Photos: Hunting Buddies Take 2 Trophy Kansas Bucks in 1 Wild Morning

Deer hunting buddies Andy Skordas (left) and Nick Simon experienced a wild whitetail twofer during the rut in Kansas this past fall, when each hunter downed the biggest buck of his life, just minutes apart, and while hunting only a few miles from each other. It all happened early in the morning of November 10. Simon had just climbed down from his stand on private land near Topeka, planning on taking up the track of a huge buck he’d shot at, when his cell phone chimed. It was a text message from Skordas: I just shot a giant.
Simon was hunting land leased by the Mid-America Hunting Association, a group he's used since 2006. Though Simon scouts and hunts hard back home in Arkansas, his annual trips to Kansas involve selecting hunting land in advance of the season. Simon looks for promising mixes of timber, CRP land, and cropfields. "I don't know what deer are there, and that's nice," Simon says. "It's exciting to wonder what will walk up next." While in the field on Sunday, November 9, Simon observed bucks using a well-worn creek trail out of bow range and decided to relocate his stand to overlook the trail and nearby CRP land. The move would pay off the next morning.
Skordas, meanwhile, had been kicking himself for having missed a buck at 20 yards on Saturday. By the next day, though, the Wyoming resident was feeling better: While hunting land owned by some of Simons’ friends, he saw several deer in bow range—the last a doe that came down an upwind trail. Skordas returned to the stand the next morning, and at 7:30, a massive buck strode down that same trail, presenting Skordas a 45-yard broadside shot. His first arrow looked dead on, but the deer didn’t react. Skordas shot again, and the buck raced off, leaving a heavy blood trail. When he recovered the 13-pointer, Skordas saw that both of the arrows he’d sent at the buck had been kill shots.
About the time Skordas was lining up his first shot, Simon detected movement 75 yards to his south: A buck was upwind and heading his way. Simon watched the buck thread a timber edge, then stop to work a licking branch. Simon blew his grunt call and turned over a doe can—tactics that have drawn in out-of-range bucks for the hunter before—but the buck didn't respond. When it finished raking and chewing limbs, however, the buck continued on its way toward Simon. "I put down my calls and grabbed my bow," says Simon. "I knew he was a mature deer, so I told myself, don't look at antlers. If you want to see him, shoot him."
Simon watched his buck disappear into a creekbed. He expected it to reappear on a trail 20 yards away, but instead it scaled the steep bank and circled behind Simon’s stand. The buck was in bow range, but obscured by cover. “Just before he got directly downwind, he stopped in a clearing,” Simon recalls. “I was drawn and following him with my 20-yard pin, and as soon as he stopped, I touched the trigger.” Worried about the shot, Simon waited until 8:00 before climbing down to find his arrow. He was still searching when the text from Skordas stopped him in his tracks. “I looked down and was almost standing on my arrow,” says Simon. “It was covered in blood.”
Simon stopped his search and began heading out to help Skordas when something caught his eye: His buck, piled up in the middle of a huge cornfield. “I couldn’t believe he’d crossed a deep creek and ran a quarter mile toward my truck,” says Simon. When the two buddies—who became friends in high school because of their shared enthusiasm for hunting—finally got their deer side by side, neither could believe their luck. Simon’s 21-point nontypical later measured 197 inches. The massive 13-pointer that Skordas killed scored 164 inches, and dressed out at an incredible 225 pounds. “Nick said mine made his look like a baby,” Skordas says, “but I couldn’t believe the rack on his buck. “I hunt a lot, but that’s the most successful day I’ve ever seen.”

The incredible story of two buddies who took bucks totaling 34 points and more than 360 inches of antler within minutes of each other--while hunting just a few miles apart.