Now What?!

The end of deer season is always a bittersweet moment for me. I have been fortunate enough to always look back on a successful season and be proud of my endeavors and kills. I have also been able to say the same in regards to our guide service, Hang’Em Outfitters at the end of every season. I become thankful for the enormous amount of time I was able to spend outdoors, basking in the cold morning sunrises, watching wildlife and staring at “picture perfect” Kansas sunsets. Those are things I can’t embrace every day in the off-season. On the other hand, I think about all the time that opens up to have more of a social life with friends and family, see my husband, not cook dinner at 9pm, and sleep in past 4:30am, WHAT!?

Shelby's 2014 "maintenance" buck Shelby's 2014 "maintenance" buck


Looking back on this past season’s hunts has been fun. I hunted harder and put a lot more time in with my bow than I ever have before, logging well over 100 hours hunting. I had an awesome 10-yard encounter with a great buck during peak rut that I snuck up on, but never got a shot. On Thanksgiving morning I was attempting to stalk a 140 class 9-point only to come across a different buck, the biggest whitetail I have ever seen alive. After a drastic change in course he came within 20 yards. Due to thick CRP grass restricting a shot and being upwind of him, he got away. I walked away from that hunt so excited it physically made me sick. That was a funny first. As any bow hunter knows there will always be those bucks that stay just far enough out of range to keep the fire inside you going, and that was my frequent situation this year. The buck I harvested this year wasn’t a buck I will hang on the wall, a deer I’ve been watching, or one I was able to get with my bow. I shot a “maintenance buck” this year. It was the final few minutes of rifle season and just as I was ready to pack up, a wide 8-point walks out of the trees straight to the feeder. I could tell he was an older buck and decided to take the shot. Once my husband and I got to him, and got a good look at him, we figured out he was a buck we were hunting 3 years ago. I think he was about 8-9 years old, and the big guy hardly had a tooth left in his mouth! Taking older bucks out of the population is something I find necessary to practice good herd management. I take just as much pride in a successful maintenance kill as I do in a trophy buck on my wall.

A "picture perfect" Kansas sunset. A "picture perfect" Kansas sunset.


In constant prep for the next season, I will continue to look forward to the sunrises and sunsets, making sure all my gear is up to par and my equipment is on point. Deer... enjoy the peace and quite for now. I’ll be back in September.

To learn more about Hang'Em outfitters, please visit their website at

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