a ridge between a large bedding area and a picked corn field. We knew this was a high traffic area. This particular night was slow, however, with only a few does coming in as the hunt was coming close to an end. My nerves began to run as the wind started switching on us. But right as the does we moving in from my right I could hear grunt after grunt in a large patch of sumac practically straight in front of me. First two does emerged from the sumac. I knew a buck had to follow with all the grunting going on. Sure enough, here he came. Here was an enormous bodied ten point with great mass and great brow tines to boot. I knew it was now or never. Eric gave me a thumbs up he had him on the camera. He was standing at 40 yards quartering away. He gave a lip curl and I pulled the hammer. The shot was perfect with him going only about 80 yards. After thirteen days of hunting Kansas I finally closed on a great Kansas whitetail. Eric and I worked hard in Kansas and it all paid off.