ALL THE BUCKS WERE LOCKED DOWN WITH DOES

Outdoor Life - - NO EXCUSES - —T.H.

This was the ex­act sce­nario I faced dur­ing my first visit to Kansas a few sea­sons ago. The half­dozen bucks we’d seen from the truck were stand­ing guard over hot does in the mid­dle of the prairie. It was the peak of lock­down, and we weren’t see­ing many deer from our stands. It seemed like the odds of get­ting a buck to within bow range were im­pos­si­ble. Yet guide Wade Shults of­fered some straight­for­ward ad­vice: “If you want to kill a big one, this is the time to do it,” he said. “But you’ll need to be there when the right one walks by.” Shults was ex­actly right. I saw very few deer. But when I did see a doe, a gi­ant buck was right on her tail. She pulled him past my stand, and he had ab­so­lutely no idea what had hap­pened when I drilled a broad­head be­hind its shoul­der. Hunting the lock­down phase of the rut means hour upon hour of bore­dom in­ter­rupted by mo­ments of pure chaos. Re­ally, you're tar­get­ing doe move­ment. When bucks are locked down with does, they are not leav­ing them. The does might not move for days, but even­tu­ally, they will stir. You sim­ply have to be there, and be ready, when they fi­nally ar­rive.

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