January 8, 2022, Hunt
#42, P.M. (The End)
Doe mission again.
Mission accomplished. Used the same 185
arrow. Shot for the shoulder. Complete
pass-through with the slow 630+ grain
arrow. Stuck in the frozen tundra.
Second deer using a tension release.
It's surprising how repetition in the
basement translates to push and
pull-through in the field. The release
was a total surprise and the pin was
buried in the shoulder. Perfect! Lots of
blood on this recovery but none was
actually needed as I watched her fall.
That puts a wrap on
the 21/22 Iowa deer season. Great antler
growth this year. Exceptional in fact.
There are some beasts (BEASTS) still
standing. Good luck in 2022 to my
friends that have the opportunity to
hunt these 200"+ monsters. Cherish
that opportunity. It rarely happens,
even in Iowa. I hope they survive the
Let's hope for an
early planting season again. I think
that had a huge impact on the extreme
antler growth in 2021. Deer need those
minerals in March. Lots of protein.
populations were down. I was fortunate
to have a great season. Others did not.
I had the opportunity to witness things
I had never seen before. Some targets
are dead but others survived. Time to
bring the equipment home.
Queue Dandy Don
"Turn out the lights, the party's
January 2, 2022,
Hunt #41, P.M.
First late season
hunt. Cold. Too cold. I bailed early.
Had deer go by right where I wanted them
to. I was on a doe mission but deer were
too close and it was too quiet. I wasn't
prepared. Deer wanted a drink. spent
quite a bit of time at the creek before
heading for feed.
November 27/28, 2021,
Hunt #40, P.M. 9 (Conclusion)
...the Easton 6.5 hit
about mid height in the lung/liver area
at 31 yards. The damn lighted nock never
turned on. I did see the arrow fly. It
totally disappeared into the body. I
could not believe what had just
happened. After my equipment issues a
couple of weeks ago, everything came
together, not perfect, but good enough.
I had gotten an arrow in the #1 buck
that I knew of (on this property),
though I never expected it to happen. No
doubt this was a dead deer but would I
find him? He was only on my side of the
fence a small percentage of his
day....but he had become a little bit
repetitious recently. That repetition
allowed me to adjust, and move in tight.
Calling was not going to work.
After the shot, he
took off like a rocket over the hill. I
stood in disbelief, had I possibly
killed the largest buck of my bowhunting
career? I waited until dark and then
quietly eased up to check on the arrow.
Holy smokes. It looks good. The heavy
arrow achieved a complete pass-through
and had stuck in the ground. No
intestine material (Great!). Bright red
blood. Hallelujah! I slowly eased along
his exit route; blood, a little more
blood. Not spraying but definitely
enough to keep my interest. The hit was
high enough I knew the body cavity would
take on a lot of the blood. One step at
a time. Regular blood. We all know how
hard it is to follow blood in switch or
brome grass. Blood was regular, high and
low on the grass. The trail took me into
pure brome grass. After 80 yards it was
getting a little too difficult to see.
My night vision sucks anyway. Price of
getting old. I backed out for the night.
Overnight temperatures would be in the
I was on the ground at
sunrise. Started over. Holy smokes. More
blood in the daylight than in pitch
black with an handheld LED and hat
light. The blood was much easier to
follow and more than I thought. I got to
the end of last night's search limit.
Blood was good in the brome. After about
thirty yards I could see a white belly
but no rack. Could it be? Unbelievable
and no coyote damage. No way this just
happened to me. I stood in disbelief for
minutes, and thought about all the time
and commitment it took to get to this
point. What an Iowa whitetail specimen?
Wow! Totally humbled. How can a deer
grow so much bone in just a few short
I notched my tag,
placed it on his left beam and
immediately registered the buck on-line.
Registration approved! He was officially
mine. I shared the pictures with my wife
and family first. Once I knew family had
received the photos I started notifying
friends. We all have a close group that
are aware of each-other's pursuits. I
got a few "Hell Yeahs!",
"Sweets" and "Awesomes"
and lots of "Congratulations".
They know what this accomplishment means
to me. It is a big deal in my life.
Thanks to everybody that helped,
especially those that had this deer on
their radar screen. He is a special
Just a few of the many
pictures and no I haven't scored him
yet. My close hunting friends know that
score isn't my priority. The whole
experience IS my priority. And sorry for
the day delay. Lots of deer duty on
November 27, 2021,
Hunt #40, P.M.
Headed for my new spot
with a freshly timed Ventum 30 and other
adjustments. What the hell am I thinking
making all these changes at the last
minute? Changed out my arrows midday too
and went with the Easton 6.5s with the
200 grain single bevel VPAs. Needed a
mental change I guess. I also took my
Silverback tension release too. Wasn't
sure I would use it but I've had major
issues the last two weeks punching the
Only set foot in this
area once the entire fall and that was
to hang a camera in August or September,
don't remember. Looked like a northwest
wind in the morning so wanted to setup
this spot in daylight in lieu of the
dark. Little longer shot than I like but
for ground blind hunting, 30 yards plus
or minus with good cover is my
preference. It was windy so I assumed I
could maneuver enough to get the arrow
sent. Shot would be an upward angle. Had
some branches about ten yards in front
of me that needed trimmed. It was a
gamble to make that much noise but no
shot in that lane if I didn't cut them.
First deer out were a
doe and fawn. No clue I was there. Good.
More deer up the hill but not sure what
they were. Next deer out were a couple
of fawns. No clue I was there. Next deer
out was Big Boy. No clue I was there.
Decision time. I hooked the Silverback
up. Drew back. Waited for the pin to
settle. Released the safety. It didn't
fire. Relaxed, settled the pin and
pulled through the shot. 632 grains
continued.....ending is pending.
November 27, 2021,
Hunt #39, A.M.
Hunted an evening
stand in the morning. Followed my
philosophy of sometimes you need to do
the opposite. Saw lots of deer this
morning including quite a few bucks but
a good 150 yards away. Saw the shooter
again. Still no interest in rattling,
wheezing, grunting or can calling. I'm
done educating him. Need to close the
distance. I think I have my next ground
location identified as long the shot
distance is close enough.
I actually planned to
go to this spot this morning and do a
clear and hunt. Changed my mind when I
parked. Stupid! Typical for me this time
of year. Tired and indecisive.
Short hunt. Deer had
moved past and didn't anticipate more
showing up. Good hunt.
November 26, 2021,
Hunt #38, A.M.
Deer were moving in
slow motion. Had a posse of four bucks
that included three dinks and one busted
up three year old. Half heartedly
harassing some fawns. The three year old
and one yearling got close. They moseyed
over the bluff.
Got eyes on a target
at about one hundred yards. Not
interested in any of my calling. He kept
Deer kept trickling in
from feeding. The morning hunt ended
sooner than normal. Turkey time with the
November 25, 2021,
Hunt #37, P.M.
Later than usual
getting to the tree. Family time was the
priority. I got permission to leave. As
soon as I got settled, a small buck came
chasing some fawns down the hill. Great
start! Down wind though. He went back
where he came from but came out later in
the same spot and gave me a scent pass.
There was a party he wanted to attend.
Lots of does and fawns
were coming out. Only a matter of time
before a shooter appeared. A 145-150
class appeared north of me. Where did he
come from? Then something cleared the
field behind me. No idea what was going
on. Dang it! One spooky deer this time
of year can take the whole herd with
them. It was early enough so I hoped
something might appear.
After twenty minutes
they started to filter back out but in
different locations. Some near me.
Others not. No shooter would make an
appearance. Chaps my hide when one deer
impacts the whole herd. Much more
comfortable than this morning. A short
hunt but enjoyable.
November 25, 2021,
Hunt #36, A.M.
Short hunt this
morning. It was damn windy and cold.
Thanks to the inventor of Mega Warmers.
Got in too early. Had a buck and doe go
by less than 10 yards. I was on the
ground. I couldn't even tell what buck
it was. That's nonsense on a cold day.
Had a couple of dinks and quite a few
bald deer come in off the feed during
the three hours. No chasing.
I got to my spot and
realized my backpack wasn't on my back.
WTH! Never done that before. I must be
tired. A few minutes later I discovered
my rubber arrow pad had fallen off the
shelf. Then my lighted nock turned on
when I snapped it on the string. ALWAYS
happens in cold weather. What a pain in
the ass! Industry needs to invent a
better product. AND when I got back to
the truck, my zipper got stuck during
the unzip of my jacket and it broke.
Could anything more go wrong? Cold
weather brings out the worst in our
equipment. I needed to get back for a
family dinner on Thanksgiving. Great
dinner. Family helps forget about those
times when things don't go so well.
November 21, 2021,
Hunt #35, P.M.
The plan seemed to
work this morning. Deer poured to the
feed tonight. One shooter. He came out
early. I picked the wrong stand as
usual. If I would have been in the other
stand, he was well within my range of
the OTHER stand for a shot. Also had
another dandy buck rub a tree right
under the stand. Salt in the wounds. Big
ones are still tending but beginning to
think about feed too. Will need to
November 21, 2021,
Hunt #34, A.M.
Had some method to my
madness for this morning's hunt. Really
wanted to go to the place I've had the
shot encounters. It was with a strong
northwest wind each time. But I also
wanted to leave that as a sanctuary to
see if the night movement would be
better. Saw a few bucks and a few does.
No harassment or chasing. Spent an hour
after the hunt adjusting cameras. Trying
to get a better handle on night
movement. It has changed the last month
November 20, 2021,
Hunt #33, P.M.
nonhunting activity on this beautiful
day I went to a different farm. Still experienced
some nonhunting activity. Have yet to
get a picture of a no doubter shooter on
this farm. Saw two of the mature bucks
with lesser racks. I thought the big
bodied 4x4 was tending a doe back in the
timber but when he hit the field he was
on his own heading for the cluster of
does and fawns to check them out. He was
followed by the busted G2 5x4. No
tending that I could see. There was a
two year old running around like crazy
in the two fields checking for love
scent. He was full of energy. He ran
around for the entire time I watched
him. This farm has always produced. I
was even hoping for a bonus buck but it
didn't happen on this night.
I left early. It had
been a long day. One fawn went by in
shooting range. The rest of the deer
exited the timber in numerous locations.
I dressed a little
lighter. That was mistake. I know better
November 20, 2021,
Hunt #32, A.M.
Not one horn. Poor
hunt. Enough said. Very quiet morning.
November 19, 2021,
Hunt #31, P.M.
with all of the bucks around. Needed to
tweak my new setup from yesterday. Much
better now. Comfy. Settled in and waited
and waited and waited. Dud hunt. Saw a
150 class at 150 yards tending a doe.
Have seen him quite a few times. Not
sure he's going to grow much bigger.
Definitely mature. Had a busted up two
year old go by at 35 yards. He looked
tuckered. Watched him feed for about
fifteen minutes, he saw a doe and the
chase was on. I guess not so tired.
My fawn friend found
my new stand. She fed under the stand
for a half hour, checked the scent of
the one fawn that walked by and came
right back to feed under my stand.
That's the third stand and they are
spaced out quite a ways. What's up with
this youngster? She watched me climb
down, unhook my bow and extend my saw. I
wanted to trim a few more shooting lanes
before I headed back to the truck. She's
ten yards away. Sorry little rascal but
you will not survive the winter.
Also listened to a
rooster pheasant and squirrel have a
conversation. The squirrel was perched
about forty feet above the rooster. The
rooster would cackle or whatever you
call it. The squirrel would bark once.
Rooster once. Squirrel once. This went
on for about five minutes. The squirrel
got bored and the rooster won. Not seen
or heard that before. Funny.
Poor afternoon hunt
compared to others.
November 19, 2021,
Hunt #30, A.M.
What a great hunt.
Started off slow. Hunted an 'off' wind.
Not directly in my favor means I have to
give something up. I've hunted a lot of
these hunts this year. I've had a lot of
good hunts too. Gene Wensel and Roger
Rothaar know what they are talking about
(Roger has passed by the way). Small
buck and some fawns started the day. The
fawns unfortunately didn't miss my scent
stream. They were nervous (knew
something was there) but let me off the
Saw another buck back
in the trees. Glassed. Big shooter. It's
on. Go for the bow. He was single and
checking a lot of scent in the area. He
closed the gap to 45 yards. No shot and
too far for me anyway. He turned and
went the other way. Hung the bow back up
and and tried to rattle him back. He
turned but didn't step closer. I
wheezed. Same. Broke out the grunt tube.
Still didn't turn him. Damn! He walked
off into the timber. Dandy!
Continued to watch as
numerous small bucks milled around or
filed by. Heard something behind me and
to my left. Another potential shooter.
Glassed. Do not recognize this buck.
Bonus buck. He got out of range too
quick before my decision could be made.
He was definitely the bull of the woods
when he walked through the few small
bucks milling around. Do not know the
final answer if he's a shooter or not.
He looked the part. Need a better look
or a picture.
Things quieted down.
Good mornings lead to high anticipation
for afternoon hunts.
November 18, 2021,
Hunt #29, P.M.
Sat the new stand. Too
many clothes to stay warm. Freedom of
movement was lacking.
November 18, 2021,
Hunt #28, A.M.
Another good hunt. Saw
two decent bucks and numerous small
bucks. Windy right off the get-go. Sat a
new spot. I wanted to observe an area in
the morning. Great hidey-hole to. had a
doe come running towards me. Immediately
went for my bow assuming one of the
targets were following. Nothing. Finally
at least 15 minutes later a big bodied,
very mature 4x4 came panting up the
hill. Five yards and he spotted me. He
turned inside out. 140 class. He stopped
at 20 then continued limping down the
hill. Junior buck was following him all
Also saw the dandy ten
from the night before. Those two crossed
paths and the three year old ten cleared
the way. The body is huge on the 4x4 he
would have killed that other buck.
Good hunt. Hung a
November 17, 2021,
Hunt #27, P.M.
Windy and coolish.
High expectations. Set a new camera
going in. Saw a 150 in the distance.
I've had a few encounters with him.
Moving early. More young bucks were on
the move. Then I had an experience I
can't quite put into words yet.
Unbelievable. Need a few months to sort
Decided to rattle
after sunset. Heard something behind me
and an awesome looking young 5x5 came
looking for action. I don't recollect
seeing this buck before or having
pictures of him. Mid forties maybe.
Maybe 150. He is a thoroughbred. If he
survives the December onslaught the next
two seasons he might be beautiful. Three
year old is my guess. He was ready for
Great hunt. Rising
moon maybe? You be the judge. Heading to
the basement to shoot some more arrows.
These close encounters have me jacked.
Need to be as ready as possible. I
wasn't ready a few days ago.
November 17, 2021,
Hunt #26, A.M.
Holy smokes the
morning was on fire for about an
hour-and-a-half. Deer were snorting at
me when I arrived at my spot. They
didn't know what was going on in the
dark but it wasn't right for their deer
woods. I actually don't mind all the
snorting in November. It always draws in
the bucks. It did too. Right off the bat
I had a tough decision on a dandy buck
right in the sweet spot. He got a walk.
Does and small bucks still had me
eyeballed. They would feed and then give
me a look. This went on for awhile.
Muscles got tight for sure. Some
circulation was lacking.
I had two mature does
coming from the northwest right at me. I
saw a follower. Target buck. Some damn
deer activist was still snorting at me.
The trio looked and listened until one
doe finally found what all the ruckus
was all about. She stared a laser beam
right through me for a while. Small
bucks were wondering in to check out the
does. Target buck would have none of
that. He was at 35 yards but no way to
go for my bow. Totally pinned down. Then
a chase came blasting through and sucked
the target buck into the fray. Dang it!
Wanted another chance at him. Same spot
The deer eventually
wondered off and the action was over by
about 8:30. Headed out to pull some
cameras, replace batteries and check
photos. Had some non-cell cameras that
were way overdue. I was hoping a shooter
had moved in during my absence. No go. A
few borderline mature deer posed for the
camera but they just don't quite equal
what I'm chasing on the other farm.
Great hunt. Got some
November 16, 2021,
Hunt #25, P.M.
Short hunt compared to
the last ten days. Went deeper into the
woods. Saw a few fawns and and a couple
of bucks. The movement was late. The
later buck pushed a doe right towards my
ground location which was new by the way.
She definitely got the deer in the
headlights look when she saw me at five
yards. He had no clue I was there. That
was the end of the night. Very slow day
compared to the last week.
November 16, 2021,
Hunt #24, A.M.
Went to the top of a
ridge. Transition from feed to bedding.
Did not see a shooter. All the buck
movement was relatively lethargic. Had
my friend the doe fawn camp under my
tree again. This youngster will not
survive the winter. It has major
digestive problems of some sort. It's
whole back end is runny fecal mater.
Never have seen this fawn with a doe.
Something happened I'm sure.
Today the fawn fed
directly below the tree for a half hour.
Left and came back. I wanted to get back
to town and mow the yard for the last
time so planned to leave early. I
lowered my bow, the dang fawn came over
and literally touched her nose to the
Hoyt Ventum 30. She finally left when I
climbed down. She is my shitty ass
little friend for sure. Literally.
Saw a handful of bucks
including a nice two year old ten. He
was my limper from the other day. He
looks fine now. A very slow day.
November 15, 2021,
Hunt #23, P.M.
Tried a totally
different location with this east wind.
Had watched bucks push does by this spot
in the evenings the last week. No go
tonight. Saw quite a few small bucks
headed for the party in the field with
the does and fawns. I watched one buck
make a swing around a patch of cover on
the downwind side. Fun to watch them go
to work. He passed by at twenty yards.
He had no clue I was there. No shooters
It was awfully quiet
when the night ended. Surprising.
November 15, 2021,
Hunt #22, A.M.
Who the heck throttled
back my rut action. If November 15th is
the rut peak in Iowa it makes sense all
the mature bucks were with does. I
didn't hear any grunting. I saw only one
small buck chasing a doe with triplets.
The urgency seemed lacking. They might
have ran all night too. Cell cams ready
didn't show it.
I had a two or three
year old walk by. He looked like he was
on a mission to get somewhere. He came
back by a half hour later limping and
appeared to have a roughed up spot on
his side. Wish I would have seen the
Pulled two cameras on
the way out. Good pictures.
November 14, 2021,
Hunt #21, P.M.
Moved closer to feed
in the afternoon. Immediately had buck
movement. Little bucks on the move. Was
hoping I would have one of the shooter
bucks do the same. The buck I missed
this morning was single and he was
looking for love. Why not give me a
second chance? Wind was going to die
down. I was concerned about the
quietness and the ability to get off a
shot. About 4:30 heard a ruckus. Lots of
grunting, I think it was #1 target buck
headed my way chasing a doe. He was also
fending off a kamikaze buck as he chased
his mate. Went for my bow. Should have
went for my glass to confirm. Have yet
to lay eyes on him. They veered away and
out of sight. Never saw them again.
Closest they got was 70-80 yards.
November 14, 2021,
Hunt #20, A.M.
Bucks seemed in slow
motion this morning. Didn't see as many
as recent hunts so I relocated further
north. Got my stool adjusted and settled
in to enjoy the beautiful day that was
unfolding. It felt like a deer movement
kind of day.
Saw movement off to my
left. Target buck! He had come in from
behind me at 11:30. He was wrapping
around the little knoll I was perched
on. Perfect. He had no clue I was there.
I was able to grab my bow. When he got
to my shot location I drew, the pin hit
the body, my thumb went for the trigger.
Then, for some reason, the pin fell low,
off the target. Mentally I was engaged.
The arrow missed low. Clean miss. Damn
it. The one I wanted a shot at. Lots of
work to get to that point. No equipment
malfunction this time other than my
brain. He didn't know what had happened.
I was fumbling for a second arrow but he
walked away too fast. I tried to grunt
him back but no go. He snorted a few
times and continued walking away. Great
hunt. Lousy execution.
November 13, 2021,
Hunt #19, P.M.
I got in the stand
early in the afternoon. Had a buck
tending a doe close by before I even got
settled. I watched the massive 120 breed
the doe a couple of times. Lots of other
small bucks around at the time. They
wanted some of that action but he walked
them off. Had a very small fawn feed
literally right below the tree for a
good half hour. I don't think this fawn
will survive the winter. Youngster. With
that quick start, my expectations for
the afternoon were high but those
expectations were not met. Saw a 150 ten
in the distance tending a doe. Again it
was a good hunt but no shooters.
Sunset was beautiful
tonight after the light rain. Who
forecast that rain anyway? I don't think
November 13, 2021,
Hunt #18, A.M.
Went back to the place
I was yesterday, confident that the
sensitivity of my thumb triggers was
correct now. I had spent so much time on
my new Hoyt Ventum 30 and heavy arrow
setup I neglected my thumb triggers. I
mainly shoot with a tension release
anyway. My bad that the release failed
Saw a lot of bucks and
a lot of bucks within the shoot radius.
Good hunt. Saw one shooter way off in
the distance and that was just a quick
glimpse. Hunted until late morning,
trimmed up some shooting lanes and
headed for a stand closer to feed for
the afternoon hunt.
November 12, 2021,
Hunt #17, P.M.
After a truck lunch
and messing with both my releases I
headed back to the same spot. It was out
of the wind and there were two shooters
I did not see in the morning. Practice
drew this time with backup release.
Arrow goes flying. What in the hell is
going on? I figured out the problem on
the backup release, it's the trigger location
I have setup, not the locking mechanism.
It's tight. Forgot my allen wrenches.
Practice drew a few more times. We're
good. Just need to be careful with the
Deer all around me
again. Feeding on locust pods. A button
buck had taken up residence by my spot
while I was gone. Shooed him away. Had a
150 5-year old with a doe early. 25
yards. Let him pass.
As the day wore on
more does appeared and more young bucks
appeared. Too many were downwind. They
were looking for the stench but couldn't
see me blended into the tree trunk.
Funny. Had a doe bed about 40 yards
upwind. No clue I was there. Deer
started to spend way to much time
downwind. That's when I saw him. One of
the other shooters. He was with a doe.
Dang he's wide and big bodied. He paused
about 30 yards out tending to his doe
but the shot would have been tough. I
passed hoping she would lead him closer.
No go. They went the opposite direction.
I had tried to range his location but
too many branches were giving me a bad
read. By this time I was shaking almost
uncontrollably from being cold and the
adrenalin rush. I was taking deep
breaths to try and calm down. She ran
him in a circle. Here we go again. This
time he never stopped in a shooting
lane. He just walked through it. I
hooked the bow up and tried to calm down
hoping they would come by again. It
didn't happen. Outstanding hunts today
but oh so disappointing. Mentally spent
battling the wind all day and having
close encounters with two shooters.
November 12, 2021,
Hunt #16, A.M.
Hunt full of extreme
emotions. Wasn't sure I wanted to sit in
these strong winds in the morning but
drug myself out of bed and headed out.
There is only one rut per year. It's go
time. Figured I could survive on the
ground and out of the heavy wind. Went
to a spot I hunt maybe once or twice a
year. Limited cover, great vision and
typically pass-through activity a good
portion of the day. Edge of bedding. It
didn't disappoint. Had deer near me as I
was getting settled so I did not
practice draw. It was lightly snowing so
stuck my thumb release in my pocket to
keep it warm and dry. Deer all around me
most of the morning. Upwind. Downwind.
Sidewind. You name it. A little bit of
chasing but many were feeding out of the
At 10:10 one of my
targets was coming from my right. He was
single. I grabbed my bow. Clipped my
release on. At 15 yards he looked right
at me for a split second but continued
on, I must have blended well enough into
the monster tree trunk that he didn't recognize
the human. As he continued, I began my
draw for the shot. The trigger tripped
and sent the arrow on a trajectory that
was only stopped by a deadfall on the
forest floor some 80 yards from my
ground postion. Of course he split the
scene. Horrible feeling. No idea what
happened. I assumed I tripped the button
with the bundle of clothes I had on but
after spending some time at the truck
during a break it appears the locking
mechanism....isn't fully locking.
sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't.
A practice draw early might have
indicated I have a problem. This release
immediately goes to injured reserve
until I can determine the problem. I
spend a lot of time on equipment
preparation and still have failures.
He's a dandy buck.
Been around quite a few years according
to my cameras. Frustrating.
November 11, 2021,
Hunt #15, P.M.
Moved closer to feed
in the afternoon. I figured it was warm
so I could handle the wind. STUPID stand
choice. That cedar was like a bucking
bronco for a couple of hours. Worst
windy stand set ever. I should have
climbed down but I had some camera
activity in the morning that convinced
me to stay put. The wind finally laid
down enough the last hour that I could
enjoy the hunt. Had a dandy 5-year old
150 follow a doe right by the tree at 10
yards. He's a tank. Lots of pictures.
The wind was
relentless today but tomorrow is going
to be a special kind of windy. Sounds
like a ground hunt to me.
November 11, 2021,
Hunt #14, A.M.
Decided to go on a
walk-about this morning. Deeper in the
woods to try and lay eyes on a
particular buck. Took my trusty stool
and setup shop by some large pin oaks I
know well from the past. Day started off
fast as I had a 150 class trail a doe
right through the shooting lane.
Activity was good the next hour or so as
bucks were chasing does and fawns
everywhere. The location felt like an
orphanage as there were fawns
everywhere. I even had two of the little
rascals try and bed down about 10 yards away.
I shooed them away. I didn't want them
to ruin my morning. I could hear the
wind roaring above. My location was out
of the heavy wind but swirling badly. I
think I went through half a bottle of
Wind Detector. Had a handful of deer go
through my scent cone but they let me
off the hook. Headed for the truck
November 10, 2021,
Hunt #13, A.M.
Tried to get in some
hunting before the forecasted rain
event. Assumed it would be raining this
morning so got up late. It wasn't. Got
dressed and headed out. My arrival was
late or at least in my mind it was late.
I honestly believe anytime you want to
head for the tree, the first couple of
weeks November, you can do that.
Another good hunt.
Three different does with tending bucks.
One had two suitors. One duo made a pass
right by my perch. The buck was a dandy.
Dang hard pass. The flurry of action
lasted about an hour then it got quiet.
checked a couple of non-cell cameras.
Had a new buck or two. One is quite
special but needs a couple of years. I
November 9, 2021,
Hunt #12, ALL DAY
I think this hunt
equaled or topped yesterday's. My stand
is a long ways from feed so I expect the
action to start late. It did. The
morning was mostly small bucks and a few
does. Back and forth. Some chasing.
I had one of the
subordinate bucks ten yards from the
stand grunting and eyeballing another
buck. This subordinate is a 2-year-old
with a busted up rack. He looks like a
future bully with definite antler
potential. I had bucks and does 360°
around my perch. They could smell me but
gave me a pass. Crazy action. Little
bucks were going back and forth a good
part of the day. I only got a quick
glimpse of the shooter at 70 yards.
Iowa deer hunting at
it's finest today. I hope it stays this
good the next few days. Makes the
all-day sits go fast.
November 8, 2021,
Hunt #11, ALL DAY
Where do I begin? The
day started off crappy as I tripped on a
hidden branch under the leaves, crashed
and slammed the new Hoyt Ventum into the
ground. A quick review (in the dark)
indicated the bow survived and I did
too. The rest of the day was
outstanding. Top 3 hunt in recent
hunting memory. The day started off
slow. The buck parade began about 8:30.
There were some lulls but for the most
part, bucks were coming and going all
day long. The last hour exploded with
bucks and chasing everywhere. What a way
to end an all-day perch on a 20-inch
Muddy platform. I saw way more bucks
than does. Albeit many were dinks but
two were shooters. The first shooter was
mid morning. I could just make out his
distinguishable rack over the crest of
the knoll at about 80 yards....with
binoculars of course. I never saw him
At 2:30 I experienced
something I had never seen in all my
years of hunting. I spied a buck
(shooter buck) tailing a doe at about 70
yards. His chin was on her back as she
walked. She walked and he walked. Chin
glued to her back. She stopped, he tried
to mount her, but she was so small
compared to his big body that she
gave-way. She couldn't support him. They
continued on their way and I lost sight
of them over the hill. Fifteen minutes
later they reappeared, about 80 yards
out. Same routine. His chin was on her
back as she walked, zigging and zagging.
She would stop, he would try and mount,
she would give way. All-in-all I watched
about 200 yards of this foreplay. He
must have tried to mount her six times
while in my vision. Never did she run,
just a slow, methodical walk. She
stopped, he tried to mount, no-go, so he
stuck his nose and tongue where he
wanted other parts of his body to be.
Never have I seen such an intimate part
of the whitetail rut. What an encounter.
There was plenty of time left in the day
but the two of them looked exhausted. I
assumed they went over the hill and
continued this ritual or collapsed from
At one point they were
headed downwind and I figured the gig
would be up. They were at 45 yards. Just
before she got downwind, she turned a
180 and headed back where she came from.
One of her zigs turned the couple my way
but it wasn't to be on this day. I had
my bow in my hand as soon as she turned.
Instant adrenalin! As soon as my hopes
rose they were dashed by her final turn
to the east. Watching this pair at 45
yards with 10 power HD binoculars
provided a lot of detail mainly as it
relates to the bone on the buck's head.
Great day! GP out.
November 7, 2021,
Hunt #10, P.M.
As eventful as this
morning's hunt was, tonight's hunt was
just the opposite. Way too much
nonhunting activity. I assume the deer
were in some remote hidey-hole to avoid
all the activity. Saw some small bucks
and a few bald deer but no urgent
Had a small buck eyeball
me from a 100 yards. Have no idea how he
saw me, must have been when I turned to
check on the noise behind me. Yes it was
a squirrel. Frustrating. It was at
primetime too and yes he snorted and ran
off after a 5 minute stare down.
November 7, 2021,
Hunt #9, A.M.
Great morning hunt.
Hunted a stand specifically setup to be
out of a strong south wind. Wanted to
test drive to make sure I didn't get any
kick-backs. Wind seemed constant all
Had a buck tending a
doe right by the tree. Dandy 4x4. He
wasn't quite what I'm looking for.
Definitely mature with a big blocky
head. Lots of grunting and
snort-wheezing. All sorts of bucks came
to play too. He walked off a few of
them. The small bucks avoided any
After 30 minutes of
bucks everywhere, things quieted down.
Great hunt. Wish I could have sat all
day but family things required me to
crawl down from my low perch. It appears
the sweat and strain to hang this stand
was worth it. Deer had no idea I was
there and the stand is low. Trimmed some
darn multi-flora rose that impeded my
entrance. Dang those things lock on
tight. Even yanked a limb dampener right
out of the new Ventum 30. My face has a
few scars too. Rough morning.
November 6, 2021,
Hunt #8, P.M.
Good hunt. Runnin' and
gunnin' for a half hour. Buck chasing a
doe back and forth, left and right. Not
a shooter but definitely part of the
reason we hunt the rut. I know it's warm
but the deer are going to rut. It's that
Saw five bucks and as
many bald deer. The spot I'm in is
finicky with the the southwest wind and
it shouldn't be. I get a few bounce
backs that chap my hide when it happens.
Lots of human activity
on these nice days. Has a major impact
where deer hole-up and then move towards
quitting time. Frustrating.
November 6, 2021,
Hunt #7, A.M.
Camera deployment. Cameras on one farm
have not produced any shooters. Hunted
stand on top of hill to see what is
going on. Saw a few does and one
cruising three year old. left early to
deploy a new camera. That's two new
cameras in the last couple of days. Felt
I need to densify my camera coverage on
this farm. Time will tell the next few
days. Weather is warm but rut is going
to happen no matter what.
November 5, 2021,
Hunt #6, P.M.
Headed out. Put new
batteries in a cell cam and deployed a
new camera on one farm. Headed for the
other farm and fixed the seat and added
a climbing stick on the tree I chose to
hunt. Got a fair amount accomplished.
Darn seat broke last weekend when I was
there. Easy fix. It's in a good spot...I
think...so I need this stand ready to
The hunt was good. One
of the shooters was coming after sunset.
Movement was generally later. He's
bigger than I thought. Big body. Got to
60 yards. I lost sight of him behind
limbs of the cedar I was in and never
saw him again. No clue where he went. I
heard some snorting, chasing, running
and hooves hitting forest floor timbers
earlier. Lots of noise. I assume there
was a doe being tended.
Time to make final
decisions on targets. Go time.
October 31, 2021,
Hunt #5, P.M.
Good hunt. Saw quite a
few bucks and does. Gave up a trail
behind me and as you might expect, some
deer insisted on heading to feed on that
Had a dandy walk right
under the tree (on the good side) and
captured some video. Hard to shoot those
when the trail cameras show you what's
lurking. Had #2 buck at 60 yards at
quitting time. He's a wall of tines. I
did snort wheeze at him a couple of
times, he looked, but something else in
the grass tripped his trigger more.
Did not see any
seeking or chasing yet. Everything was
headed for feed. I assume to hang out
with future girl friends. Daily
escalation is in the forecast.
P.S. Cell camera just
sent some pic's. #1 was about a 150
yards away just after quitting time. He
surely watched me walk out.
October 30, 2021,
Hunt #4, P.M.
Decided to do a long
afternoon hunt this day. Had some bow
tinkering I wanted to do in the morning.
The hunt was pretty slow until late. Saw
a half dozen bald deer near quitting
time. That was it. Pulled SD cards going
in and when I left. Shooters are still
present in the area. I guess that means
My bow tinkering
included identifying the noise coming
from my top limb area when I drew my new
bow. New bows are not supposed to make
noise though my last three Hoyts have.
It always involves a dismantle and some
gun grease. Hey Hoyt, if you're
listening, that's your job not my job.
In this case I found the noise culprit.
It was a limb pocket rocker bolt. It's
greased now. No more noise.
Well, time to roll.
The Iowa deer rut for 2021 is about to
commence. Are you ready!
October 23, 2021,
Hunt #3, P.M.
Wind out of the east.
Coolish. Windchill in the 40s. Needed to
layer up. Saw a dozen bald deer. Lots of
non-hunting activity on the farm and in
this hunt area the last couple of days
according to this witness and my witness
cameras. Par for the course when it's
fall and nice outside. Deer moved late.
Camera cards pulled indicated that all
the bucks, including the big ones, were
on the move on the 21st. If you hunted
that day, you would have had a good hunt
and maybe even killed. I did not hunt.
Moved a camera to a
scrape on my exit this hunt.
I have got a picture
of a fawn that is no doubt less than one
month old or a dwarf. Have yet to see it
in photo with a doe. Probably an orphan.
Doubt it survives. Surprise it's
survived this long.
My cell cameras are
not showing any shooters on one
farm...yet. Very unusual for that farm.
Could simply mean they aren't going by
my cameras or it could mean no shooters
on that farm. Final inventory has a week
to go then the release trigger is
engaged and ready to fire.
think the #Axiusultra is going to lose
its Montana Black Gold sight and gain an
older 3-pin sight. That bow is too heavy
October 17, 2021,
Hunt #2, P.M.
Good hunt. Saw a
handful of does and fawns. One doe by
the tree. Had set a camera by this
stand. Pulled the card. Viewed the card
once I was settled. Good results. Two
real nice bucks including one buck that
is added to the shoot-at list but not on
top of the list. He walked by at high
noon today. Checked another camera that
was close by on my egress. #1 was on
that camera though it was a week ago.
Think I'm in the zone but will need to
be very selective with wind direction.
Beautiful night. Lots
of people out enjoying the Iowa weather.
October 16, 2021,
Hunt #1, P.M.
Killed a 24-inch oak
with a $25 broadhead. Buried to the
threads. No recovery. First trip
hunting. I had drawn the bow to stretch
the muscles. I tripped the darn trigger
on the Nock2It. Dang it. Hunt was a dud
too. A doe and a fawn was it. I should
have assumed it was going to be a poor
first hunt, my windshield smoked a
pheasant on the way out. No damage that
I can tell but it definitely woke me up.
October 16, 2021
Where have I been?
Working. New job. Booming economy in our
little rural area. Civil engineering
projects coming out of my ears. When
you're a licensed civil engineer and
licensed land surveyor there is an
extreme amount of work to do right now.
Bridges. Bridges. Bridges. New GPS
survey equipment. New design software.
Steep learning curve that is starting to
flatten out. It's a blast! Love it!
Oh, and don't let me
forget, my only child, my daughter, was
married October 2nd. Congratulations to
me. I'm way behind when it comes to
anything related to deer hunting.
Playing catch up.
Been focusing on my
archery equipment with any free time
most of the summer....and mowing. Yes, I
do have some shooters on cameras. Big!
And know of a couple that I don't have
on camera. Big! Did some phone skoping
this summer. It's fun. You need to buy a
phone adapter if you don't have one and
a spotting scope if you don't have one.
I'm the proud owner of
a new Hoyt Ventum 30. That bow is sweet.
New binary cams. Went with a shorter
axle-to-axle this year to reduce overall
bow weight. I'm also trying a limb
driven rest...the Hamskea Trinity Hunter
Pro. Supposed to be the best rest on the
market. So far I believe the hype. Very
Also been working on
my heavy arrow setup. 650 grains. Yeah
I'm drinking the Ranch Fairy koolaid but
I know heavy arrows work based on past
experience. One setup will be tipped
with 125 grain Cutthroat broadheads and
the other will be tipped with 200 grain
VPA broadheads. Both setups weigh about
the same. I adjusted the Ethics Archery
components on the front end. About 300
grains on the front. If you want
components with very tight tolerances
then try the Ethics Archery stuff.
Arrows are 300 spine Matrix with the
Cutthroats and 300 spine Easton Hunters
with the VPAs.
Have enough stands up
to get started including three new
setups. Hoping at least one pans out. I
tightened the straps on all the ladders
and outfitted them with hooks, bow ropes
and safety lines. They are good to go.
Lost of work for a one-man-band. Waiting
on the cameras to tell me it's go time
and so far they have not.
No, I have not
officially hunted. Too many things
happening. But ready to go now or close
enough to ready to get some hunt time
in. Cameras haven't proven any
consistent movement yet.
March 7, 2021
New year. Mega
changes. Great new job. Great people. My
archery dojo is reorganized. Bow tuning
is going great. Weather is getting
warmer. Found my first shed. Can't
believe one of my YouTube videos has
somewhere around 21,000 views. Holy
smokes! People like their Iowa
whitetails I guess. That buck is dead by
Today's lesson is
about courtesy and ethics. Some people
think it is OK to search for sheds on
property others lease to hunt. It is
perfectly legal to do that in some cases
unless the lease is written in a way
that prohibits it, but is it ethical? I
say no. What about courtesy? I say
inconsiderate. Shame on your parents for
not teaching you about courtesy, respect
and doing what is ethical. My
life is about doing what I believe is
right and treating everybody with
dignity and respect. I hope everybody
learns to do that.
drive people crazy. When it comes to
doing what is right, others seem to let
Iowa's white gold influence their
decision. Mind the fences and research
ethics if this is the first time you've
heard of the word.
Have a good one. GP