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Oz-Land's Biggest 7x7 Ever!

Oz-Land's Biggest 7x7 Ever!

After seven years of hunting in the Land of Oz and after taking North America's largest typical buck by bow last season, it's easy to understand why Connecticut hunter Keith Manca insists that "Kansas is the only place I care to go."

Even though both matching G-2s are only 3 inches long, the extraordinary tine length on the rest of Keith's amazingly symmetrical 7x7 rack more than makes up for any deficit. Although aging a buck by its tooth wear can be tricky, Keith's Kansas dream buck was believed to have been only 3 1/2 y ears old!

The tale of the hunt, in Keith Manca's own words: "For the last seven years my brother Anthony and I have traveled from our homes in Danbury, Connecticut, to southern Kansas for an annual whitetail hunt. During this time we've pinpointed some really productive 'honeyholes.' We hunt private land, and we always look forward to the excitement and anticipation that this trip brings each year because it's the one time when we can dedicate ourselves to our passion for chasing monster whitetails. This annual trip also brings us together to share stories about past hunts, sightings of big Kansas megabucks and, in some cases, missed opportunities.

"In 2007 we planned to hunt two different pieces of property. Anthony wanted to hunt a parcel on which he'd had great success the previous two years. I planned to hunt a new parcel of land that we had located near the end of our 2006 season. We didn't have time to actually hunt that new property in '06, but we were able to do some scouting. We found several sizable rubs and scrapes and other good sign in the woods near a CRP field.


"Extending out into the CRP field about 100 yards on that tract were two fingers of small-growth cottonwoods. These trees created a funnel for the deer to use as cover when moving to the woods from the field. I decided to place a tree stand right in the center of this funnel. To me it looked like an ideal location for the 2007 season.


A HOPE AND A PROMISE
"On Nov. 5, 2007, the first day of our hunt, the conditions couldn't have been more perfect. The weather forecast for that week called for clear skies and cold temperatures, and we knew the chase phase of the rut should be in full swing. After taking some practice shots with my Mathews Switchback and Easton arrows, I couldn't get into the woods fast enough. It had been a year since I had set up my stand, and I was excited about sneaking back in to my never-before-hunted 'honeyhole.'

"As I stalked toward my stand, I was amazed to see tree after tree that had been completely shredded. My heart started pounding. I passed rub after rub on trees that had been all but torn out of the ground. The spot that I had picked the year before was smack-dab in the center of a monster buck's living room. It was a honeyhole with a capital 'H.'


"While sitting in my stand, I counted over 20 rubs and multiple scrapes all around me. My stand overlooked the huge CRP field. The CRP was bordered by milo and wheat along each side. Most important to me was the picture-perfect view that I had of the Kansas River and a large bottom. This was a good day to be alive and a great place to hunt whitetails!


VISIONS OF THINGS TO COME
"That afternoon I saw a few does sneaking out of the woods through the cottonwood fingers into the CRP. Thirty minutes later I heard a loud buck grunt in the finger of cottonwoods to my left. It was obvious that a mature buck was chasing one or more does around, but it was too thick to see him. The chase went on for a while before I finally got a glimpse. When I laid my eyes on this whitetail, I was floored. He was a monster. His body was as big as a steer, and his rack easily would measure 150 to 160 inches

"This was the buck of a lifetime for almost any bowhunter. To get his attention, I tried all of the calls in my arsenal, but to no avail. He wanted nothing to do with me. His mind was definitely centered on chasing the does he was with. The sun began to go down, and I never got a chance for a shot. I left my stand with high hopes of taking my largest trophy buck ever in the very near future.

"I've been hunting with a bow since I was 13 years old. I've harvested a multitude of whitetails, some of them reaching P&Y minimums. However, up until the 2007 season, I had never taken a truly great whitetail the likes of which all serious hunters dream about. However, I had long imagined what it would be like to finally have a monster buck appear and walk right in front of my stand. Little did I know that my dream would soon become a reality.

A DAY LIKE NONE OTHER
"On Wednesday morning, Nov. 7, the third day of our hunting trip, I climbed into my stand with a special feeling. I felt like something good was going to happen that day. As I sat in my stand in the dark, I envisioned what my shots would be like if a monster buck came sneaking by me from either the left or the right or straight in off the CRP.

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THE KEITH MANICA BUCK

Scorable points....14(7R,7L)
Tip-to-tip spread.... 4 3/8
Greatest spread..... 17 4/8
Inside Spread..... 15 2/8
Total length of abnormal points: 00 0/8
Areas MeasuredRight

Left

Difference
<main Beam27 1/827 3/82/8
1st point (G-1)5 0/84 4/8 4/8
2nd point (G-2)3 0/82 6/8 2/8
3rd point (G-3)9 1/89 3/82/8
4th point (G-4) 10 7/8 11 1/8 2/8
5th point (G-5)10 3/810 7/84/8
6th point (G-6) 6 5/8 6 4/8 1/8
7th point (G-7) -- -- --
1st circ. (H-1)4 4/84 7/8 3/8
2nd circ. (H-3)9 4/88 7/8 5/8
3rd circ. (H-3)4 7/83 6/8 1 1/8
4th circ. (H-4)> 4 3/8 4 6/8 3/8

Totals

90 0/890 5/82 5/8
Gross typical score.........................195 7/8
Subtract side to side differences........... -2 5/8
Add abnormal points......................... -00 0/8
FINAL NET NON-TYPICAL SCORE..................193 2/8
Taken by: Keith Manca
Date: Nov.7, 2007
Location: Southern Kansas

"As the rising sun started glistening off the frosty CRP grass, I noticed a few does feeding along the far side of the field. Then a small 9-pointer came out from behind me and started feeding near my position. He was a nice young buck with a lot of potential, but not the caliber of buck I was looking for. About an hour later, with no deer in sight, I began glassing the far side of the CRP field.

"After about 20 minutes, I sighted a deer crossing over from the river bottom into the tall CRP grass. I could tell that he was a shooter, but being so far away, I was unable to see his rack very well. Then at a most inopportune time, my binoculars began to fog up and I lost sight of the buck. Frantically, I tried to clear the fog from both lenses. Then I tried to find the buck again. For five tense minutes I scanned that CRP field back and forth -- unsure of where he might be. Finally, I picked up his antlers moving above the tall CRP grass way out on the other side of the field. Not knowing which way he might ultimately go, I sat and watched as patiently as I could.

HERE HE COMES!
"Luck was on my side! At about 500 yards out, he turned from his path and started walking straight toward me. I stared through my binoculars in disbelief as he came closer and closer. During all of this time I was saying to myself, 'Please let this be the one time that my dream of taking a monster buck actually does come true!'

"The buck kept walking directly toward me. He never gave me a chance to get a good look at his rack because he never turned his head to one side or the other. He eventually reached a point in the field where the fingers of cottonwood jutted out into the field and he stopped. At this point, he was about 100 yards away. I watched, hoping he would continue on the same path that would lead right to me. But he seemed unsure of which direction to take. He looked around from the left to the right, turning his head. This gave me a good view of his antlers. Now I could see that this monster had at least 6 long tines on each side!

"I suddenly developed a bad case of buck fever the likes of which I had never experienced before. It seemed as though there was nothing I could do to control my nerves or excitement. Worried about which direction he would take, I decided to let out a short grunt to entice him to head my way. Upon hearing the grunt, he started toward me. I felt like I was pulling him in on a string.

"As he approached, I stood in position to draw with my bow held in front of my face. I was staring at the largest whitetail I had ever seen in the woods, and he was walking straight into his date with destiny. I could actually hear the crunch of the grass beneath his hooves as he tromped closer and closer.

THE MOMENT OF TRUTH
"My heart was pounding like a drum. When the buck was 15 yards away, he looked directly up into my eyes and seemed to say, 'What are you? You're not a buck.'

"Noticing that something was amiss, he slowly turned to my left and started walking broadside away from me. As my instincts slowly took over, I was able to gather myself together enough to make the shot. I knew it was a now-or-never situation. I drew my arrow and placed the pin behind his front shoulder. I released and watched the arrow disappear through both lungs. The buck bolted, but he collapsed within 60 yards.

"The excitement for me at this point was uncontrollable. I tried to call my brother, but I could not get my fingers to stop shaking long enough to work the keys on my cell phone. After a few attempts, I got through and told him what had just happened. He decided to end his own hunt and come o

ver right away to see my trophy.

"While waiting for him to arrive, I called everyone I knew. Then I decided it was time to take a look at my monster up close. When I saw the tall, even 14 typical points that he was wearing on his head, I almost fainted. It is hard to describe the feeling I had when I first put my hands around those antlers.

"Just then, my brother drove up the dirt road toward me. I went out to meet him. I gave Anthony the short version of the hunt, and then we literally ran out to see the unbelievable buck. When we reached him, we stopped, spellbound. Anthony looked at the buck, then at me, then back at the buck in silent awe. We were sharing my greatest moment ever in time. I will forever have that moment and that day etched in my memory!"

WORLD-CLASS ALL THE WAY!
Keith's great buck was later scored by Connecticut measurer Bernie Sippen. Bernie is both a P&Y and B&C measurer. He officially scored the massive main-frame 7x7 rack at 193 2/8 typical inches. Amazingly, the jawbone of Keith's buck indicated that the deer was only 3 1/2 years old.

Keith's buck has several unique features worthy of mention:

1) Balance -- From the right to the left side, both of the main beams and all of the antler tines are evenly matched and spaced. Barely 2 inches of side-to-side differences exist, and there are no non-typical points.

2) 7x7 Frame -- World-class bucks with 7 typical points on each side are extremely rare. Keith's buck is certainly the largest 7x7 typical ever taken in Kansas, and definitely one of the largest ever!

3) Inches of Antler -- Although Keith's great buck scores 193 2/8 typical points, the rack has a remarkably narrow inside spread measuring only 15 2/8 inches. Had the rack possessed even 1 more inch of spread between the main beams, Keith's buck would have been a new No. 1 typical by bow in Kansas. As it stands, Keith's buck is a close No. 2. (Note: The current Kansas typical bow record scores 193 7/8 inches. It was taken by Brad Henry in 2001 in Wabaunsee County). 4) Biggest in North America -- As of this writing, Keith's buck stands as the largest typical whitetail taken in North America during the 2007 season, as well as the largest typical taken in Kansas last year.

Planning to book an out-of-state hunt sometime soon? Think Kansas! There's no need to go anywhere else. Just ask Keith and Anthony Manca!

FOR YOUR INFORMATION
To book a hunt with author Odie Sudbeck's Heartland Trophy Whitetail Outfitters and Guide Service in Kansas, call (785) 468-3214.

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