Bob Robb’s in Southwest Kansas – Where is Big Tobey
By Bob Robb
Dec 19, 2009 – 9:04:15 AM
OK, now everyone is finally gone and I have the ranch to myself. I am hunting near Liberal, Kansas with my friend Jeff Louderback of LL Outfitters in the extreme southwest corner of the state. This will be my third consecutive bow season hunting with Jeff. I keep coming back for one simple reason — hunting for 150-plus whitetails is as good here as anyplace I have ever been. Plus Jeff and his family are wonderful people and treat their clients like family.
If you are just tuning in, Jeff’s four rifle hunters all killed bucks, two of them grossing 171 and 167 B&C, a muzzleloader hunter shot one a bit over 140, with the other client shooting the wrong buck after blowing it on a monster opening morning. Once rifle season ended Mike Strandlund, long-time editor of Bowhunting World magazine joined me, and after 4 days arrowed a gorgeous 7 1/2 year old 10-pointer that gross-scored 157 7/8 P&Y points.
Part of my gear work involves wrapping my Bushnell Laser Legend Rangefinder, top, first with moleskin, then hockey tape, to help keep it from clanging should I bump it with my release or smack it against something hard when deer are close.
I had been seeing lots of deer but not the one I wanted. You see, last year during the late season I saw three bucks I thought for sure would gross over 170 (no, I am not smoking dope or making this up!) but never got a shot at any of them. So this year Jeff and I made a deal. I could hunt a couple of weeks if need be if I held out for Big Tobey.
Talk about frustrating! For the past 10 days I had rotated between several great stand sites along the cottonwood riverbottom, playing the wind and staying with the doe groups. Though it is mid-December there are still a few does in estrous, and the bucks keep checking them out as all the deer pound the food with the plunging temperatures. I know that sooner or later it will happen if I keep hunting smart.
How good has the hunting been? My log shows that so far I have had 13 bucks that I thought would easily gross over 140 within bow range. I have seen at least that many cruise past out of bow range. All this time I keep wondering, where else have I ever been where I have seen so many quality bucks on a free-range, no fences deer hunt? Yet Big Tobey remains elusive.
My best stand was set next to a small, isolated food plot along a rub line. Who wouldn’t want to hunt the buck that hammered these trees? This is where I am setting up tomorrow.
As I go to bed, my spirits are high. The Weather Channel says the wind will be light out of the northwest – perfect for my best stand and the mercury is expected to drop to single digits in Liberal in the morning. That means it will be much colder in the bottoms, something that always spikes daytime deer movement. While I have supper I wash all my clothes in scent-free detergent, check my gear closely, and re-pack the daypack. My spider sense is tingling. Will tomorrow be the day?