Timber Trails whitetail hunts are conducted on private land in southeast Kansas: Craig Boddington's farm and adjoining neighbors Chuck and Ruth Herbel’s Timber Trails Ranch, combined with leased private ground, total about 1500 acres. Boddingtons and Herbels are partners in our deer hunting and join together to provide the best experience possible.
We focus on rifle deer season, which is limited to 12 days and traditionally starts the Wednesday after Thanksgiving. In order to take advantage of this short season we offer two five-day hunts, two rotations of five hunters each, with maximum accommodation for six hunters.
Southeast Kansas is low, rolling ridges covered with heavy oak timber. With thick cover and noisy leaf litter, stand hunting is our primary option. We have about 24 stands, combining sturdy two-person treestands with tower blinds, sited over foot plots, feeding areas, and along traditional movement patterns.
We have a dense deer population with a high buck-to-doe ratio and a good age-class distribution. Our mature bucks average from the 130s to the 160s. Larger bucks are occasionally seen and taken in our area…these are elusive!
Our goal is to make sure our hunters enjoy a great Kansas deer hunt! We promise good food, warm and clean accommodations, lots of laughs and enjoyable evenings around the fire or at the bar. In a five-day hunt we expect our hunters to get opportunities at good, mature whitetails!
The Boddington house and Timber Trails bunkhouse have private bedrooms with double occupancy available for couples. Accommodations are at Craig's house or Timber Trails’ comfortable bunkhouse. We converge at Timber Trails for mealtimes, often joined by neighbors and friends.
No sleeping bag required! Weather varies widely, from a possible low in the high teens into the sixties, so “layered” clothing is recommended plus raingear. In case of wet or unusually cold weather we have adequate enclosed blinds and will provide propane heaters. Kansas requires blaze orange hat and coat or vest. Comfortable boots, warm socks, gloves, hat with earflaps, flashlight, personal items.
We recommend scoped rifles from .243 to .30-caliber. We have scoped rifles for “loaners” (.270, .308, 7x57). Bench, backstop, and targets are on-site…recommend arrival midafternoon the day before the hunt for zeroing; range remains available. Our shots average 125 yards; few stands have shots beyond 200 yards.
Typically, hunters are on stand about an hour before sunrise, with shooting light a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset. Most hunters take a break during the midday hours; at the blind we agree on a pickup time, depending on weather, movement, and preference. We gather at Timber Trails for a hot lunch, then back to a stand or blind by 3:00 pm, with pickup just after shooting light.
WIFI at lodging. Some stands have good cell coverage.
A Kansas nonresident deer permit is “good” for the stated unit plus adjacent units. Our Unit 12 is bordered by Units 11, 13, and 14, so these are 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th choices. So far, all hunters who apply properly in April have drawn and received permits.
As in most whitetail hunting, our deer movement is weather-dependent. We hope for clear, chilly, relatively calm weather. We cannot control the weather and, since our season always starts the Wednesday after Thanksgiving, we cannot control the moon phase, either. Over time, 90 percent of our hunters have an opportunity at a mature whitetail they would like to take. Many hunters pass “good” bucks waiting for “great.” This can work…but in thick woods a given buck seen may not be seen again. We have no “harvest rules” …if you like a buck, take it! We encourage our hunters to allow for a full five days. My experience in all hunting worldwide is “the last day is as good as the first” …and vice versa!
Our preference is to harvest our deer “one doe for every buck” and the license includes an antlerless tag along with an “any whitetail” tag. We are a “one buck” state, but additional antlerless tags are available “over the counter.” Coyotes may be taken (please!); bobcats by permit only.
Our area has remained free of both CWD and EHD.
Craig and Chuck handle field care; we initially hang deer at Craig’s barn. Most hunters who drive take their venison home with them. Inexpensive but excellent processing is available in Elk City, 10 minutes away. We also recommend Wright Bros. Taxidermy in Moline, 30 minutes away, affordable and excellent for whitetails. Processing, taxidermy, and shipping are at hunter’s expense.