Nebraska Spear Hunter Kills Whitetail Buck from the Ground

Nebraska Spear Hunter Kills Whitetail Buck from the Ground Outdoor Life

Spear Hunter Kills Whitetail Buck: Her Unique Approach

Times have changed since the first hunt Angie Kokes went on as a teenager. Sitting all day and seeing no animals made her question the traditional methods of deer hunting. The next day, she ventured out alone, determined to find a different approach.

Fast forward 34 years to October 10, when Kokes found herself on her ranch in North Loop, Nebraska, holding a 6-foot, 3-inch spear. With years of practice behind her, she crept over a bank and spotted a buck about eight feet away. She threw the spear, marking a new level of achievement in her hunting journey.

Spear hunting may not be familiar to many American hunters. Often associated with primitive tools, it has evolved into a method that requires extreme skill and patience, similar to bowhunting. In Nebraska, spear hunting is legal for deer, elk, mountain sheep, turkey, and antelope, with a few restrictions.

Kokes has faced criticism and skepticism about her spear hunting practice, but she engages in open conversations to address concerns. Her goal is to prove that spear hunting can be a humane and effective method. She believes that her lethal throws from close range are more ethical compared to nonlethal bullets or broadheads that can leave game animals wounded.

The devastation caused by a spear’s exit wound is undeniable.

Spear hunting is often associated with baiting, leading some to view it as more of a stunt than a serious hunting method. However, stalking a bedded whitetail buck from a mere few feet away requires incredible skill. Kokes takes her hunting style seriously, and her successful throw on that October day proved her dedication.

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The Buck Stops There

After receiving a tip from a friend about a buck in her property’s creek bottom, Kokes wasted no time. She grabbed her spears without changing out of her t-shirt and shorts.

With the understanding that whitetails can disappear in an instant, she embarked on a stealthy stalk, staying aware of wind and cover. When she reached a bank, she thought the buck had vanished in the thick undergrowth. But a glimmer of sunlight reflecting off an antler revealed the buck’s presence.

Nebraska Spear Hunter Kills Whitetail Buck from the Ground Outdoor Life

Although throwing a spear from the ground was new for Kokes, she didn’t hesitate. Her usual treestand shots involve a downward trajectory, aiming for a pass-through behind the shoulder to ensure a quality blood trail. The range for her throws is limited to 10 yards. Recognizing the perfect shot opportunity, she launched the spear.

The spear hit the buck dead-center, resulting in a quick and humane kill. Kokes was amazed that the buck didn’t flee but dropped right where it stood.

Built From the Ground Up

Spear hunting continues to be a controversial topic in America. Some high-profile incidents, such as a spear-hunting video involving a Canada black bear, sparked outrage and led to a ban on the practice in Canada. However, for Kokes, spear hunting is a true passion rather than a mere stunt.

Dedicated to honing her skills, Kokes practices multiple times a week. She uses Sabertooth spears designed by Tim Wells, which are lighter and thinner than standard spears, allowing her to throw with more force. She gets as close as possible to her target animals to ensure an ethical throw and aims for a pass-through wound every time. Her journey has been shaped by years of humbling experiences as a novice hunter.

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Due to a bicep tear and subsequent surgeries, Kokes faced uncertainty about her ability to draw a compound bow. After recovering and proving herself to her husband, she committed to hunting with her compound bow and vowed to spear a bear someday. Her determination led to her acquiring skills in ground hunting.

At the Crossroads

Kokes’ passion for spear hunting has taken her on various adventures, including black bear hunting in Alaska and plains game hunting in Africa. She spends most of her time pursuing Nebraska whitetails.

Her future goals include harvesting a 200-plus-inch whitetail buck that has eluded her for three years, as well as an elk hunt. Alongside her hunting pursuits, Kokes and her husband manage their family cattle ranch and trailer business. Her work allows her to dedicate as many days as possible to hunting legally. She also mentors women in bird hunting, helping them build confidence in the field.

Kokes’ hunting journey has been long and filled with lessons. From her early hunting days, when she had to learn from her mistakes, to her groundbreaking kill of a whitetail buck from a close distance, every step has shaped her as a hunter.