On Halloween Jeff Severson took this monster Kansas buck with a bow. While the buck boasts a 24-inch spread and an estimated gross score of 208 inches (unofficially), it’s not his biggest buck to date. He took his biggest deer in 2004, a 220-inch behemoth that Buckmasters deemed a world record. Read on to see how Jeff arrowed his latest trophy buck and gain some insight on how he was able to take two 200-inch bucks with a bow.
Severson is a Wisconsonite but makes the trek to north-central Kansas to hunt public and private land. Severson and his hunting partners hunt a 50-mile stretch of land made up of open farm field broken up by timber lots and creek bottoms. The deer density is frustratingly low in the region, which Seveson actually prefers. “The deer are so scarce people don’t want to hunt there,” he says. “Most people wouldn’t last two days where we hunt.”
Because he covers so much ground, trail cameras are a big part of Severson’s strategy and he first saw this buck when he captured photos of it a year ago. His wife made a run at the buck last season, but he never showed up. When the deer appeared again this year on trail cameras, Severson decided to take a crack at him, because his wife couldn’t make it down for the hunt. (Don’t worry, they’re still married).
After making the long drive to Wisconsin, Severson was in his stand by 4 p.m. After about and an hour and a half a doe strolled in and stood directly beneath his stand inspecting his climbing pegs. It wasn’t long before Severson heard another deer coming in, and sure enough, it was the big boy he had been waiting for. The buck walked straight in focusing on the doe.
The buck got about 8 feet away from the base of his tree and then stared straight up at him. Severson closed his eyes and tried not to move. “I don’t know if they can sense you or what, but he was just staring at me with those big eyes,” he says.
Severson’s tree impersonation worked and the buck moved on to rub up a licking branch. Severson slowly moved into shooting position and waited for a good shot. Finally the buck gave a big lip curl and headed over to the doe.
Severson let his arrow fly and hit the deer square. “It was just one of those hits … you just know it’s good,” he said.
But after the buck ran off, Severson played it cool. He waited until dark and slipped out of his stand back to camp. He didn’t want to bump the buck, so he told his hunting buddies his story, ate some pizza and then returned to his stand well after nightfall.
Even in the dark they found the blood trail with ease, and moments later were staring at a true trophy buck. “We walked up behind him and the rack just looked huge with that 24-inch spread,” Severson said.
Severson measured the main beams and estimates that they’re about 30 inches (unofficially of course). That plus a 24-inch spread, 10 scoreable points and about 10 inches of kickers and you’re looking at a pretty impressive gross score.
The key to Severson’s success is being selective with stand sites. He rarely huts a stand twice and targets travel corridors and remote creek bottoms. He regularly hunts public land and travels up rivers to get where most hunts don’t take the time to go. “We actually target these big deer. If you really try, you can kill them. But it’s not easy,” he says.
That much, Severson has proved. This is the buck he killed in 2004 that scored 220 inches gross BC.
“We’re crazy fanatics,” says Severson, who over the years has hunted Montana, Iowa, South Dakota and Illinois. The deer pictured here was taken this year in Kansas by Severson’s nephew and hunting buddy Shane Thome.
Shane’s deer (pictured in this trail camera photo) went 160 and was shot on public land. Thome’s advice? “Hunt the people, not the deer,” which means find out where everybody else hunts and then hang your stand in the unhunted pockets or “soft spots.”
Thome and Severson also use mock scrapes and deer decoys. They wait until they get a big deer checking scrapes in the daytime on a trail camera and then they move in and try to take him on the first sit.
“On this buck, I just happened to be there the same time he decided to check the scrape,” Severson says.
Jeff Severson took this beautiful 200-inch buck on a Kansas bowhunt. Incredibly, this isn’t even his biggest deer to date.