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Kansas Bowhunter Completes 3-Year Quest with a 215-inch Non-Typical Buck

After a three-year chess match, Clint Barnes was finally able to put down this Kansas giant.

Kansas Bowhunter Completes 3-Year Quest with a 215-inch Non-Typical Buck

Clint Barnes made the cover of N.A.W. back in 2006, but just one big buck feature wasn't good enough! (Photo courtesy of Marcus Dryak)

Breaking News Bucks 2021

The tale of Forky began in 2019. That summer I went to talk to a local farmer to inquire what properties he might have available for bowhunting. The meeting went well, and I was granted permission to hunt two of his properties. Soon after, I went to scout and I hang cameras on the field edges.

A few weeks later I checked my cameras and was shocked at the size of the buck that I had a few pictures of. The buck I was looking at had one of the largest 4x4 frames that I'd ever seen. He was easily recognizable by his split G2 and his split brow tine.

I shared the pictures with my good friend Marcus Dryak and he named the buck Forky, due to the “forked” G2 and “forked” G1. I liked the name so it stuck. But what we didn't know was that the name truly would fit his future character. And although the whitetail was big, we estimated him to be 3.5-4.5 years old with a 160” 4x4 frame.

In 2019, I hunted Forky a few times, but I didn’t concentrate on him wholly. I believed he had tremendous potential and I wanted to see that through.

Kansas Bowhunter Completes 3-Year Quest with a 215-inch Non-Typical Buck
Forky was on the move, but Clint was hot on his trail. (Photo courtesy of Clint Barnes)

So, in the spring of 2020, I put in a clover and chicory plot where I witnessed him working his scrapes. During the summer of 2020, I had several pictures of him in the food plot. Derek and I estimated he was now over 200"! Needless to say, I was in eager anticipation for the hunting season to begin. Unfortunately, work called in October and I was out of state from September to January.

After that season, I added more small food plots in the field corners. I had a few pictures of him that summer, but the pictures were a month or two apart. With the limited sightings, I was worried he had moved his home range.

I began knocking on doors to seek permission to hunt the nearby properties. In early October, I received permission to hunt a neighboring property, so I hung a few stands and put some additional trail cameras. On October 17, I got the first picture of Forky on the new property, so I had a gut feeling that I would get a shot when the rut kicked up.

On October 25, 2021, a front was coming through Miami County, Kansas, and temperatures were expected to drop with the unusual East wind. My stand was hung for an East wind, so I grabbed my bow and hit the woods. I snuck into the stand without making any noise and was settled in by 4:30.

At 5:20, I heard something coming from behind me. I turned and saw a coyote. The coyote stood at 10 yards, then moved back to 20. I had been getting several pictures of coyotes on the property and I knew there were several that needed to be killed if possible. I grabbed my bow and was going to pull back when I noticed that the coyote looked back behind him. That's when I heard something else coming. Since the coyotes on that property usually travel in pairs, I figured it was his buddy, so I turned to shift my focus to the second coyote for a shot. But when I turned, I couldn’t believe what I saw.

It was Forky! He was only 15 yards away and closing in on my stand. I pushed the button on my Tactacam recorder, shifted my feet, drew my bow, and shot Forky at 5 yards from my tree all in one motion!

I really didn’t even have time to get the shakes or “buck fever”. The arrow flew true to where I was aiming so I was confident of the shot. I sat down to collect my thoughts and that is when the shakes started to take over! I waited 30 minutes to get ahold of my nerves before climbing down.

I have watched my friend Marcus Dryak, an official P&Y/B&C scorer, pull tapes on several bucks, so I have some idea of what I’m doing; but my numbers are not an official green score. From what I can tell, the buck measures a 215” gross. His 4x4 frame pushes 180” and his G1’s are 8.5"/9”, G2’s are 14.5"/15”, G3’s are 14"/14.5”, and his beams are close to 26”!

I have to say thanks to my family for allowing me the time to do what I love. Without such an understanding family, my dream of harvesting Forky would never have become a reality.

Kansas Bowhunter Completes 3-Year Quest with a 215-inch Non-Typical Buck
Clint was humbled by the opportunity to get so close to this buck. 5 yards is about as close as you can get! (Photo courtesy of Marcus Dryak)

Be sure to subscribe to our magazine today, as Clint Barnes' full feature story will be running in 2022. 

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