I climbed into a ladder stand to kick off day two of my Kansas deer hunt. The stand was up in an old cottonwood tree overlooking a three-way draw with fields all around. I had hunted this same stand the night before and had deer moving all over the place. While everyone in camp has been seeing bucks, a high percentage of the deer, especially the bigger ones, have badly busted up racks.

It turned out that monster buck I had spotted the first morning was missing his left side completely–and this was starting to feel like the norm, not an exception. It isn’t too surprising given that the rut is winding down and these deer have been beating on each other pretty hard for some weeks now, but it is a little discouraging to see 150-class (and better) bucks that are busted up to the point where they aren’t worth shooting.

We’ve been hearing coyotes all over the place so when I saw one creeping up the draw beneath me I wasn’t at all surprised. I quickly pulled my Thompson-Center Pro Hunter pistol out of its holster, cocked the hammer, put the crosshairs on the coyote’s shoulder and dropped the canine in its footprints.

I saw a bunch of smaller bucks–spikes and forkhorns–off in the distance and if you could have added all their headgear together you still wouldn’t have been able to assemble a shooter buck from the effort.

A doe and her two fawns then came up the same path my coyote had taken. The wind was blowing straight into her face and when she got about 50 yards from where my coyote lay she froze. The poor girl didn’t know what to do. She really wanted to take her babies up that draw but with a snoot full of coyote she didn’t want to budge.

Her desire to move forward won out. She slowly moved up, quartering back and forth across the draw as skittish can be. She got to within about 20 feet of my coyote at which point her resolve gave out. She turned tail and left the area.

After she left nothing more moved so it wasn’t long before I followed her out to go back to the truck.