June 11, 2022
To find success on any hunt takes dedication. There are no participation trophies for hunters. You either put in the work and stick it out, or you go without. It’s plain and simple. That’s the way it should be. The story of Jason Brin’s giant buck from Ellis County, Kansas, taken in fall 2020, is one in which the deer was definitely earned.
Jason and his son, Brandon, began scouting in mid-summer trying to locate big bucks in their area. Going into September 2020, Jason’s then 16-year-old son found a huge buck, but the deer was nearly a mile away from any ground they own or lease. The buck sported an extra-large typical rack with tall tines and a really big frame.
The pair moved a feeder to a part of their property that was closest to where the deer was staying, which was still nearly a mile away. However, the buck found the feeder and began visiting it just about every night. Trail camera photos proved the buck remained nocturnal. Shortly before opening day of the September youth hunting season opener though, the milo field nearby ripened. Thus, the Brin men knew all too well that the buck would likely abandon the feeder for the ripe milo crop. And the buck did.
Milo is a huge, huge deal around where the Brins hunt. Once it ripens, you can count on the deer being in there. “It is a really big draw for them,” Jason notes. “The giant buck was spending about 90 percent of his time in that field.”
The big typical had pretty much abandoned the feeder at that point. Armed with that information, Jason set up a stand along a fence line running near the field — hoping it was the right spot for Brandon to ambush the buck. The deer was still nocturnal though, as Jason had no daylight pictures of him.
Opening morning found Brandon situated in the stand near the milo field, just hoping for a glimpse of the buck during legal shooting light. Brandon never saw the buck. And to add insult to injury, a photo from the trail camera at the feeder revealed that the buck was there 30 minutes after legal shooting light began, only 80 yards from their blind! Kids can use rifles during the youth season in Kansas, so it would have been an ideal shot.
Through the rest of the youth season, Brandon toggled back and forth each day whether to hunt the milo or the area near the feeder. One evening, while Brandon was hunting by the feeder, a big-bodied deer came in just minutes after legal shooting light had ended. A check of the trail camera’s photos that night proved it was the big typical.
The youth season wrapped up, which then rang in the regular muzzleloader and archery seasons. The muzzleloader season runs for two weeks, while archery season runs for months.
The two-week muzzleloader season came and went without so much as a sighting of the buck. However, while Jason and Brandon were hunting the massive typical, there was a big success for another family member. Jason’s brother, Jeff, came down from Kansas City to help them hunt the deer, hoping that one of them would get an opportunity at him.
While none of the three of them even saw the big typical, Jason and his brother spotted another buck one evening in the milo field. And it was a big one, too. They’d never seen this buck before, on camera or in person.
The wind was right, so the men put a stalk on the buck that ended with Jeff tagging the 170-inch bruiser. The impressive whitetail had an awesome rack with double drop tines! What’s more, Jeff sealed the deal with just 30 minutes of shooting light left on the last day of muzzleloader season.
Making a Move
After Jeff tagged out, it was time for Jason and Brandon to focus again on the buck they were originally after. They had a couple of months to bowhunt the buck before the rifle season opened in December.
Jason knew the deer was traveling and staying between the milo field and the feeder, so his plan of attack was to sit at those two spots every chance he could in the hopes of catching the deer slipping up, just once, during daylight hours. If it wasn’t raining, Jason and Brandon were sitting in stands waiting for the buck to show. In total, they spent about 70 days hunting the buck.
After all those days hunting the elusive buck, Jason never saw the buck. But Brandon spotted the buck once. On the one occasion that Brandon laid eyes on the deer, it was on the move at 30 yards, walking with intent. Brandon grunted at the buck three times to try and stop him. But the buck ignored the grunts, and Brandon didn’t shoot. When the buck did eventually stop, he was too far away for Brandon to shoot.
“The area that we either own or lease encompasses about 3,300 acres, but once mid-November hit, the buck moved about a mile and a half into a river system that was just packed with does,” recalls Jason.
The river system was on land the Brin family owns. They were glassing the buck every morning and evening and felt like they had him pegged. They watched him routinely move during daylight hours. The only catch: There was really no way to bowhunt him there. “About the only thing you can try to do there is just sit in the river bottom and hope he happens to come by,” Jason admits. So that’s what they did. There were two weeks left until rifle season, and the Brin men wanted to get the buck on the ground before then, if possible.
Again, they sat every morning and every evening. They had the big typical within 80 yards on multiple occasions, but never close enough. The big bruiser was either always with a doe, or always fighting with another buck. “We were really concerned that, with all of the fighting he was doing, he would break off some of his tines,” Jason explains. “We had already decided that if he broke more than one repairable tine that we were not going to shoot him.”
There was another thing. Well, it was another hunter. Despite all the land that the Brin family has access to, there is a small 20-acre patch of land next to theirs that is owned and hunted by someone else. Jason knows the other hunter pretty well — well enough to know that the other hunter also knew of the buck. Plus, Jason knew the other hunter had some trail camera photos of the giant buck. Bow season ended and rifle season opened. It was a school day, but Jason let Brandon hunt the opening morning of rifle season in hopes his son would kill the buck. Unfortunately, though, Brandon never saw the deer.
Brandon had to be at school by noon. He plays sports, and in order to be able to practice and play, you must attend at least a half-day of school. That evening, Jason would have to man the same spot that Brandon had sat in the morning. It was a nice little stand of evergreens on a hillside.
As luck would have it, the buck showed up, standing in the open with five or six does. It was the 98th day of hunting the deer for the father/ son team. Jason laid on his stomach and nestled his rifle on his duffle bag. Jason admits to being a “Walmart ammo shooter,” but for this deer, he had previously purchased high-quality ammo and practiced with it. He wanted every advantage he could get if given an opportunity at the big buck.
The deer was 370 yards away and downhill. A few seconds and one well-placed shot later, the buck that Jason and Brandon had spent months hunting, months preparing for, months strategizing against and months dreaming about . . . was on the ground.
Jason would have preferred that Brandon killed the buck, but they have played that game before. In the past, passing on bucks in hopes of another family member or friend getting a shot only led to everyone missing out. But when Jason shot the buck, Brandon couldn’t have been happier for his dad.
Jason’s outstanding whitetail has a gross typical score of 196 7/8. The buck’s awesome rack will end up netting 178 inches. The buck was originally recorded as netting 170 7/8, but after a panel of Boone & Crockett measurers examined the rack, it was decided that the length of one of the tines had been miscalculated and a legal tine had been called a kicker.
Regardless of score, Jason’s Kansas typical is truly a sight to behold. If the rack’s towering rows of ribcage-like tines doesn’t grab plenty of attention, the bone white antler color certainly does. There’s no doubt this trophy buck was a fitting reward for this hard- hunting father and son duo.