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Local man enjoys hunting in Kansas, takes 9-point buck

NATCHEZ — When Mike Upton called his wife, Bobbie, she told him she knew why he was calling.

“I said, ‘You do?’ and she said, ‘Yeah, you killed a buck,’” Upton said.

Turns out, Upton’s wife was right. Upton was spending Jan. 10 through 16 in Kansas deer hunting with six companions. When Upton took the 11-inch 9-point buck that day, he found out from his wife that he might have had a helping hand from above.

“She said that she and the kids were in the truck, and one of the kids said that they should pray for daddy to kill a big buck,” Upton said. “Ten to 15 minutes later, I called.”

It was Upton’s second time to make it to Kansas for a deer hunt. This year, he was with his brother, Brian Upton, and four other friends, Donnie and Dusty McElwain, Kevin Perrin and Clyde Deerman. Upton said he also went last year.

“We’ve been hunting all of our life, and it’s always one of those things we always thought would be fun to do,” Upton said. “For some reason though, there’s a mental block in your mind, where you always think you can’t go for some reason.”

But after talking it over with some friends who had gone before, Upton said he and his crew decided to just do it.

“We found out it was pretty reasonable,” Upton said. “Altogether, I probably spent around $1,200, which is pretty reasonable.”

Upton said the land in the Midwest was actually easier to hunt than the South since you mostly hunt open ground.

“Everywhere you look, if you have basic knowledge in looking for deer signs, it’s easy,” he said.

On the day he took his deer, Upton was hanging around a freshly cut cornfield, he said.

“I just hung around there,” he said. “I saw some bucks using it, and right now they’re still on a feeding pattern (in Kansas). There were some starting to look at the does, but there weren’t any chasing them.

“I saw a pretty 10-point, and after moving my stand three times, I zeroed in on where I needed to be. I finally was able to take one I hadn’t seen before. It’s certainly not the biggest Kansas has to offer, but a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

And there was a lot of relief for Upton, who was determined to take a buck this year after just being happy to be there last year.

“Every day it feels like you’re leaving tomorrow, with all the pressure of taking a big Kansas buck,” Upton said.

But Upton isn’t one to toot his own horn, saying there are many other people that deserve recognition over himself.

“There are people going places and taking deer twice that size,” he said. “They deserve the credit, not me, but I was sure tickled to take the one I did.”

Even with a deer in hand, Upton said the companionship alone is where most of the enjoyment comes from.

“I had five good guys with me, and probably 80 percent of making it worth the trip is good friends. No one’s competing against each other,” he said.

“Two other guys took deer, but it didn’t matter who did. If one person got one, it’s like we all got one. We were really tickled for each other.”

And as nice as this buck was for him, Upton said it doesn’t compare to two special moments he had with his sons Dalton, 9, and Tyler, 6, earlier this season.

“Sitting with them as they both took their first deer was better than the Kansas buck to me,” Upton said.

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