A Kansas bowhunter reunited with the antlers of a trophy buck – a pending state record – that he shot and lost two years ago.
Bowhunter Dusty Smart had given up hope that he’d ever find the buck of a lifetime that he shot two years ago on friend’s farm near Emporium, Kansas.
Leading up to the hunt, Smart had monitored the buck on trail cameras every day for two weeks. With careful preparation, Smart picked a spot for his tree stand where he knew the brute would come.
When the opportune moment presented itself, Smart connected an arrow to the buck, but missed its vital organs, and it ran off into a nearby corn field.
Smart searched for the buck well into the night but couldn’t find it. He took off work the next day to continue the search, but found nothing. For two years, Smart thought he’d lost the biggest buck of his life.
“I would tell my friends about how big this buck was and that he had gotten away, and I could tell they thought I was making up stories” Smart told the Kansas City Star. “They were getting tired of hearing me talk about it.”
That all changed in late September when Smart’s friend phoned, claiming he’d found a trophy rack while scouting on a farm near where Smart shot his buck two years ago.
The friend claimed the skull and antlers matched the description of Smart’s missing buck, and said they were hanging in a shed on the property. The landowner’s son discovered the rack in late summer while exploring the property.
The landowner agreed to give Smart the antlers, but Smart had to go through some legal red tape to get it back. Kansas Park, Wildlife, and Tourism had to verify that he had legally shot the buck. Then, Smart had to get a salvage permit for the antlers.
Now, the antlers are back in Smart’s possession. Smart and his friend scored the 28-point non-typical rack in the 235 range. If their estimate is close to the official score, the rack will be in the top 20 non-typical whitetails ever harvested by a bow in Kansas.
“I went through a roller coaster of emotions,” Smart said. “I thought about losing that buck for weeks. But everything turned out great.”