With every November whitetail rut comes stories of big bucks taken by bowhunters.
Rod Biggs has a trophy buck tale to tell. But it begins just two or three weeks earlier ... when the Douglass hunter bought a bowhunting video.
"It played a crucial part in my getting my deer this year," he said. "I didn't know anything before that."
Most hunters dream of his recent buck, a mature 10- pointer with enough length and spread to gross 160 inches of antler.
Hardly the quality of buck taken by an admitted neophyte.
Biggs first tried firearms deer hunting last fall and never saw a deer. When friends told him the deer were more active in the November rut, he figured that's when his odds would be best.
Mid-October, about the time most archers hit the woods, Biggs was just beginning. He would have started sooner, he said, but he needed help.
He turned to Harold Tiede, a PSE dealer/acquaintance in Great Bend, to get rigged with a PSE bow, arrows and all the trimmings.
Learning to shoot wasn't much of a problem.
"Accuracy came real easy," Biggs said. "My first two arrows at 10 yards were touching. We stepped back to 20 yards and they were right there."
The shooting practice he enjoyed, the pre-hunt preparation he consumed in huge amounts after first watching the inexpensive video.
Easy to learn
"It's amazing what you could learn," Biggs said. "It teaches you all about tree stands, where to put your stands, the different kinds of scents, calls, scouting... everything you could think of."
Biggs invested in five more videos and two books. Everything they recommended, he tried afield.
In northwest Kansas most of the week, Biggs decided to concentrate his scouting and hunting on some creek bottom ground owned by a Trego County friend.
As the videos and books had said, he began looking for tracks, rubs and scrapes.
To learn when the deer were moving, Biggs bought three trail cameras. When he realized the shots on the open prairie could be long, Biggs bought a range finder and practiced until he was accurate to 40 yards.
Eventually, he concentrated on a creek crossing between bedding cover and a corn field. With his stand set as instructed, with the proper shooting lanes cleared and mock scrapes set, he climbed into his stand at 3 p.m. when a cold front was pushing through.
It was almost dark, and he was thinking of climbing down, when Biggs spotted movement near the creek. It was a small herd of whitetail does drinking from a spot too thick to risk an arrow.
A few minutes later, the does moved off and Biggs heard the sounds he recognized as a grunting buck. He had seen enough deer on video to know it was a good buck, and what not to do.
"I didn't try to count the points," Biggs said. "The video says don't look at the rack because you'll get nervous. It tells you to focus on the vitals and doing what you have to do to get a good shot."
When the buck started to move off, Biggs went to work with a grunt call and pulled the big whitetail into a shooting lane.
Though he swears he wasn't nervous, Biggs admits to being so rushed he accidentally hit his release trigger, sending the arrow only four feet.
He also dropped his grunt call.
Finally, all was right and Biggs lined up for a shot measured at 40 yards. He heard the arrow strike the buck with a loud crack.
"The video said once you shoot a buck, sit in the stand a few minutes, relax and recuperate," Biggs said. "That's what I did."
Biggs had no problems finding his well-hit buck, though loading it into his truck was far from easy since the whitetail field-dressed weighed nearly 250 pounds.