Michael Pearce

Mount of notable poached buck pulled from fund-raising auction

One of the most notorious sets of antlers in the history of Kansas poaching has been pulled from an auction in Salina on Saturday.

Robin Jennison, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism secretary, said Gov. Sam Brownback requested the mount of a buck poached in Osage County in 2011 be removed from the sale because of “legislative concerns.”

In 2012 David Kent, of Topeka, plead guilty to poaching the buck that scores more than 197 typical Boone and Crockett points, meaning it is within about an inch of the current state record which has stood since 1974.

The mount was scheduled to be one of more than 300 antlers or mounts confiscated by the department, mostly in poaching cases, by Wilson Auction, in Salina.

For an article that ran previously, Kevin Jones, Wildlife and Parks law enforcement chief, said money from the consignment auction would be put into a fund and used to help pay for events for youth and veterans.

In the past, confiscated antlers had been sold and the money went back to Wildlife and Parks law enforcement. In many states, illegally-taken antlers are destroyed or cut up and given away for things like scout projects or to make chew toys for pets.

As well as because of it’s size, this particular rack has spent a lot of time in the public eye since Kent tried to pass the antlers off as legally killed so he could win a big deer contest in Topeka in 2012. A bowhunter in attendance stepped forth with trail camera photos of the buck, alive, close 100 miles from where Kent claimed to have killed the animal.

Tim Nedeau, son of a landowner near where the poached buck died, has lobbied for the antlers since shortly after Kent’s initial confession. Nedeau contends the antlers of poached animals should be given to the landowner where the animal was poached. Jennison said state law says such animal parts belong to the state of Kansas. Nedeau has had some support in the state legislature the last several years.

More updates

When interviewed for the story about Saturday’s auction I was told “more than 100” sets of antlers, including mounts, would be up for sale. Since, Wildlife and Parks has raised that figure to more than 300.

Dove hunting reports remain spotty, with the best reports coming from western Kansas. Some hunters in central Kansas have found good action by finding a feed field being used by hundreds of migrant birds.

Speaking of migrant birds, I got my first report of sandhill cranes in Kansas this fall. A good friend, and avid outdoorsman, from St. John saw a small flock go on to the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge on Wednesday.

Upcoming coverage

The Outdoors page feature this Sunday will be how, despite a wet spring and summer the water conditions at places like Cheyenne Bottoms and the Quiria National Wildlife Refuge are decreasing rapidly. The last month of hot, windy and dry weather has been hard on the shallow wetlands. Heavy early rains also kept crews from handling a growing cattail problem at Cheyenne Bottoms so there are large areas with jungle-like conditions.

Things aren’t much better at the McPherson Valley Wetlands.

The secondary story will be on a 16-year-old from St. John who shot a true world-class non-typical whitetail on Sept. 8. The brute of a buck has been green gross scored at about 236 inches. It could be a sure-thing Boone and Crockett deer, but there is one thing that may keep it out of the book.

I’m hoping to cover a special black powder hunt held to accommodate disabled hunters at Marion Reservoir. In about its 18th year, it was started long before holding such hunts for wounded veterans and the like became popular.

Next week I’m hoping to get enough photos and material for an article on a couple of guys who really enjoy getting out for the early prairie chicken season, and walking miles across the tall grass prairie despite the heat and insects.

I’ll also be having an article on the big free entrance days at Kansas state parks on Sept. 26, and what the parks in south-central Kansas have planned.

Hopefully I’ll be able to get in an article on fall bass fishing. Research is going slowly on an article about a couple of invasive grasses that are serious threats to Kansas grasslands, ranching and many kinds of wildlife.

Michael’s world

Chances are pretty high Kathy and I had our last meal of grilled doves Wednesday night. It’s time for me to move to other things outdoors, especially with Cade, our Lab pup.

I think I dove hunted 10 times, which is more than probably any time for at least 15 years. It helped that I had access to a pond five miles from our house. Cade and I went there for the last hour of daylight Monday evening and there was nothing in the air for about the first 15 minutes. Then I looked up and had a pair of doves flying around the spinning-wing decoy.

I ended up shooting seven, which was a perfect amount for a nice meal when added to some I’d shot there late last week. The last bird also marked Cade’s 100th dove of his first season, a number I’d kind of hoped for, though I’d have been pleased with fewer.

He’s doing well afield, though there is still so much puppy left in him. I need to take him our for a few training-only sessions before we go much further into the hunting seasons.

So far we haven’t had any luck on teal. Well, I did get a nice flock of about a dozen angus cattle to decoy right in to my duck decoys and spinning-wing decoy on Tuesday morning. Hopefully I’ll find time to get Cade out the last week of teal season.

We missed last weekend’s opening of teal season because Kathy and I were in Topeka to get a Notable Book of Kansas award from the state for the book I did for The Eagle last year.

Beccy Tanner, one of our reporters and a great friend, got a similar award for a book she wrote, 99 Kansas Characters.

It was a fun two days. Hanging out with Kathy and/or Beccy always means things won’t be taken too seriously and fun will be had.

Friday evening, at a reception at Cedar Crest, Kathy brought to our attention that Boulevard was the only brand of beer offered at the Govenor’s mansion. She, Beccy and I had a problem with that pretty quickly.

When I brought it to Gov. Sam Brownback’s attention, he stated that it’s a good brand of beer. So I asked him if he knew where it was made, and he answered correctly, “In Kansas City.”

“Kansas City, where?” I asked.

He then figured out we were questioning why we needed a Missouri beer at a Kansas event, when our state has some fine breweries in Lawrence, Manhattan and several other towns. He said he’d mention it to his staff and get the problem fixed.

(Actually the Octoberfest beer from Free State Brewery in Lawrence may be my favorite beer, at least this time of the year.)

Speaking of Lawrence, I spent Sunday working on food plots on our farm north of the town. This fall we are leaving a bit more summer cover, and planting less land to food plots, hoping to give deer more security.

I think this is the fifth or sixth year we’ve done plots on our farm and it looks like we’ve again planted them just as the rains have stopped falling.

The first year we got a great start on the plots, then cut worms came in and destroyed about all of the wheat and oats. Every other year dry conditions have really hampered the plot crops.

We’ll see.

Oh, while up there I went and talked to Ted Grinter, a longtime friend and the farmer who works our agricultural fields for us. As he does most falls Ted had about 30 acres of sunflowers on his farm.

People have always come to take photos at the farm but he said things got crazy this year when the field started getting a lot of attention on social media.

At least four television stations did news features on his field, and he had people come from as far away as Iowa and Wichita just to see the sunflowers. He even gave a telephone interview to the BBC.

Ted estimates at least 10,000 people came to see the sunflowers on Labor Day weekend, and 25,000 overall.



Michael Pearce