Today is Halloween and I’ve had a smile on my face the entire day.
And it has had nothing to do with my beloved Texas Longhorns winning their gridiron war with Oklahoma State tonight, nor with my kids and their zany costumes, or even thanks to the candy haul that somehow found its way into our home this evening.
Which reminds me, memo to the kids: leave the Milky Way bars alone!
Instead my goofy grin has to do with one of the best friends I have in the world and his achievement of a four-year long dream in his home state of Kansas.
You see, my pal Casey Ingold is as serious a deer hunter as you will meet.
Like many here in the H-365 world, Ingold talks about deer hunting often, he thinks about it almost as much, and he reads about it frequently.
Add in his post-season and pre-season scouting work, his aerial photo and topo map study, and his desire to constantly prepare for his next hunt and I’d bet that my friend goes to sleep dreaming about tagging big bucks just about as often as I do.
But the Topeka, Kansas husband and father of three sons has his priorities in their proper place, rightfully putting family time and obligations ahead of his own desires to be in the woods at all costs during the fall hunting seasons.
Throw in the fact that he is a busy full-time senior pastor at Covenant Baptist Church and it’s easy to see that unlike some big buck nuts, Ingold isn’t in his treestand every second of the deer season.
Since moving to the region, my buddy has become a spring turkey killing machine, annually filling his tags and getting his kids and a few pals into shotgun range of an Eastern gobbler.
And he’s also kept the freezer reasonably full of venison, thanks to his proficiency in tagging does and guiding his sons to a couple of their own deer.
But over the years that he has lived in NE Kansas, somehow, record book bucks have always eluded him despite a few close but no cigar calls.
Until this morning, that is.
Hunting on one of the best farms he has permission to hunt, Casey dutifully climbed into a treestand in a prime-time area that he had not yet been able to hunt this fall.
While the chilly morning was initially quiet, a short rattling sequence during the first hour of shooting light suddenly changed all of that.
That’s because a burly 12-point buck came bristling in, looking for the two intruding bucks supposedly picking a fight on the buck’s well-earned Sunflower State turf.
What that buck found instead was a well placed arrow from Casey’s bow. That lethal 20-yard shot was dead on in the boiler room and the big whitetail died in mere seconds less than 50 yards from Ingold’s stand.
“Burkhead, I FINALLY did it!,” my pal exclaimed when I answered the phone this morning. “I finally shot a big Kansas buck with my bow!”
Indeed he had – on Halloween Day no less – and the first of many more to come I’m sure.
But my Kansas pal wasn’t the only person fortunate enough to tag a great October 31st monster buck.
Not too many miles west of my Lone Star State home, deer slayer Aron Stepich downed this magnificent North Texas buck on Halloween with his own well placed shot.
The e-mail sent to me this evening said that Stepich’s Halloween freak nasty of a whitetail had been initially taped out with a “…rough score (of) 202 gross (and) 195 net.”
To be honest, it looks to me like the buck’s super-sized headbones could even be bigger than that!
While I don’t know many of the details concerning the kill of this magnificent Red River Valley bruiser, I do know that if that 195-inch net score proves to be accurate and it stays true throughout the official 60-day drying period, then Stepich will have achieved one of the rarest of all accomplishments in the past-time of deer hunting.
And that is the tagging of a bona fide Boone & Crockett Club monster buck on Halloween Day!
Now that’s a trick that every deer hunter I know – especially yours truly – would love to be able to play on a freak nasty whitetail someday.
Especially with the spooktacular date of October 31st punched out on the tag!