I had three spots set up on the south end of a small farm where he habituated. There was a ladder stand on the southwest side, another in the middle along the creek over a food plot and a pop-up blind on the east side where there were no suitable trees but a natural alley I called Scrape Alley as it’s where they would make/check scrapes just inside the timber during rut. I would not step foot on any other part of the farm. I wanted to be a fly in his kingdom. I was going to hunt smart, not hard and do so in the right wind and right conditions.
I hunted a couple times in late October and early November but only saw Kong on my trail cameras. I had placed a camera by each one of the spots I set up to gather as much information as I could to pattern him. He liked the camera and tortured me with all the night pictures he was posing for.
As the second week of November was coming and a cold front came in, I felt this could be what gets Kong up in daylight - a love of the ladies and the need to feed. On the evening of November 11, I sprinted from my job as a middle school teacher. I had all my gear laid out and ready. A quick shower later and I was on my way. I chose that night to hunt out of the east ground blind for a couple reasons. One, I was not getting in the woods until 4:15 p.m. (LATE in my eyes) two, it had an easy way in where I didn’t risk bumping anything and its quieter to get in the blind than a stand.
Once I was set up I worried the conditions were too perfect and I’d end up not seeing a thing. Thankfully, I was wrong as a couple button bucks came in about thirty minutes into my sit. I was watching them when I noticed a rack appear down the alleyway. He was coming my way. I could tell by the brow tines that this was Kong. Then I saw it. My heart sank and my shoulders slouched in disappointment. He was missing the extra tine over his right eye.
Now I had to ask, “Do I still shoot him?” I texted my wife, “Kong is broke!” “BOOOO,” she replied.
He was now only forty yards away.
“You know, this is the deer I’ve been after and he’s still solid even without the extra tine,” I told myself. It was time to end the Quest of Kong.
I had brought the crossbow I purchased for my wife to use. I rather liked it and since I hadn’t killed anything with a crossbow, I liked to bring it when I would be in a ground blind.
Soon I lowered the aim on Kong and waited for him to step his right leg forward just a bit. I was after the perfect angle but he took off grunting at one of the does that had worked in.
Of course, I’m upset at myself for taking so long to decide I was going to take Kong only to be left with him grunting off. With my head hung, I replayed it in my head, disappointment rising again as I thought about the broken tine. Then somehow Kong decided to head back down the alley and back into my sights.
This time I didn’t waste any time. He came to forty yards, gave me a small window and I took it letting the bolt launch from the crossbow. He dropped dead. The Quest of Kong was over.
The light was fading as I walked up on him, uncharacteristically at a loss for words. I was sad, happy, mad, excited and even confused. I stood over him in a daze before walking back to my truck to call my dad to help me load him.
As I waited for him to arrive, I realized it was one heck of a story and I had been on a great journey trying to get this one Kansas buck. He was not whole, but he was mine. Perfectly Imperfect.
My excitement returned, especially when my dad arrived with my three-year-old son Platt who was beyond ecstatic about his Daddy’s big buck.
After getting a few photos, we loaded up, pulled the three cards and headed home. When I started looking at the cards the story of Kong and the broken tine started to come together. I had a picture of him the day before with the extra tine hanging off his head. The next picture of him only twelve hours later revealed the tine was gone. Should I find the tine, I’ll add it to the mount, but in the meantime, that part of Kong remains somewhere in my woods.
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