After running a story about Buhler High School senior Nathan Fideldy's first buck taken with a bow last week, I've gotten some great reader submissions this week that I just had to share — including one that’s a bit odd.
Keith Colter passed along photos of one of the strangest-looking deer racks I've ever seen, and it's pretty cool.
His 18-year-old son, Aidan, harvested the deer during the opening day of rifle season last Wednesday while hunting in a hay meadow in southwest Shawnee County.
"This deer was still in full velvet and a unique formation to say the least," Keith Colter said in the email. "He had been on the trail cams for 60 days prior to the season. Two different people asked me if the deer actually had testicles. It did, but they were very small in comparison to a normal whitetail. These guys said normally a deer with velvet this time of year are actually does with antlers."
Aidan, a senior at Hayden High School, has been hunting most of his life, though this is his first Kansas whitetail. He mostly has hunted the Missouri youth season up until this season, when he took down the nontypical deer on his own.
"It was the last buck to come in and, you know how those big deer kinda snort and stomp and make their presence known before they come into an open area with other deer, that's what this buck did," Aidan said. "I thought that was pretty unique. Obviously, looking at him, you wouldn't think he's the dominant buck in the area.
"When I first noticed him, I thought, 'No way I'm seeing a nontypical deer, especially a deer like that,' " Aidan said. "I was just tickled pink to harvest a unique deer like that. You just hardly ever see anything like that."
Keith said the deer had a lot of fat on it — about 3 inches on the back side — and had some nice marbling in the meat, meaning the unique deer likely had been eating pretty well.
The rifle season got even better for the family a few days later, however, when Keith shot his own buck in the same field on Saturday, Dec. 5 at less than 100 yards. He said the big buck is conservatively a 12-pointer, though you could likely count a few more.
"It’s a 10 main frame with some junk on it," Keith said. " ... We’re kind of estimating it in the 160s. It was 19 inches inside, and the G2s were, I think, nine inches on it, but I haven’t done a full measurement on it to know exactly how many inches total there’s going to be."
He said he got in blind about 2 p.m. and nothing was moving, and they didn’t start coming out until almost 5 p.m. When the smaller bucks started sparring, the sounds of the fight drew in the big buck.
Keith said they’d seen quite a few deer so far this season — on Wednesday morning, he said, he passed up on eight deer in front of him at one time. But they were waiting for some of the deer on their "list" of bucks they’d seen on the trail cam.
He said Aidan made the right choice from the deer management point of view in taking the deformed deer out of the herd’s gene pool.
"It’s kind of sportsman’s creed, if you will," Keith said.
Plus, it’ll make for an interesting conversation piece, as both father and son planned to mount their deer. Keith is planning a shoulder mount for his big typical deer and Aidan is going to do a plaque mount for his nontypical.
"Both unique and both have a lot of character," Keith said.
The Kansas rifle season ends Sunday, though the archery season continues through Dec. 31.
Judy Reeser, of Lyndon, submitted a photo of her granddaughter's first deer this week, as well.
Thirteen-year-old Allison Reeser, who lives near Melvern, shot the eight-point buck during her a hunt this past Saturday, Dec. 5.
Allison shot the big buck on her family’s property in Osage County.
Larry Moore, of Topeka, also proved that catfishing in December can be just as good as any time of the year.
Moore was drifting for catfish Dec. 1 on Perry Reservoir in Jefferson County in his "10-foot catamaran," using shrimp as bait on his 6-foot crappie pole with 10-pound monofilament line, when he caught a pair of monsters.
First, he hooked into a 29-inch channel catfish -- I think most of us would take that on our best of days on the water.
But then, he put that little crappie pole to the ultimate test, reeling in a 40-inch blue catfish that he predicted to weigh around 40 pounds.
What a catch!