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Find-Scout-Shoot: A Western Kansas Hunter’s Incredible Run of World Class Buck Harvests

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Towering tines, kicker points, and gnarled antler bases. They’re what dreams are made of for a large contingent of hunters seeking the ultimate species of deer, the mature whitetail buck. If you’re even slightly tuned into social media and outdoor television, sights of such creatures start to appear everywhere. Huge bucks are falling from seemingly every corner of the North American deer woods.

There are the nice bucks and then there are the bucks of a lifetime that most hunters don’t ever feast their eyes on from their stands. In most sections of the country, fair chase Boone and Crockett-level bucks are hard to come by - and even in the hotbed areas such as Iowa, Kansas, and Wisconsin, it’s a tall order to be in a position to kill one, much less numerous ones. Don’t let the internet fool you, they don’t grow on trees.

While a trophy buck is arguably in the eye of the beholder, there are a few hunters in the whitetail ether that knock down top-of-the-mark bucks year after year. However, Cole Schumacher is one such hunter.

While deer hunting success isn’t all about the quantity or quality of bucks taken, there are some achievements that simply can’t be overlooked. Let’s look at a few numbers; 201, 209, 194, 189, 185. These aren’t lottery numbers, rather they represent the B&C scores of Schumacher’s last five Kansas bucks. Yes, you read that right. Come to think of it, these are lottery numbers - and winning ones at that.

This jaw-dropping run of monster bucks only scratches the surface, as he has taken a number of other bucks from the 150s to the 170s with bow, muzzleloader, and rifle. Did I mention Schumacher is only 23-years old?

Needless to say, when I became aware of Schumacher’s whitetail body of work, I had to talk to him, get his story, and ultimately, try to coax him into giving me his secret sauce. But before getting to the how let’s set the table with the path that has led to the string of dream bucks he’s left in his wake. Put differently, how did he get to where he is today?

Beginnings and Pedigree

Like for whitetails, it’s hard to beat good bloodlines and active field experience. Schumacher was introduced to hunting at the age of nine and was scouting and sitting solo in a stand at twelve. Kansas born and bred, he was mentored by a father and grandfather that have been shooting exceptional bucks for decades, including many from the 160s to the 190s. Talk about a lofty standard set by living breathing hunting influencers; that is, hunting partners that were undoubtedly ahead of their time in terms of whitetail knowledge and triumphs. Many hunters (myself included) were also introduced early to hunting and, to a lesser degree, scouting. Conversely, Schumacher was taught to not just look through binoculars, but to scout with a purpose during his youth. Along with that came valuable knowledge about deer behavior and habitat from inception.

Schumacher summed it up like this;

"Hunting with my dad and grandfather was the ultimate learning permit".

Much to Do with the Land

First off, Schumacher’s base hunting property, a family place with a hunting cabin in a renowned whitetail state serves as a great foundation for his success. Additionally, with a mother with a farming background and well-connected in rural Kansas, he also has access to an abundance of other whitetail dirt. Recognizing ideal terrain changes, land features, and vegetation for deer is programmed into his DNA. "I’ve learned how to find and identify good whitetail grounds and I really love this part of it all.", said Schumacher.

Reinforcement

Armed with a college biology degree initially aimed at a career in medical research, Schumacher would see his path take a sharp turn from the get-go. He soon found himself firmly entrenched in a career as a land sales professional with Midwest Land Group, the premier company for buying and selling land in America’s heartland states. There couldn’t have been a better fit.

"I’m blessed that this unexpected path presented itself to me - the company is incredible", he said.

A career that reinforces his love for land and habitat management further enhances the self-fulfilling prophecy for whitetail hunting at the highest level. It works both ways, as Schumacher’s clients benefit from his knowledge.

A career in rural real estate with Midwest Land Group pairs well with Schumacher’s love of land and the outdoors.

"In terms of recreational land, especially for hunting, I’m qualified to speak on the subject and I love helping others to identify property with good hunting potential. It’s nice to pass it on"

Needless to say, his constant boots-on-the-ground experience in the pastures, woodlots, and croplands of Kansas keep his land management and hunting skills razor-sharp.

Connections

You don’t harvest multiple Boone and Crockett bucks without garnering attention. In addition to the cumulative exposure Schumacher gets from his career and whitetail exploits, he’s also established relationships with some pretty heavy-hitters in the hunting community. There is none bigger than his relationship with the crew at Heartland Bowhunter, a mainstream deer hunting brand and TV show based in his home hunting region. It’s a good fit too, as the company is all about providing entertaining, educational, and captivating content to their viewers - relatable video content that vividly describes their adventures. Schumacher’s field achievements would easily hit their radar.

"Cole is one of the hardest workers I’ve met when it comes to managing the land for whitetails - and all wildlife really. Both his career and hunting success speaks for itself", said Shawn Luchtel, Co-Owner of Heartland Bowhunter.

Still, exposure isn’t Schumacher’s motivation for his work or whitetail-laced lifestyle.
"If you look at social media these days, hunting and habitat management have a cool factor. I love being part of it - but I’m not seeking attention or praise for my hunting success. If it comes, that’s great but I just enjoy getting to do it. The same goes for my real estate career. I’m lucky to get to do what I love".

Schumacher works hard to find mature bucks like this one. Next comes diligent scouting, followed by a rational hunting plan.

Schumacher’s story is interesting but, admittedly, I was most interested in what’s behind all of his consistent success in the deer woods. It turns out, he has a pretty simple formula predicated on hard work and, most of all, tirelessly following through with his plan. Here’s how he gets it done.

Early Bird Gets the Worm

The basis of Schumacher’s big buck formula has much to do with striking swiftly during the early Kansas deer season. With that, he often shoots a huge mature buck in September, if not October while bucks are still on their bed to food pattern. Using agriculture and other food sources, his preparation lines up well with the strategy. It also entails a ton of summer scouting. While many hunters lean on scouting sessions for hunting success, Schumacher takes it to a higher level.

A huge component of Schumacher’s success is due to rigorous offseason scouting.

"I literally spend about 95% of the summertime scouting for mature bucks I consider to be exceptional. It’s a lot of work, but it’s allowed me to set higher and higher goals in terms of antler size".

Obviously, that’s a lot of scouting, but it goes a long way toward accounting for travel patterns of mature bucks in multiple areas.

Leveraging Alternatives

Speaking of multiple areas, Schumacher uses his access to many acres of the Kansas landscape to his advantage. Aggressive scouting in multiple sections provides alternative weather scenarios, crop conditions, and ultimately mature bucks to chase. He then uses his intel to align the right bucks with the right time before ever accessing a stand.

You may be thinking, it must be nice to have multiple places to hunt in one of the better whitetail states. If you are, remember that Schumacher has not only actively sought them out, but follows through, leaving no stone unturned. Make no mistake, it’s laborious and requires repetition and arduous consistency. Still, he acknowledges the quality bucks that Kansas holds.

One of a great stretch of the Kansas hunter’s mammoth whitetails.

"Taking these types of bucks is doable here if you consistently put in the time - but there are no shortcuts".

Attention to the Basics

None of Schumacher’s hard work would pay off without tending to hunting fundamentals. It’s one thing to locate a buck - much less a mature booner - and another to approach the hunt from a logical and favorable standpoint. This means, without fail, allowing for the right wind, good stand placement, and creating optimal entry and exit routes - all the things good deer hunters know, but sometimes disregard. Schumacher knows that if he does his homework and keeps tabs on multiple bucks in the right age and trophy class, he’ll always be in the game. The harsh reality is that one hasty jaunt in the field can yield countless days of scouting useless.

Smart time in the field is paramount to Schumacher’s success.

"I’ve missed my share of bucks too and don’t like the feeling. There are a lot of variables involved in taking a mature buck. I have to control what I can and keep the odds in my favor by making sound decisions in the field".

Increasing Goals and Standards

Finally, a big part of Schumacher’s big buck recipe involves seeking bigger and bigger bucks. It’s a cumulative approach. What used to be seeking 160-class bucks turned to 170-class bucks. Today, Schumacher has somewhat moved on from these seemingly high-water marks and has continued to set the standard even higher.

"Now it’s on to the next level. If I encounter a four-year-old 170-inch buck, I’ll pass him. I can’t blame anyone else for shooting them, but I’m constantly seeking the gold standard. It’s a moving target for me".

This brings up a downside of early-season success. With a buck down early in a one-buck state, the hunt typically comes to an abrupt end for Schumacher - This is when he pivots. While his scouting for shooter bucks continues, Schumacher turns his attention to other hunters.

Schumacher’s second buck topping the 200-inch mark.

"Taking a buck so early in the season is a blessing and a curse - but it allows me to continue scouting for the future, as well as find good bucks for friends and family. It’s very gratifying".

And all the while, he enjoys helping clients find the ideal property. "

"I like helping others improve their recreational and hunting situation".

Moving Forward

While he never tires of pursuing massive Kansas whitetails, Schumacher looks to push himself in new directions as well. In fact, he has plans to try out some other whitetail states such as Oklahoma and Missouri. As far as his career, he is ever-appreciative and proud of his job at Midwest Land Group and the clients he serves.

Schumacher’s most recent success, a behemoth 185-inch Kansas buck.

"It’s very rewarding to work with the good people doing something I love - a job that aligns with my hunting lifestyle and vice versa. It’s like a dream come true".
If you’re a diehard deer hunter, you’ll want to keep up with Schumacher’s hunting journey.
Find-scout-shoot. It’s a great strategy but requires much more. The numbers don’t lie.

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Author

Jerald Kopp

From drop tines to blood trails, sight pins to cross hairs. We not only highlight hunting strategies, but also the lighter side of the outdoor lifestyle – the nuances that make it fun, memorable and part of our DNA.

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