Todd Gast watched family members and friends shoot huge deer through the years, and wondered if his day would ever come.
Well, it did.
Bow hunting Monday on his wife’s family land in Kansas, he shot a 15-point buck with a rack that he estimates will score 175 to 190 inches.
And to make it even more memorable, he shot the buck with a bow that was destined for retirement after this season.
“I was going to shoot one more deer with that bow and then retire it and get a new one,” said Gast, who lives in Higginsville, Mo. “I bought it in 1993 and I was ready for a new one.
“Well, this was a good way for that bow to go out. Now I plan to hang it on the wall, right next to the mount of this buck.”
Gast knew that he was hunting in prime deer country. He was on private land northeast of Manhattan, a farm where his in-laws had taken big ones in the past. But success always seemed to elude Gast.
“I had many times when I’d drive back and say to myself, ‘What am I doing wrong?’” he said.
But on Monday, he did everything right. He watched as the big buck appeared and moved toward him. When it reached a fence, it paused and then started to wander off. That’s when Gast blew into his grunt call to imitate the sound of another deer.
The buck jumped over the fence and walked toward the sound. Gast shot it when it moved to within 12 to 15 yards.
“I always take the week after Thanksgiving off so I can bow-hunt the last few days before the rifle season,” Gast said. “I’ve passed on quite a few bucks over the last two years, waiting for a big one to come in. It finally happened.”
The Missouri deer hunter’s calendar
Missouri hunters still have time to shoot a deer.
The firearms antlerless season continues through Sunday. Then the alternative-methods season, which includes muzzleloaders, runs Dec. 20-30. The final segment of the firearms season will be the youth hunt Jan. 3-4.
The bow season also is open and will run through Jan. 15.
Kansas upland-game hunting success
This won’t be a record season for Kansas pheasant and quail hunters.
But after last year, even the moderate success hunters are finding is cause for celebration.
Hunters are finding more birds than they did the last couple years,” said Jeff Prendergast, a small-game specialist for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. “It hasn’t been fantastic, but hunters are telling us at least there are enough birds to keep them interested.”
The best hunting for pheasants has taken place in the north-central region, as preseason population surveys indicated. The best quail hunting has been in the Flint Hills.
Price of a duck stamp may go up
Duck hunters soon may be paying more for their federal duck stamps.
The Senate on Tuesday passed a measure that would increase the cost of a federal stamp from $15 to $25. The bill will now go to President Obama for approval or veto.
If he signs the act into law, the price increase probably will show up for the 20125-2016 season.
The proceeds of the federal stamp are used for wetlands habitat conservation. This would be the first change in price for the stamp since 1991.
Winter trout fishing clinic
Looking to get started in winter trout fishing? A clinic put on by the Missouri Department of Conservation might be just what you need.
The event, which will be 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Bass Pro Shop in Independence, will cover all the basics. It is designed to help fishermen lure trout at the four lakes in the Kansas City area that the Department of Conservation stocks.
The clinic will cover baits, tackle, techniques and how to prepare the catch for a meal. Participants must register in advance to attend. Call 816-622-0900 to sign up.