By Jerry Chatam / Special to The Star
Mike Giles ©
I was born in Meridian in 1959 and lived there for 22 years. I moved to pursue my career and, with the exception of my family, I lost touch with Meridianites. I ended up in Overland Park, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City. At 52, I often think of Meridian and old friends.
A high school friend, Brian Bosarge, and I did a lot of hunting and fishing back then. Brian always enjoyed deer hunting. My wife's people are third generation cattle ranchers in western Kansas. The ranch consists of several thousand acres of prime whitetail and mule deer habitat. I called Brian and invited him out for a Kansas hunt.
I had not spoken to Brian in over 30 years. When I contacted him, I learned he had been purchasing Kansas preference points for years in hopes of one day hunting the state. Having the points made it easier for him to draw a black powder (primitive weapon) tag and the hunt was set.
I picked him up at the Kansas City International Airport in late September, 2011. As we drove the four and half hours to the ranch we talked about our youth and the thirty plus years that had passed. At the ranch we scouted and planned the hunt. The ranch controls about a three mile stretch of the Solomon River. The Solomon is lined with cottonwood trees that provide excellent cover for whitetails. Along the river, are several elevated box stands that overlook CRP, alfalfa, wheat, and milo fields. I have a favorite stand that over the last ten years has produced eight deer scoring between 150 and 175. North of the stand 225 yards is the river. Directly south is a 200 plus acre milo field. We agreed this would be his stand on day one.
The first morning was clear with the temperature in the low fifties. Brian was in place well before light. My scouting had revealed three whitetails that would score in the 160-170 range in the area. I expected his hunt to be over that morning, however, I told him to be selective and shoot nothing less than a ten point with exceptionally long tines.
At 11:30, Brian called and indicated he had seen and passed on several decent bucks. Around daylight about 450 yards away, he had spotted a buck that had bedded in high grass but was still slightly visible. Brian thought the deer obviously felt hidden, would not spook, he and wanted me to glass the buck for my opinion to determine if he was a shooter. The deer was a ten point that would score around 140. I told him to pass on the deer as he was only two and a half years old and not what we were looking for. Brian looked at me like I was crazy and informed me that a hunter could hunt a lifetime in East Mississippi and never glimpse a buck like that.
Brian hunted a 120 acre alfalfa field that afternoon but saw no shooter bucks.
That evening we grilled steaks and reminisced. A cool evening with an open fire in western Kansas is a beauty unto itself.
(to be continued)