October 11, 2021
Breaking News Bucks 2021
In November of 2020, Bailey Pattin received a trail camera photo of a large buck. It was just a single photo, and Bailey had already filled his Kansas tag for the year. But he knew the deer would be a giant if it made it through the hunting season.
“When I saw that picture, I knew he could be something special,” Bailey says.
Bailey and his family have permission to hunt and do some whitetail habitat work on a property belonging to a family friend. Although they don’t own the land, Bailey and his family have a cabin there, and they’ve worked hard over the last five years to improve it for whitetail hunting.
After the family finished this summer’s habitat work, Bailey hung some trail cameras on the property in July. The first deer to show up on camera was the buck from last November, and he was even bigger than before.
“I really wanted to zero in on his area this year,” Bailey says. “He was the first deer to show up on camera, it was unbelievable. I had my heart set on him.”
The buck spent a lot of his time on the property Bailey hunts, and Bailey had consistent daylight and nighttime trail camera images of the buck all summer. As season neared, Bailey started to develop a plan to hunt the deer.
“He was in a spot that was really tough to get into with a south wind,” says Bailey. “So, even after season started, we sometimes would just have to watch him on the trail camera during daylight because the conditions were wrong.”
On Sept. 20, the conditions were finally right for Bailey to go in and hunt his target buck. His younger brother, Brock, joined Bailey in his chase for the deer. Unfortunately, he saw the deer but never had a shot opportunity.
“He was the only deer that came in that night,” Bailey remembers. “He came into 34 yards while facing straight at me. I didn’t want to take a tough quartering-to shot.”
After that evening, Bailey planned on just hunting the edges of the buck’s area. He wanted to avoid going too far into the buck’s zone and educating him.
On Friday Oct. 1, Bailey and Brock decided to head to the property and spend the weekend chasing the buck. That evening, they had a trail camera picture of the buck working a scrape. Knowing they wouldn’t be able to hunt the buck in the morning without spooking him, the pair decided to make their move Saturday afternoon.
“We had him on camera in the daylight on Saturday morning, too,” says Bailey. “It sucked sitting in the cabin and knowing he was out there, but we also knew not to educate him.”
Bailey and Brock arrived at their stand at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. The air was cooling that evening, and the brothers saw about 15 deer, a combination of does and young bucks. At 7:20 p.m., Bailey had a feeling they’d soon be seeing the buck.
“We locked in on the area where we thought he would come from,” Bailey says. “Then we heard a twig snap right behind us. We never said anything, but Brock looked at me and his eyes were so wide.”
The buck had sneaked in behind the brothers as they anticipated he’d come from another area. Regardless, Bailey grabbed his bow and waited for the buck to clear some brush and present a shot.
“After he cleared the brush, I settled my pin on him and he was at six yards,” says Bailey. “It hit him hard, and I knew it was a good hit.”
Bailey decided to back out and wait to track the buck until the next morning. That night, the boys’ parents drove to the cabin. They left the cabin at sunrise, and the whole family recovered the buck after a short tracking job.
Bailey and several other guys rough scored the deer right at 200 inches gross.
“I’m unbelievably blessed to have this opportunity,” Bailey says. “Especially because my brother was with me and my whole family was around for the recovery. That was the best part.”