Chad Christie is an experienced hunter.
He’s shot more than a dozen deer in his life.
But about a month ago, the rural Baldwin City man saw the one that would make him the talk of area hunting circles. He was headed to pick up his son for an outing when Christie spotted the buck from U.S. Highway 56.
Change of plans.
He turned around and headed out on his family’s land south of the highway and west of Baldwin City.
He tried to sneak up on the buck, who had a doe with him.
“He saw me and busted me,” Christie said.
So, he quickly aimed his Remington rifle.
“I just had to take a shot, and it was 306 yards,” Christie said.
He found no blood, and after a long search, Christie couldn’t spot the body. After hours of searching and what he called a long night, he figured his chance at a major score ended with a narrow miss.
The next day, Christie attended his daughter’s basketball game, but his brother called him, urging him to come home right away.
He’d found the buck.
“I couldn’t believe it. It looked like a moose. He was big,” Christie said.
The white-tailed deer had a 20-point and nontypical antler rack. Nontypical means some of his points are headed toward the ground.
Christie has to wait two months before the deer can receive an official score, which is a total measurement of the rack. Christie says it’s been estimated the rack will score at 241 total inches, which would place it as seventh in the rankings the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks keeps for nontypical white-tailed deer that were shot with a firearm.
The highest was a buck shot in Shawnee County — just more than 280 inches — by Joseph Waters of Topeka in 1987.
A photo of Christie holding the antlers has already made its way around Kansas hunting circles.
“That’s a heck of a nice deer,” said Lloyd Fox, the big game program coordinator for the KDWP.
Fox, whose office is in Emporia, said from the reports he has heard, it has been “an outstanding year” for deer hunters in Kansas. He expects about 100,000 individual hunters to participate in hunts, and the traditional 75,000 deer will be harvested.
As far as the rankings for the largest bucks in the state, Fox says it’s meant to celebrate the size of the animal.
“It is the hunter honoring the deer,” Fox said.
Christie has tried to keep a low profile. The environmental technician for ICL Performance Products LP in Lawrence tried to only send a few pictures out to close friends via e-mail, but through the Internet, their spread exploded.
“I’ve never had so many phone calls in my life,” Christie said.
For now, he’s just waiting for the rack to dry so it can be officially scored. Rumors are flying that he’s been offered thousands of dollars for the animal, but Christie said no one had made him an offer as of last week.
For now, he plans to mount the antlers on the wall as a reminder.
“I was just in the right place at the right time and actually got him,” Christie said.