Al Ward: Plenty of big bucks bagged in northeast Kansas

On opening weekend of firearm season, Virginia Schmelzle was hunting in Nemaha County and was sitting against a tree when four does came out into the opening. She hit one in the spine that did not take a step before falling to the ground.

 

The next weekend, Virginia went back to the farm and sat in a chair along a cut bean field. Again, four does came out to feed. She put the crosshairs on the largest doe and hit her target. The doe ran into the woods and it started to get dark. Virginia’s husband, Jim, and her brother, Martin Channel, came to help look for the doe. The men were looking for a blood trail when Virginia spotted the doe about 20 yards away. Both Jim and Martin were shut out this season — good job, Virginia.

Jeremy Spencer and his buddy, Taylor Woodard, hunt deer in the Dorrance area. They wanted to get set up before it got light, so they set their alarm for 4:30 a.m. However, it was raining cats and dogs and the wind was blowing 50-plus miles an hour. They went back to bed and made it to the deer stand about 9:30 a.m. With the rut in full swing, they were not too worried about a late start.

Jeremy hadn’t been in the stand too long when he saw small bucks chasing does and going wild. Nothing of any size came by his stand. The action slowed down but Jeremy kept rattling, grunting and trying to entice a nice buck to come his way.

At about 1:30 p.m., he saw the top of a buck’s rack going along the creek. He got ready. The only way the deer could cross the creek was about 60 yards from his stand.

It seemed like it took forever before the buck was coming through the timber. Jeremy looked at him with his binoculars and realized he was a big, mature deer. When he got closer, Jeremy realized it was the biggest deer he ever had in front of his stand.

At 23 yards, Jeremy did a soft grunt to stop him. He let his arrow fly and made a perfect shot.

Jeremy called his father, Ray, and the landowner, Sonny Kaufman, to help track the buck. They waited an hour and started on the blood trail and tracked him to the creek where he piled up.

Jeremy, Taylor, Ray and Sonny celebrated the great buck. It had 11 points and measured 169 inches.

Taylor had a hard shot at a buck but missed. Ray shot a nine-point buck on the hunt.

Cole Emerson and his grandmother, Crystal Kennedy, have deer hunted together in the Berryton area for several years. Cole, 19, plays baseball at Washburn, but he still finds time to hunt. He was sitting back in the weeds when a nice 10-point buck came out of the woods and was running right at Cole and his grandmother. The buck saw movement when Cole raised his rifle and turned and started running away. Cole made his shot and dropped his deer.

The next day, Grandma Crystal and Cole were hunting on his Uncle Tim Emerson’s farm north of Lawrence and she shot a doe. Those two are making many wonderful memories together.

Jason and Megan (Williams) Ketterl’s twin sons, Braeden and Landen, both shot a deer on the Ketterl family farm in Decatur County this fall. The twins are grandsons of Kent and Marcia Williams and great-grandsons of Bethel Williams, of Topeka.

Bow hunting isn’t someone just picking up a bow and arrow and hitting the target. To make a clean and accurate shot on an animal takes practice. The twins, 12, practice four or five times weekly and they shoot in competitions. It gives them confidence and the ability to make accurate shots. They also belong to a 4-H Shooting Sports Archery Club.

Braeden shot his spring turkey this year at 35 yards. Both boys have taken turkeys and deer with shotguns and rifles.

Living on the farm, they can watch the movement of the deer and they know the area where the trails are. You just need to be there when they either move from food to bedding or the opposite.

The twins both shoot Bear Apprentice III with 2x scope lens and 26-inch stabilizers out front.

By either sitting or stalking their bucks, Landen shot a 3-by-4 mule deer and Braeden’s was a 4-by-4 mule deer. Both were taken in a wheat stubble field at 50 yards. Great shooting boys!

The boys help dad break down the meat and the family enjoys wild game. Megan says, ”You shoot it and I will cook it.”

The boys have a younger sister, Quinn, 7, and she has gone on many turkey hunts, too. She turns 8 after Christmas, and can hardly wait to hunt turkeys like her big brothers.

Jason says they hunt for meat, not for trophy deer or 12-inch bearded turkeys. They are thankful for what Mother Nature provides for them.

The Ketterl children have an uncle that shot a monster deer this fall, and I hope to get in touch with him to hear about his trophy buck.

Good luck turkey hunting next spring, and I hope Quinn gets one, too.

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