The whitetail rut was in full swing in Kansas on Nov. 15 when truck driver Darin Hess, 50, knocked off work early and climbed into a treestand at about 3 p.m. The experienced hunter was overlooking a wheat field edge on 320-acres of private land and he was hoping the massive buck he was hunting would show up in bow range.
“I’d seen the buck once in 2020, and started getting trail cam pictures of the deer in early October,” says Hess. “I live to hunt the Kansas rut and for a month I was hunting two different farms for this special deer.”
Nov. 15 was an unusually warm 70-degree Kansas afternoon, and Hess wasn’t too excited about his bowhunting prospects. But by about 4:30 p.m. a six-point buck and a doe showed on the field edge not far away.
“The six-pointer kept looking behind me,” Hess recalls. “That’s when I turned and saw the buck I was after. He was about 150 yards away.”
The big buck ignored the smaller six-pointer but headed straight to the doe standing 20 yards from Hess. The big buck came to the doe, nearly at a trot. As the buck closed in Hess tried to stop him with grunt calls so he could draw his bow and shoot. But he couldn’t stop the buck from chasing the doe.
“I drew on his shoulder at 30 yards, led him a little bit and released the arrow,” says Hess. “I hit him a little farther back than I wanted. He spun around, ran to a fence, hopped it, laid down at 60 yards, and he never got up. He didn’t move all while I watched him through binoculars for 30 minutes.”
Hess slowly slipped down from his tree stand, headed back to his truck, contacted some buddies and returned two hours later well after dark. They drove right to the downed deer, which had never moved, as Hess’ Slick Trick 100-grain broadhead had severed an artery, finishing the deer quickly.
The 5.5-year old buck was not weighed, but it was massive with a huge rut-swollen neck. The impressive whitetail has 31 scorable points, with a green gross score of 250 non-typical inches, net scoring 237-5/8s inches.
“If that little doe hadn’t stepped out and drawn that buck to me, I never would have got him,” Hess says.