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Buhler High senior knocks off deer-hunting milestone with first buck using bow; rifle season underway

Josh Rouse
jrouse@cjonline.com
Buhler High School senior Nathan Fideldy, of Hutchinson, holds up the first buck he's shot with a bow, which he harvested on Nov. 22 near the Arkansas River.

Last week, I wrote about a high school senior in Kansas who went on her first hunting trip with her family.

This week, I’ll tell you about a Hutchinson high schooler who had his own first while deer hunting this past month.

Nathan Fideldy, 18, a senior at Buhler High School in Reno County, is certainly no stranger to the deer woods.

Fideldy began hunting from a deer stand with his father, Brad, when he was just 5 years old. He shot his first deer at 8, and has now shot 13 since.

But he had never shot one with a compound bow — that is, until a few weeks ago, when he took down his 10th buck.

“Last year in October, I got a compound but filled my tag before I was able to get it sighted in,” Fideldy said. “This year, my goal was to shoot a decent buck with a compound.”

In early October, Fideldy decided to check out some land on the Arkansas River for that purpose.

“I set a ground blind up on the river bank so I could see both sides of the river,” Fideldy said. “I wasn't able to learn much about the deer from that blind, but in late October the deer had made a scrape line 60 yards from it. I set a camera up on a scrape and learned the deer were coming by about 8:30 a.m.”

On Nov. 15, he said he watched four small bucks cross the river behind his blind, so he decided then to put up a second stand.

“I set it up so the scrape line was 30 yards behind me and the river crossing was 30 yards in front of me,” Fideldy said.

Then on Nov. 22, on a silent morning following a rainy Saturday, the magic struck.

“At 7:56 a.m., I look right and see a buck using the scrape line,” Fideldy said. “I can see two tines sticking up on his left side, so I know instantly that he is big enough for my first buck with a compound. I grab my bow and draw back. The second he steps into my shooting lane, I stop him and let my arrow fly into both of his lungs.”

Fideldy said he watched the buck run and stop 50 yards from where he shot him.

“I can see part of his antlers through the trees, and in my head I'm saying, ‘Go down, go down,’ ” Fideldy said. “Then I hear leaves being kicked around like he fell over. I stay in the stand for another hour just to give him some time. The second I get to where I hit him, there is blood all over the ground and I'm like, ‘This deer is dead.’ ”

He said the buck certainly wasn’t the biggest he’s ever shot, but that the buck fever was just as potent as when he shot his first deer.

Though he did the ground work for this deer himself, Fideldy said he had a watchful eye sitting in the other blind just up the riverbank about 50 yards — his dad.

“So he was able to hear me stop the deer and shoot it,” Nathan said.

The archery season in Kansas continues through Dec. 31, while the regular rifle season began Wednesday and will run through next Sunday, Dec. 13. An extended, whitetail antlerless-only season will kick off Jan. 1, 2021, in every deer unit except for DMU 18 in extreme southwest Kansas. There is also an extended archery season in Unit 19 from Jan. 25-31, 2021.

For more information on Kansas deer units, go to https://tinyurl.com/y5z6tfvg/.

Field and stream

Besides being a successful hunter, Fideldy is also right at home in a bass boat. The senior teamed with fellow Crusader Preston Gover to earn the Kansas BASS Nation High School Angler Team of the Year award in 2019-20. He was also a first-team member of The Topeka Capital-Journal’s first Kansas High School All-State Bass Fishing Team, announced in August.

The Crusader club had several notable finishes in 2019-20, including a second place at La Cygne Reservoir and fourth-place finishes in the online qualifier and season opener on Melvern. Fideldy also qualified for the KBN state team on the adult side, winning the June qualifier in the co-angler division at Grand Lake, Okla., with a two-day bag of 19.82 pounds.

So far this season, the Crusaders are looking to continue their success on the water. Fideldy and Gover started slow, finishing 11th in the 2020-21 season opener Sept. 26 on Perry Reservoir in Jefferson County, with just 2.32 pounds at the scales. However, they bounced back in a big way to take third in the second qualifier Oct. 3 on Melvern Reservoir with 5.12 pounds, including a 3.24-pounder.

The high school and youth seasons are now on break, with the start of spring fishing tentatively planned for March 2021 at Table Rock Lake in Missouri, permit pending. An April tournament at Wilson Reservoir also is tentatively planned.

No dates or lakes have been officially announced yet for spring, however.

With this being his final spring to fish at the high-school level before graduating, Fideldy said he has mixed feelings on the end of his journey.

“I wish the tournaments would start right now, but I know I will miss them once they are gone,” he said.

For more information on the Kansas BASS Nation youth programs, contact youth director Travis Burch by phone at 913-562-4660 or by email at travis.burch@kguardkansascity.com.

RIP Ron

The fishing world said a sad goodbye this past week to Minnesota Fishing Hall of Famer Ron Lindner, one of the greats of the sport, who died Monday at the age of 86.

Lindner and his brother, Al, invented many fishing lures you've probably used at some point, including the Lindy Rig — a favorite of many a walleye angler.

Besides lure design, Ron Lindner was also a professional guide, professional tournament angler, promoter, writer, publisher, book author, TV producer, radio host and internet host.

He will be missed.