I have hunted Kansas three times, but this spring I spent an extraordinary amount of time researching a place to hunt. I needed a big whitetail as one of six deer species I want to kill for a book I'm writing. The problem is that I wanted to find one that would score 160 points or better. That's a tall order anywhere, so the search was difficult and I wasn't having much luck.
That was until I spoke with Cliff Graham of Associated Hunting Consultants. He told me about an outfit that operates in quite a few Kansas units and whose clients bagged several big bucks last season. As I asked more questions, an interesting picture developed. The outfit is called Eight Mile Outfitters, and it's operated by Mary and Stan Jones. The Joneses are farmers in addition to being outfitters, which isn't unusual. What is different about them is that hunting is their first priority, with farming coming in a distant second. They are committed to managing their properties for maximum trophy quality. By that, mind you, I don't just mean they limit the number of trophies taken off any one property. These outfitters are developing habitat that encourages trophy development.
You can immediately see the difference between their leases and other farms when you hunt with them. They farm using strip and contour techniques, and they plant as many as 10 different types of grain and other food for deer. Each of these foods matures at different times of the year, and provides specific nutrients. They have planted many food plots; some covering many acres and others much smaller, tucked away in thickets of trees or between hedgerows. This means that the deer are always........(continued)