• Fri. Jul 1st, 2022

DIY Hunter Arrows 200-Class Kansas Buck

ByMary M. Ward

Dec 1, 2021


Holden Torres poses with his DIY Kansas Trophy shortly after collecting the money. Holden torres

You can manage a lot of land or hire a good outfitter, and you strength kill a world class whitetail. But Holden Torres, a relentless Louisiana bow hunter, does none of the above. Instead, he draws on research, online mapping tools, boot hide scouting sessions, and ancient hunting skills to earn deer trophies. All of that hard work paid off for Torres on Nov. 9, when he shot a 200-class Kansas Walk-In-Area white-tailed deer on a DIY hunt with his friend Austin Bass. Here is his story.

Torres started planning several years ago. “In 2017, I was injured and lying on the couch, so I started looking for places in Kansas for a bow hunt for Austin and me,” he says. He chose an area that appeared to have good deer habitat and plenty of walk-in hunting areas, private land leased by the state and open to public hunting. “We had been hunting turkeys there and loved what we saw, so last April we entered the Non-Resident Archery Draw and were successful.”

Kansas Big Dollar Hunting Camera Photo
A still image of the surveillance camera video Torres and Bass got huge money. Holden torres

Torres and Bass made a reconnaissance trip to their hunting area over the weekend of July 4th. “We spotted several WIHAs and even found a few hangars,” he says. “We spent time chatting with local farmers and a landowner allowed us to clear the ground behind his farm buildings. We were excited and had planned to come hunting during the September opening. But we both work for power companies, and when Hurricane Ida hit, that hunt was called off. Austin and I worked 16 hour days for three consecutive weeks.

When the couple finally reached Kansas in the first week of November, they reached their WIHA land to scout and found more than a sign of a deer. “There were other hunters in almost every spot we spotted during the summer, so we kept looking for more,” Torres says. “We also contacted the landowner who had given us permission. From chatting with her we learned that she has another 80 acre lot that she said we can hunt as well. They inspected the property and found a good sign near a creek crossing. They hung a camera there and chased the main farm that night. “I wasn’t in the booth long before I saw a high-toothed buck heading towards Austin’s booth. Shortly after, I got a text from him saying, “I just got the biggest 8 points I’ve ever seen. when the fight was over, the fat one headed straight for Austin’s stand and he got his shot. The male scored 150 inches in 8 net points.

Hunter with an 8-point buck
Austin Bass and his 150-inch 8-pointer. Holden torres

The next two days were mostly uneventful, and after the second night’s hunt, Torres went to check the camera on the 80-acre plot. “I had it in video mode and this giant male comes in to check for a nearby scratch,” he says. He showed the video to his pal, who estimated the dollar would go to at least 190 inches. The plot only had 25 acres of timber, but two fences met nearby, with bean fields on either side and standing corn nearby. “It all kind of came together near a cedar grove,” says Torres. “I decided that I would only chase the place with a north or northeast wind.” While he waited for the right wind, he chased more public land and continued to look for more options.

Kansas Big Dollar Track Cam Photo
This image from the back of the same trail-cam video reveals every tooth in the male’s impressive rack. Holden torres

On the afternoon of November 9, Torres finally got the wind he needed to chase the 80-acre lot. “I got there around 2:00 pm” he says. “I felt like the deer didn’t really live there, but it was a great funnel for them. I cut a few limbs, then I settled in the holder that I had hung near the passage of the stream where I had had the camera. At around 4.30am, Torres shivered and growled and saw a pair of does being chased by a small 8 point. When things calmed down he rocked again, with a longer streak of around 90 seconds. “As soon as I finished I looked up and saw a big deer coming towards me. He come right into the fence with me, about where I had cut those limbs. He stopped to scratch and was about to cross the stream. Torres buried the pin on his vital signs and triggered the shot. The male gave a loud roar when the arrow hit and came a short distance before Torres saw his legs twist. He tipped about thirty meters from the stand.

Holden Torres with a big Kansas dollar
Torres admires his trophy. Holden torres

“I called Austin and I said ‘I just shot him’ and he said ‘The one in the video?’ and I told him I was looking at him, dead. Austin said he was right to finish, and when he got there we walked together over to the buck and slapped on the back and hugged each other. I couldn’t speak. The male looked like a dinosaur. I finally said, ‘Austin, I don’t know what to say.’

“He said to me, ‘I just shot a giant, that’s what you say.'”

Hunters showing antlers to buck
Torres and Bass show off their trophies from an incredible DIY buddy hunt. Holden torres

“Giant” is an apt description for the Torres dollar, the green of which returned 199â…œ inches. “He just took his mace everywhere,” says Torres. The smallest circumference measurement was 4-6 / 8 inches. The two main beams are over 25 inches and the G2 of the buck are over 12 inches. With a score of 90 on the right and 89 on the left, plus a 20-inch interior gap, the dollar almost broke the 200-inch mark for the typical, which is rare indeed. “I’ve been archery since I was little, and honestly, I didn’t think it was possible for a guy like me to kill something that big. Austin and I have had some pretty amazing hunts, but I doubt we’ll have another year like this.