November 5: Lee Novotny

Lee had been hunting Kansas hard for a week and almost made the decision to go home on day seven. It’s a good thing he didn’t because day eight would make the entire trip worthwhile.

Seven days of no shot opportunities. Seven long days of seeing very few deer. Bowhunting can take a person to the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Lee was starting to feel defeated and beginning to question if he had miss-timed the Kansas rut. Add to that frustration the fact that it’d been a few years since he’d killed a buck on camera, and you get a better picture of the pressure he was feeling.

Not one to sit back on his heels and wait for something to happen, by day four, Lee decided to hang another set a little further back in the timber as a hail Mary play for the last day of his hunt…which was supposed to be Sunday. His gut told him to stick it out one more day, so he extended his stay until noon on Monday and pushed into his hail Mary stand for that final sit. His tires would need to rolling down the road by lunchtime. Time was running short.

Covered in Nomad gear and tethered with his Muddy harness in the stand Monday morning, though the woods and weather were the same, the deer were on a completely new program. Does were finally entering estrus and the timber was alive with activity. Soon, three does came within range and it didn’t take long for Lee to see what had bumped them, a rutted-out bruiser of a Kansas whitetail.

Two of the three does moved along but one younger one remained out in front of Lee’s stand. The buck came around to check on her, offering a broadside shot at 25 yards (the first shot on a deer of Lee’s entire season). After hunting for so long and so hard, he would not miss the opportunity.

Lee pulled through the draw cycle of his PSE Decree and hovered a pin over the deer’s heart. Executing the shot, the Rage Hypodermic streaked forward hitting the buck directly in the heart.  After a 50 yard run, the deer piled up, ending Lee’s Kansas hunt on the final day.

With hindsight, Lee is glad he chose to extend his stay, despite the slow days leading up to the kill. The tail end of his trip caught the leading edge of the rut, making it a hunt to remember.

As told to Tim Kjellesvik.