Donnie Monroe shot a huge early season buck on a bed-to-feed pattern
Hunter: Donnie Monroe
Buck Score: 230 4/8 inches
Date of Harvest: September 14, 2022
Location of Harvest: Kansas
Weapon of Harvest: Muzzleloader
Few whitetails grow to be larger than 200 inches. Even fewer hunters see or kill such deer. But last season, Donnie Monroe—who films for Team 200 TV on the Pursuit Channel and WayPoint TV app—tagged a 4 ½-year-old buck that did just that.
“He was a 6×7 3 ½-year-old last year, and I knew he had great potential,” Monroe said. “A mature 8-pointer ran him and a 4 ½-year-old out of the area during pre-rut, so I decided to target the mature 8. I ended up killing the 8 on Halloween night and shortly after, the other two bucks returned and stayed in the area throughout the year.”
Fast forward to last summer. He filmed the buck in a soybean field with a couple other nice deer. He watched the deer with a spotting scope as it grew into a monster buck.
“Going into this year, I didn’t think he would be my target buck, Monroe said. “I don’t normally target bucks until they reach the age of 5-plus. I couldn’t believe how much this buck grew in one year and I knew the neighbors had to know about him. So, I decided to make him my only target. It’s very uncommon to get an opportunity to target a buck of this caliber regardless of his age. If I had a square mile to hunt that I controlled, I would have tried everything to give him another year. I can’t even imagine how big he could have been.”
On September 14, 2022, he moved in to hunt the buck. The afternoon brought 91 degrees and a south-southeast wind.
“This wind wasn’t good for my bow setup, and I was worried the neighbors would kill him if he made it to the weekend,” Monroe said. “I made the decision to grab my muzzleloader and try to get where the wind was in my favor and catch him heading out of the bedding area to go feed on the neighbor’s beans.”
The bedding area was surrounded by river on three sides (except the south), which had a steep hillside. Monroe expected the deer to emerge from there. But the hunt started slowly. All afternoon, he watched vehicles and farm equipment travel up and down a nearby gravel road. Little else stirred.
Then, it happened. “As soon as I caught movement, I turned on the cams,” Monroe said. “It was him. I quickly shouldered my muzzleloader, cocked the trigger, and stopped the buck. I squeezed the trigger, the buck whirled around, and died about 40 yards from my shooting window.”
After the hunt, a few friends arrived to help him recover and load the deer. “Most were very excited and couldn’t wait to see him,” Monroe said. “They couldn’t believe how big he was and even I misjudged his score a little. I thought that I would never shoot another buck topping the 200-inch mark, but I was wrong. I was surprised about all the attention that he has received. He is the new Kansas state record in the Buckmasters muzzleloading irregular category. Very blessed to have had this opportunity to chase a buck of this caliber.”
The Kansas deer scored 230 4/8 inches.
Whitetail Lab: Big Buck Tactics
Donnie Monroe used several tactics to kill his monster buck. He determined where the deer was bedding and feeding. Then, he connected the dots. The key was finding a point in that line of movement where the buck was vulnerable.
Next, he used the terrain to his advantage. “The hillside wrapped around, changing from an east-west direction to a north-south direction,” Monroe said. “I utilized this change to help with wind currents and got above where I figured he would travel. I took the muzzleloader because I wasn’t sure how far I would be from the trail. I found a spot where the wind was blowing from the east, which kept my scent above the travel corridor.”
He also used a powerful scent-reduction system to his advantage. “I had an Ozonics HR500 unit and RAW calming scent to help cover any swirling winds,” Monroe said.
Additionally, good access mattered. “Low impact is another key tactic to help kill mature bucks,” Monroe said.
Finally, he partially attributes the Moon Guide app to his success. “I use the Moon Guide app to know when there is a Red Moon to help focus on hunting dates where bucks should be moving in daylight,” Monroe said. “The date that I killed my 2022 buck was on the first Red Moon of the season. The app also gives you a map with property lines and several other things.”