Another Legend Has Fallen

Posted by Scott Mensing | Posted in | Posted on Tuesday, December 28, 2010

During the summer of 2008, Bo first stepped onto our Kansas property and immediately began running trail cameras, only to get thousands of pictures of numerous quality bucks.  One of the first, and most visible, was a heavy nine point with kickers and long tines.  After the first dozen or so pictures, his main identifiable trait was his crab claw G4.  Based on body size compared to other deer on the property, Bo knew this buck was only a 3 1/2 year old and decided that this buck would get the pass.....hoping that he would continue to call this property home and grow into a true Kansas giant.  And so the story of the Crab Claw 9 begins.

My first trip down to the property was in the spring of 2009 to help Bo shed hunt the thick draws and seven-foot tall CRP.  I love shed hunting, but when we stepped onto this property, I thought we would never be able to find an antler hiding in the tall grass.  Not long into the search, I spotted what looked to be a brow tine laying in a thick clup of grass next to a creek crossing.  As I approached the shed, I realized this was the biggest side I'd found and when I raised it up, Bo knew exactly who it was - the Crab Claw 9. 

We searched and searched for the match, but fortunately on Bo's next trip down to the farm with another friend, the match was found 150 - 200 yards away.

With CC9's 3 1/2 year old set on display during the summer of 2009, we could only imagine how much additional growth he would put on during that year.  Again, we ran half a dozen cameras on this small property, only to find out that once again, CC9 was running with his best summer friend, Potato Digger.  These two bucks were ALWAYS together.  Every single time we would get a picture of one, the other was right behind.  But that would all change come mid-September when PD would push CC9 onto neighboring properties.  But every now and then CC9 would show up on camera to prove that he was still alive.

During the fall of 2009, we never had an encounter with CC9 while on stand and we did not find either of his sheds the following spring.  We were beginning to think that maybe CC9 had met his match and not made it through the season.  But that changed when we began talking with our neighbor Craig.  We found out that PD had pushed CC9 over to his farm and CC9 was still a regular on his farm and growing strong.  Craig ended up finding both sides to CC9 on his farm that year.

Since we had not seen CC9 on our property in nearly eight months, we were pumped to see him running with Potato Digger again this past summer.  Not only was PD still displaying his domanance, but CC9 had put on A LOT in the past year.  This buck was now pushing 180 inches and had a six inch drop tine, which he broke just as he came out of velvet.  He had indeed grown into a Kansas giant! 

Just as in years past, once mid-September came, CC9 moved due to PD's dominance.  However, this fall CC9 moved north....way north.  This buck actually moved over a mile north of this typical core area.  We were not sure if this was due to a hot doe that led him north or just the dominant nature of other bucks in the area.  Either way, after mid-October, we had not seen any evidence of CC9 on our property.

As we hunted through the November rut and the December gun season, we still had no evidence that CC9 was still alive.  That was until the night of December 9th when Bo's father spotted CC9 standing in the driveway of our property as they were passing by.  In an instant, the ghost had returned!  After this encoutner, CC9 showed up on camera just like his old self.  Since Bo had harvest Potato Digger earlier in the season, CC9 did not have that dominant presence to compete with anymore.

And on the evening of Christmas Eve, CC9 made one of his few and far mistakes.  Our neighbor Craig was sitting in the NE corner of his property with bow in hand and at 4:00 PM, CC9 stepped out of the cedars.  After a little cat and mouse and nearly winding Craig, CC9 walked right under his stand and presented the perfect quartering away shot at 20 yards.  The arrow flew true and the final chapter on a great story was finally written.

It will be odd shed hunting and running cameras in 2011 knowing that we will not have any more encounters with CC9 or Potato Digger.  These two bucks were legendary to the property but now hopefully a few new Kansas giants will fill their voids and give us a new challenge for the 2011 season.

We Need Your Vote!!!

Posted by Bo Parker | Posted in | Posted on Friday, December 10, 2010

Hey guys and gals,

As many of you know Scott and I started filming our hunts for an outdoor program this year. It is called Midwest Whitetail and all of our episodes can be viewed online at I encourage all of you to watch the show because it can be really entertaining and informative. The best thing about it is that almost all of the prostaff are hardworking weekend warriors. We all have jobs and none of us are paid to be on the show. We just do it because we love it and, for the most part, we're out hunting private farms and not with outfitters. Serious deer hunters will enjoy it because we often have a lot of history with the deer we are hunting (see my hunt for a buck called "Potato Digger" here ).

In the past, the show was always online in a "semi-live" format. Generally, hunts would air on the show within a week of the actual hunt occuring. There is nowhere else where you can see that type of turnaround time. It's pretty remarkable what our producers are able to accomplish in a very short period of time.

Recently, Midwest Whitetail began airing on the Sportsmans Channel. The Sportsmans Channel is available through many satellite and cable television providers and is dedicated to only outdoor programming. Each year, the Sportsmans Channel has fan voting and awards are given out. Midwest Whitetail was nominated for best new series. It's important to show sponsors that we're a popular show so that we can continue to be on TV. Regardless, we will continue to be online too. Please take a minute and vote for us as the "Best New Series" by clicking on this link . It requires that you vote in other categories too, but you can simply vote "No Choice" if you don't have a favorite.

Thanks, y'all!

A November to Never Remember

Posted by Scott Mensing | Posted in | Posted on Monday, December 06, 2010

I never thought we would say that we are glad November is over and December is here, but we sure are this year. During the past five weeks, we have experienced some of the worst "rut" hunting and movement that we have ever seen. There are many theories out there, but Bo and I have noticed three primary "irregularities" this year.

The first was the extremely early crop harvest and massive acorn crop. The corn harvest started in early to mid September and was for the most part complete by the end of October. The soybean harvest fell right in line with the corn as well. The acorn crop was one of the best in recent memory. However even with the mast crop slowing down and the fresh harvested fields, we still did not see much chasing in the open fields and one would believe that open fields only allow you to see more activity and movement. Most of the fields that we were hunting were not tilled under either and had relatively significant spillage. But with the large expanses of available grain spillage and the remaining mast crop, did this spread the herd out a little more and cause the does to be a little less congregated?

The second variable this year was the rutting moon occured in late November. Two full moons occurred during the prime time this around the 25th of October and another around the 22nd of November. Many people are saying that this years rut was simply a drawn out, extended version. We had does coming into estrus from the first couple days of November through this past week. We noticed very little crusing and very little mid day activity. We did have one good morning where we had a hot doe being pursued by two shooters (which never came into range unfortunately). But it seemed that if you had a hot doe in the area, you'd see mature bucks, but if you did not have a hot doe in the area, you would see very little movement.

The last oddity that we've noticed this year is the large number of fawns still still tagging along with their moms. We are getting dozens of pictures of does with single fawns and twins right by her side. Many of these fawns are still extremely undersized for this time of year. Last year we had a very strong second rut, did that produce more fawns to be born later in the spring, hence causing there to be less does coming into estrus during early to mid November?

Many questions have come up during the last five weeks of hunting, but cold weather is finally here. As we've come to the last month of the 2010 season, we have many unfilled buck tags that need to be attached to some bone. We will be targetting food plots and cut corn and bean fields as the temps continue to drop.

First Pull is BACK!!

Posted by Scott Mensing | Posted in | Posted on Thursday, December 02, 2010

You may remember back to June when we posted up our first velvet trail cam pic of First Pull.  He was the very first deer we got on trail camera this year.  After that first picture, we got numerous velvet pictures of him up until mid July and then he seemed to turn into a ghost - something that those elusive mature bucks do year after year.  Due to standing crops we decided to back off of the property during the latter part of the summer, just to let things settle down, knowing that we'd be hitting the property hard once the harvest began. 

As the crops started to come out, we increased our hunting pressure on the property, but just could not find First Pull again.  Had he all ready been harvested, had he moved to another area on the property, was he even living on the property were all questions we started to ask our selves.  We had been running a couple different cameras on different part of the property and on active scrapes and just could not find this buck.  However, with one card pull in early November, First Pull finally showed up.

It was very reassuring knowing that FP is still running the property.  But since these latest pictures, FP has actually been spotted in an open field during daylight and multiple large rubs have been found in the area he was seen entering the field. 

Last year this buck was seen a couple of times during late season and we hope that he will be letting his guard down some this season as well!