Clayton Brummer may only be 16, but he knew enough to not let a world-class non-typical buck get away on Sept. 8.
“When he stepped out of the corn, he gave me ‘the look,’ the one that tells you he’s seen you and he’s getting ready to run,” said Brummer, 16, of St. John. “I’ve hunted enough to know I only had time to hurry up and shoot.”
Earlier in the season, Brummer was hunting with his father, Darin, and had seen a huge non-typical buck in the milo. That time, the buck was well within rifle range, but with only its neck and head showing.
“Dad told me not to shoot, that we needed to wait for another day because we couldn’t see much of the buck,” said Brummer. “I’m not sure that’s what I wanted to do, but it was the right thing to do. My dad was right.”
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Listening to his father is turning young Brummer in to an accomplished trophy hunter beyond his age.
After the close encounter with the huge buck, the Brummers were anxious for another crack at the non-typical. Rains and cooler temperatures on Sept. 8 had the hunters hoping deer would be active earlier in the day instead of only moving after sunset.
Brummer said it was still several hours before dark when they watched the buck rise from the milo, running down the rows shaking its head as it tried to avoid insects as it headed in to the large field of unharvested corn.
“All we could do was sit, wait and watch,” said Brummer. “We knew he was in the corn and that he’d probably have to come out sometime.”
He said he was surprised when the buck stepped out at about 30 yards and there wasn’t even time to alert his father, who was looking through binoculars at other parts of the field.
“It all just kind of runs in the family,” he said. “My dad and I try to get older deer and let some of the younger deer grow. We do take some management bucks.” That’s normally a term given to a buck with inferior antlers that trophy hunters don’t want to breed and pass along such genetics.
The Brummers live and hunt in Stafford County, one of America’s best-known trophy whitetail areas largely because of outfitted hunts featured on outdoors television. Such attention can make finding places to hunt difficult for middle-class residents. Brummer said he is blessed, and thankful, to know a few landowners who avoid offers of leasing so they can share hunting ground with their friends.
“We really, really appreciate them for that,” said Brummer, an agronomist who works with many local farmers.
As well as whitetail knowledge, the teen was shooting a rifle far beyond most used by high school sophomores.
“I was shooting a .300 Ultra Mag,” he said. “With the scope we have on it I’m comfortable out to 450 yards. I’ve shot it out to 500 yards.”
Darin Brummer took one of his best bucks with the rifle at well past 500 yards, according to his son. The cartridge is more noted for how well it works on bigger animals such as elk, moose, grizzly bears and many types of African game.
The buck died instantly, he said, and seemed to grow in size with every step the Brummers took as they got closer.
“He had such a tight (narrow) rack, and so much junk (extra points) on the inside he just kept looking bigger the more we looked,” said Brummer. “We have him at 21 scorable points, but with all that velvet on it’s hard to tell what else he might have underneath.”
Velvet refers to the fuzzy covering on antlers as they grow through the summer. Once the antlers are mature, the velvet dies and is rubbed off the antlers by the buck. In early September, many Kansas bucks are shedding their velvet.
And the velvet has the young hunter forced with a difficult decision. Under Boone & Crockett rules, whitetails must have all velvet removed for accurate measurements.
“The velvet looks really cool, but to get one in the books at 16 would be really neat,” Brummer said. “Ever since I shot him, Dad and I have talked about it every day. We’ve talked about getting the velvet removed then they can put artificial velvet on after the buck’s scored. I just know that one is always going to look great on my wall.”