Early Season Success 4 – Monster Buck 245 PY – Jason Passmore…it’s just amazing what I’m seeing so far on social media. A lot of people are taking does, a lot of people are taking, you know, their first deer, and guys like you are just putting the hammer down and taking, you know, a world-class mature buck, and that’s what we’ll be talking about on the show. And, folks, this is just a primer of Jason Passmore. He’s from Kansas and he just put down a huge buck. Did you score it yet?
Yeah, he went 245 and four-eighths growth, and 234 net. And obviously that’s not official, it can’t be officially scored until, I believe, November 30th, if I’m not mistaken.
Yeah, the 60-day drying period.
Yeah, yeah. So somewhere in that ballpark. And, like I said, green score. He’s 245 and some change and he netted 234 even for the initial score. So we’ll find out after 60 days where he’s at. And then, I mean, it doesn’t matter. Mature deer like that, you know, it’s all icing on the cake. I mean realistically I never planned to break the 200 mark, let alone a deer of that caliber. But it’s a great feeling either way. So we’re…you know, my wife and I, we’re just happy that we could get our hands on him.
Early Season Success 4 – Monster Buck 245 PY – Jason Passmore
This is a special episode featuring an early season success with Jason Passmore from Emporia, Kansas. And Jason did something that we all dream about in taking a 200-inch DIY buck. He’s grossed out at 245. This is an early season buck, it just happened. So, Jason, welcome to the show and I can’t wait to hear the story, man. You’re up. Tell us about it.
Thanks, Bruce. Well, it’s a deer that we named Ganon. We passed him last year on a property that my wife and I hunt that’s been in our family for a number of years. And he was probably in the low to mid 150s last year and we elected not to hunt the property after I had seen him the first time because I didn’t know if I’d be able to pass him again. And just pretty tempting, he had a few non-typical points, and a pretty heavy deer. Obviously by letting him walk we didn’t…I thought he’d get bigger, but I didn’t think it would be to the extent that he did.
And he showed back up this spring. We found a shed this early spring, one of my buddies that I shed hunt with found his left side. And then he showed back up obviously in velvet and I’ve got a pile of pictures of him in velvet. And tried to get an early season pattern on him and he actually disappeared for a couple weeks. Not sure why, probably when he was losing velvet. Showed back up September 3rd and his velvet was gone and he was back onto a somewhat normal routine, obviously mostly at night, being a mature deer. But starting Friday, I guess, maybe the 21st or 20th, whatever that was, I had him daylight Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and then I killed him Tuesday evening at 6:45.
he put on between 80 and 90 inches from last year to this year. So pretty big deal.
And we have a pretty fair amount of history with this deer and it’s actually the first deer I’ve ever taken off this particular property and only the first shooter that I’ve had since 2015, in there. And obviously not killing one in there before, it was a pretty big deal. But it really went to show, you know, if you give them time, they can sure put it on. And he blew up. Depending on what he ends up scoring, you know, he put on between 80 and 90 inches from last year to this year. So pretty big deal.
That’s huge. I mean, folks, just think about it, how much bone that is to grow in just, you know, one, you know, a matter of months.
Yeah, it’s huge. I mean, and, like I said, I could forward you some velvet pics and stuff like that so you can see.
Yeah, I’d love to have them when we post your blog.
Sure. And it’s not what you expect when you let a deer walk. Obviously the whole idea is to let them grow a little bit, but something like that was definitely not expected. But obviously I’m more than happy with the outcome of it. It was pretty unreal to watch, you know, and for us to be able to take in firsthand.
Now you said you never had taken a deer off this property, how long have you owned the property or had access to the property?
Well, my grandparents owned it, or still own it. You know, and I can’t tell you when they purchased this ground, but it’s been in their family for, you know, a generation. So, and it’s not a big piece of property or anything like that, it’s just a small 160-acre piece. And it’s not overly advantageous to hunt, it’s pretty tough to hunt, unless the winds are exactly perfect, which is what I had to wait for. And, you know, a lot of people say, “Oh, well, a north wind is pretty easy to get.” Which it is, late in the season, but I wanted to try to target a buck early and we don’t get a lot of north wind right now in Kansas when it’s still this warm out.
And we caught that cold front just right and it just simply worked out when he was daylighting a little bit and caught the north wind on Tuesday and made him show up roughly an hour before dark. So I really think that was just why he was on his feet moving a little bit earlier. Because it was a 15-degree temperature drop that day and the wind went from southwest to straight out of the north blowing pretty hard. So that’s just what I keyed on and went in after that.
Folks, you just got a tremendous amount of intel by what Jason just said in the last couple of minutes. You know, just to break it down, one, “small,” 160 acres is huge. How much is wood lot, or huntable versus Ag?
There’s probably 100 acres of tillable and the rest being, you know, creek bottom and wood lot. So it’s broken up into four different fields and I just hunt the creek crossing, is where I hung that set. And I really felt like the only way to kill him in that small of a, you know, property, there’s pretty fair amount of pressure around it, so before… You know, even though he got hard-horned, he was still on a pattern. And he actually hit two scrapes on the way to me. So they’re starting to get a little bit amped up obviously. We’re in October now, so they were on their way to getting amped up. And then I really think that he would have left the property just because it doesn’t hold a whole lot of does. So I think when the rut would have kicked in, I think he would have been gone.
So I felt my best opportunity to shoot him was early and just caught him on that pattern. And I really didn’t think he’d daylight for five days in a row, but I just lucked out and caught that cold front just right while he was, you know, on his feet for that, darn near a week. And it just got him moving a little earlier with that north wind and it helped out.
If a cold front is coming through, you’re going to get plenty of warning, call in sick, don’t show up for work, get a kitchen pass, but you need to hunt that. And just cold fronts, they just work. Why? You got barometric pressure change, you got a delta in the temperature. Typically a cold front, the wind switches up. Everything changes, and so it modifies behavior. Your thoughts on that?
Typically a cold front, the wind switches up. Everything changes, and so it modifies behavior.
Exactly. Yeah, that’s exactly right. Just my opinion, obviously I don’t…you know, I don’t claim to know everything about deer hunting or anything like that, but I saw two deer that night and both were mature bucks and I was after Ganon without a doubt, so the other buck got a pass. But both of them hit scrapes, they were on their feet early. Even though I would say they were still pattern able because of early season, I think they were…you know, they’re gearing up, getting ready for rut, stuff like that.
But, yeah, I don’t know about calling in on most days, but if you get a 15-degree temperature change and you think you got a shooter day lighting, then probably better make a move. I was actually in the middle of helping one of my buddies pour concrete and at 2:00 when that cold front hit I told him he had enough help and I was headed to the tree. So it worked out. He ended up getting his concrete done and I ended up getting a deer, so it worked out in the end.
Let’s talk about the set. Now in the pictures you sent me you can tell that the closer creek bottom…there was, you know, elevation changes. But is that a funnel or a pinch point, or, you know, do you set it up because that’s where the tracks are, that’s where the trail was?
Well, there’s obviously pretty heavy trails that go through there
Well, there’s obviously pretty heavy trails that go through there, but there’s…like I said, there’s…it’s broke up into four fields and the creek runs right through… Basically there’s fields on the north side, two fields on the north side, with an old railroad bed that runs northwest to southeast through it. And then there’s a creek crossing where the old bridge used to be. And they just hammer that creek crossing, that’s just about right in the middle of the property. All the fields connect at the same point right there.
So basically if you set up, you know, on that pinch point where all those fields meet, it funnels everything down to one focal point. And eventually, you know, something is going to cross there. Whether it’s…you know, whether you have a target deer or anything, you’re going to get plenty of activity if they all use the same crossing in between those four fields. And I had him on camera from beans. And then the field that he actually crossed to come to me was wheat stubble from last year. And then the field on the other side of me was beans, as well. So probably going beans to beans and just caught him in that transition in between. And, like I said, they were…they hit two scrapes on the way by. So maybe they were just going to scent-check scrapes, maybe they were going to eat with that cold front coming in, I don’t know, but had them moving through that pinch.
where do you hang your trail camera?
I had one on…well, it would have been, I don’t know, 80 yards west of me overlooking that wheat stubble field, kind of on the plot-watcher mode. And then I had another one on the creek crossing that ran next to that old rail bed, and that’s actually what pretty much all the mature deer use, was that old rail bed because it had such steep ditches. They could use that, the rail bed sides, as a travel corridor and stay down out of sight all the way to the creek bed. So, you know, out of sight, out of mind, I guess. And pretty much every picture that I had of him consistently, especially daylight, was in those low spots where he couldn’t be seen.
And, you know, I had pictures of him 9:45 in the morning, 10:45 in the morning, I think I had two pictures of him at like noon or somewhere in there. So I knew he had to be bedded pretty close by. But even for him to be on his feet midday, you know, it was just kind of still pretty uncommon. But with him being able to stay concealed, I think it made him more comfortable. And so that’s just where I set up that set, was that crossing right there where he could stay down low.
How far was his bedding area from your set?
I’m going to guess… The field edges I saw him come out on, which is kind of…it was a little further west, southwest than what I had originally thought where he might have been bedded in a pocket of timber. But I’m going to say it was 150 yards away, give or take. When I first saw him come out of the trees he was probably just shy of 100 yards.
Hey, folks, we had a little technical difficulty. And so we’re back with Jason Passmore and we’re talking about Ganon, Ganon is the monster early season buck taken in Kansas by Jason and he’s a monster, he’s 245 gross. And so let’s talk about…let’s pick up where we were. Where was Ganon sleeping, where was his bedding area?
Jason: Well, from best guess, when I first saw him he was just shy of 100 yards west of me on that wheat stubble headed east to the crossing. And it’s a little further south-southwest, or west-southwest, than what I actually had him pegged to be bedded, thickest wood lot right there on that property. So he must have been, you know, somewhat close in there. But it was close enough I didn’t want to push my luck and get any further in there, but yet I wanted to be close enough to their bedding area to where they could essentially make it to me before shooting light was over.
So I tried to set up within…inside 200 yards, I guess, is what I’m getting at. And it just…you know, it just worked out.
You know, a couple of things you said earlier on that railroad bed, and it basically hid the buck, hid Ganon. And he felt really comfortable about walking because nobody could really see him. So kind of explain how deep that was and why it was a favorable travel corridor.
I would say it’s probably five or six feet deep from the top of the railway, the old rail bed, down to the main trails that run beside it. So, I mean, he was for sure out of sight, enough to make him feel comfortable anyway. And that’s where I had a vast majority of the pictures, pretty much of all deer that I get in there, but especially mature deer that, you know, are avoiding being seen. And, you know, I just…I think that played the biggest part of it, was they could get down out of there, out of sight.
he had a sense…definitely had a sense of security
So he had a sense…definitely had a sense of security. Tell me about your access, because you said it’s kind of a pinch and it’s kind of a funnel, so you got a north wind blowing in. So where your stand is, you said the only way you could hunt it was on that north wind. So let’s talk about…
Yeah, I needed a west or northwest. And, yeah, actually, well, the property sets up more north and south than anything, with the creek running from the southwest to the northeast. And then where I was set up it hooks back and runs straight north and south right there. And I used…on the east side of the railway, the old rail bed, there’s, I guess, a wet weather creek that only runs when we get a bunch of rain. And so I walked in from the east side of the field off the county road all the way into that old…the wet weather creek bed and got down in that to where I was just as low as they were, but on the opposite side of the road bed. And followed that all the way to my tree stand, down to the creek crossing where it dumps into the creek right there. And then it was easy access from that point.
So if I’m thinking right, one, you got to an intermittent creek bed, seasonal creek bed. You got a got a railroad bed, and then you got a creek bed. All kind of intersecting in the same place?
Kind of, yeah. Except for the side that they use wasn’t…it wasn’t ever washed out, so it wasn’t ever a creek because it stayed on the east side, and that’s what I took in. So theirs was just basically a beat-down trail. It would run some water if we got some real heavy runoff, but aside from that it was just, you know, dry trails and stuff like that that connected all the fields together.
Okay, but you did walk in on a seasonal creek bed though, correct? If I heard that right.
Yes, I did, that’s correct. Yeah. Yeah, you heard that right.
lessons learned, you know, don’t take the easiest route, the most exposed route to your tree stand
Okay. So, folks, lessons learned, you know, don’t take the easiest route, the most exposed route to your tree stand, basically stalk your tree stand. And, one, we all know you only can hunt your tree stand. And I’m not talking a box blind or something like that over a food plot, I’m talking about, you know, where you expect the deer to come from and everything and only hunt it, you know, when the conditions are right. And you got to do that, you got to make yourself do that. I don’t care what’s happening, you got to do that. Because if you do that, you’re going to have success. Your thoughts?
I mean that’s absolutely what I waited for, was literally the perfect conditions. And even with a north wind I was a little bit concerned, and I was pretty close to getting down when it started swirling because it was blowing so hard. It was wrapping around the east side of the trees and pushing it west and I was worried that I was going to get winded. But a couple of my buddies that I texted, they said, you know, “Now is the time. If you’re going to wing it, now is the time to do it because hopefully you won’t blow them out. Or if you do, they’ll be back since it’s so early in the season.” So I decided to set it anyway. And once I got in there, you know, on the…close to my set, you could see that the wind was actually blowing down that railway. You know, with that hard north wind it would push my scent far enough south with that north wind that I didn’t think that I was going to be affected by it.
One thing that you said earlier, you kind of sort of had a feeling that come the rut he was gone because there was not a lot of does in the area. And, folks, that’s part of why deer disappear later October or, you know, you have the lock down period or whatever you want to call it. They just disappear because they go out and find the does and it might not be on your 40, 80, 160, or whatever. And they’re just gone because they got one thing in mind and that’s breeding. But, you know, Jason was hunting, you know, Ganon’s home turf and he would come back there after the rut, but he might go five miles from that. Your thoughts on that, Jason?
Yeah. The spot where my buddy found his shed was actually, I don’t know, half to maybe a mile north of where I actually got a shot at him. And that’s usually where he would travel to during the rut because they hold so many more does. And we have a few resident does, but it’s not a lot. So most of the mature bucks would venture out of our property onto the neighbors and I figured that that was the best time to get a shot at him, was while he was on a pattern, instead of just running around chasing.
Interesting. So let’s take a break and I’ll ask this question. What you know today, what do you wish you knew, you know, 5 years, 10 years ago that would have made you a better hunter?
I didn’t really start hunting the early season
. And, you know, this is the first deer I’ve killed in September… Let me rephrase that, first buck I’ve killed in September by attempting to pattern. And the last two mature bucks that I killed were in October. So before that, you know, I was just like every other starting-out whitetail hunter, you know, I thought the only way to kill a big deer was during the rut. And it just…if you actually have one that you can get patterned and you can make a legitimate move on them, I think early season is the time to do it now. And, I guess, if there was one thing I could take away from that, that’s what it would be.
I think early season is the time to do it now.
Thanks for that, and I appreciate that. You know, you got so many nuggets because, one, you’re hunting, you know, unpressured deer, for the most part. Yeah, the neighbors are pushing them, maybe or maybe not. But when I think about your setup and how you did it, you know, it’s just a remarkable feat to…you know, to take a once-in-a-lifetime buck. And maybe you’ll do it next year, I have no idea. But, you know, it’s just simply, you know, what a thrill, what an honor, what a privilege to be, one, to mix it up with a buck of that stature. And then, two, to harvest him. You know, it says a lot about your abilities. And so it’s just, you know, well done, sir.
Thank you, I appreciate that. Like I said, it wasn’t…it’s hard to believe that I wasn’t nervous or anything. Even when I saw him closing the distance on that field coming to me, it wasn’t until after the shot when I lost it. And, I mean, hung my bow up right away, sat down, took it in, you know, after that as best I could. But, and then obviously backed out. But just, you know, fully appreciative of the opportunity to even be in that situation and glad I could hold it together up until that point.
Now how far did he go?
So you double-lunged him? Or tell me about the shot.
Yeah. Well, when he first came out I lost him when he came across the field
Yeah. Well, when he first came out I lost him when he came across the field, and then the other mature buck that was with him kept looking back. So I knew he was there somewhere, or at least I thought he was. And then… Thank you. And I knew he was there somewhere. He took off trotting back to where Ganon was, and then all of a sudden I look over and Ganon is standing right there in the middle of the trail, he just walked out of some tall grass that is on that side of the rail bed. And he was actually at 15 yards at that point. And, but I didn’t have any shooting lanes, didn’t have a shot. So I had to wait for him to clear. And, although I’m sure it wasn’t very long, it seemed like forever. But he took a few steps, I don’t, maybe 15 yards north of where he had stepped out at and stepped into an opening. I didn’t have to stop him or anything, he stopped on his own. Slightly quartering away, so I stuck it in a little bit further back on the ribs and went down through both lungs and out the front shoulder on the left side.
And he jumped, jumped back in that tall grass, and headed back south. And instead of getting down and getting my arrow, I waited, I don’t know, a few minutes in the stand. And then, instead of going down and getting it at that point, I backed out. Just because the wind was blowing so hard, I couldn’t hear him crash. And everything this time of year is so overgrown, I couldn’t see him if he went down. Went back to the truck, took my pack back, took my bow back, walked the long way around the edge of the property and glassed back out in the fields to see if he was laying out there, or even standing out there. Couldn’t see him, called a couple of my buddies, called my wife, and we decided that…thought it would be a better plan to wait two hours.
So we went in a little after 8:45 and picked up blood. One of my buddies that’s actually color blind is the one that found the blood, the rest of us were struggling, I mean just anxious to find him. And then once we slowed down and, you know, stayed on blood, it took us right to him, 80 yards. I mean he bled out both sides really well. 80 yards. And he’d been dead for a long time, he was already stiff when we got there. So two hours was probably extreme, but it wasn’t a risk I was willing to take at that point.
Well done. And let’s close the show. “Ganon,” how did he get that name?
That’s the water system that’s he’s on, there’s a creek system in there that that’s the name of it. And I don’t know why, I just called him that one time and it stuck, so that’s what we called him, was “Ganon.”
So for the listeners, I know you got him green scored, so let’s talk about what he had on his head.
A lot more than what we anticipated. Like I said, last year he was maybe 155, low ’50s, maybe mid ’50s. And then obviously this spring we knew he was going to be something special. And after velvet…he looked so big in velvet, after seeing him after he had shed his velvet I thought he’d…there was a chance that he would break 200, but I didn’t think that he would be much over that. And then there was obviously absolutely no ground shrinkage whatsoever. And a couple of guys that were there, you know, they’re like, “I think he’s going to go 220.” Another guy, “Oh, 225.” And I was thinking, “Okay, yeah, maybe he’ll go 215, 220.”
he put tape on him again and got 245 and four-eighths
And then that night my buddy, Adam Rottler, and another buddy, Ryan White, taped him out while we were standing around talking and just, you know, kind of goofing around and they came up with 241. And I was like, “No, that’s not even close.” And so I know another guy that’s pretty efficient at scoring, he put tape on him again and got 245 and four-eighths. And, I mean, we scored him three different times and got 245, so I think that’s what he’ll start out at. And we’ll just see after 60 days where he’s at. And he’s a mainframe seven-by-seven with 40…let’s just call it 42 inches of extra. And then, but even at that rate, like I told you, he was only 11 inches difference from side to side, 11 inches in deductions. So he was 245, and then netted 234.
Hopefully I can put my hands around his head sometime that I’m traveling through. But, Jason Passmore, thank you so much for the privilege of hearing your story here on Whitetail Rendezvous about Ganon the monster buck from Kansas. And once in a lifetime. I mean, you know, 99.9% of whitetail hunters in the world will never see a free-range buck like that. So just, you know, congratulations, sir, enjoy it. And, you know, as you grow older and the kids, you know, grow older and you’ll sit back with your wife and you’ll look back and just marvel at a trophy of that substance. So well done, sir.
we never thought that we’d break the 200 mark
Thanks, Bruce, I really appreciate that. You know, like my wife and I said, you know, , but, I mean, it just shows you that, you know, any deer can put it on. Not any deer, obviously the genetics have to be there, and I just flat out got lucky that that deer had it. But, you know, it could happen. We never thought it would, I sure never thought I’d break the 200 mark. But just fortunate that right place at the right time.
With that, on behalf of hundreds of thousands of listeners across North America, Jason Passmore, and the Ganon buck, thank you so much, sir.
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