Two Trick-or-Treat Freak Nasties!

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.

001 CaseyIngoldHalloween2009

Is there a better day than Halloween to arrow your first Pope & Young bow buck? Kansas resident Casey Ingold doesn't think so.

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. 

001 AronStepichHalloween2009

October 31st provided a sweet North Texas' big buck treat to hunter Aron Stepich.

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!


About hunting365

Lynn Burkhead is a blessed man who digs being alive to know, live for, and worship the Creator; being married to his babe, Charissa; and being "Dad" to Katie, Zach, and Will. Professionally, he is a nationally recognized outdoor writer who served as an associate editor, senior writer, and blog columnist for the Web site for much of this decade. Burkhead has also been a deer hunting columnist and fishing fundamentals columnist for Texas Fish & Game magazine as well as serving as a hunting columnist for Southern Sporting Journal magazine. Finally, he has been a busy freelance writer and photographer for more than a decade with hundreds of byline credits appearing in such places as, Bowhunt America, Bowhunter, Buckmasters, Field & Stream,, Great Plains Game & Fish, Louisiana Game & Fish, Lone Star Outdoor News, North American Whitetail, Oklahoma Game & Fish, Outdoor Life,, Rocky Mountain Game & Fish, Texas Sporting Journal, and Texas Sportsman. When time permits, you'll typically find him outside with a bow, a shotgun, a fly rod, or a Nikon camera in his hand. View all posts by hunting365

6 responses to “Two Trick-or-Treat Freak Nasties!

  • Shawn Silman

    I was forwarded this link from someone at who was discussing the big North Texas buck that was killed. However, to my surprise when I open the page I see a familiar face in the write up of the Kansas 12 pointer.

    I grew up about 15 miles from where Casey lived and we had several mutual friends. Also, his Dad was one of my biology professors while at East Texas State University.

    Congrats to Casey!

  • Rob Jordan

    Wow, those are two great deer! Can’t wait to hear the full story on the North Texas buck. I’m wondering just how far west you are talking about . . .

  • Shawn Silman

    Those are two amazing deer! I was given this link through to check out the North Texas buck. However, to my surprise I saw a familiar face in the first picture.

    I know Casey through a mutual friend we had at East Texas State University. Also, his father was one of my biology professors when I was in college there. It is such a small world.

    I am glad to read that he is doing well and still hunting hard. When you talk to him, please tell him I said hello!

  • hunting365

    Shawn, thanks for getting in touch with me. I will pass along your e-mail to Casey and I posted it below.

    Thanks for reading – check back often!


    My name is Shawn Silman and I grew up in Cooper, but now live in Humble, TX. I was given a link to your blog from someone at to check out the big North Texas buck that was killed. However, to my surprise I saw a familiar face in the first picture. Casey and I met in the early 90’s through a mutual friend (Jay Sadler) at East Texas State University. Also, Casey’s father was one of my biology professors while I was in college there.

    I am glad to read that Casey is doing well and still hunting as hard as ever. When you get a chance, please tell him that I said hello and congratulations on getting that big Kansas brute.

    I tried to post a comment similar to this to your blog, but it did not appear when I submitted it.

    It is such a small world!



  • Pam

    The north texas buck was scored officially for the Texas bug Game Awards at 192 net non-typical. It was taken in Cooke County.

  • Pam Bartush

    The Stepich buck was taken in Cooke County just North of Muenster on the Red River. It officially scores 192 3/8 net according to an official Texas Big Game Awards scorer.

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