January 10, 2023, Hunt #47,
Absolutely covered up
with deer, 360°, for three hours. I
can't pick 'em any better than that. No
shooters. Too quiet to go through the
bow drawing contortions anyway. Great
First doe groups came
from behind me early. For some reason
they insisted on going downwind of my
creaky stand. One of the next deer
behind me saw me first. I know this
because I heard the tell-tale signs of a
hoof stomping on the ground. I'm all-to
familiar with that sound. Dang it! The
less I moved the more nervous they
became. Eventually I got tired of the
game and moved more. For some reason
that seemed to calm 'some' of them down.
Others just snorted and lit the forest
Deer coming and going.
Just three bucks all night. Pitiful. I'm
going to pretend the muzzle loader shot
I heard wasn't on my side of the fence.
No doubt in my mind it was. It seems
like this is a regular occurrence around
the 9th or 10th of January. Heard it
before, in the same spot each year.
Pushing the limits. I know exactly where
it is at too but too far away for me to
do anything about it.
Shortly after sunset I
had a doe downwind at 30 yards just
snorting to her heart's content. I had
enough so I grabbed my grunt call,
pointed it at her and let it rip. She
turned around and walked off. Weird.
Same time a two year old buck came
running out of the field to my
direction. He was looking for action. I
turned to the north and another two year
old was looking my direction. I probably
should have been rattling and calling
all night. Par for the course. This
season didn't come anywhere close to
meeting my expectations. I'm blaming it
on the dry year. Come July, I hope
antler growth is much better than 2022.
There was a beautiful
sunset tonight. Sky was fire red in my
area of the world.
Queue Dandy Don. I
need a nap.
January 8, 2023, Hunt #46,
Nice night. Went to a
new spot. First doe and fawn went by
right where I wanted them to. Twenty
five yard shot and I'm well hid in a
group of cedars. They had no clue I was
there on my Northern Flights stool. The
next group always has to be swimming
upstream. They came from down wind. Why
don't they just leave? They hang around
for an hour and ruin the whole night.
Only deer with horns
was a little buck. When he arrived he
was put on edge by the other yahoos
hanging around down wind. I couldn't see
them but I'm sure they had their iPhones
out trying to get video of the stinky
person. I eventually heard some snorting
way back in the timber but they
definitely put all the other deer on
edge and ruined the night. Almost
impossible to hunt a spot without some
old nag getting down wind. Does are
definitely king of the deer woods.
January 7, 2023, Hunt #45,
Been shooting the bow
all week. Seems good to go. Even
practiced the let down a few times. No
Beautiful night. On
the cool side. Same wind as the fiasco
night except it had a little more north
in it. Went back to the same spot. Only
issue was it was way too quiet for my
planned twenty five yard shot and my
ladder stand did not care if it was
quiet. Way too much noise even though it
was slight. Why is the steel on the
platforms so cheap? It doesn't matter if
your a small person or a full figured
guy like me it is going to make noise.
Might be some off-season retrofitting
with heavier duty steel to get rid of
four bald deer twenty five yards
southeast of me. Any slight movement of
my foot created a very slight noise from
the stand. She instantly went on alert
and I mean a very minor noise. She
finally got down wind, turned inside-out
and the crew went back out to the field.
Lots of deer on the
field on my walk in. Even bucks were
out, though I didn't see any shooters.
Must be quiet in this field all week.
With all the deer I'm seeing, there
should be multiple older deer in the
group. The field is very remote.
The age structure is very disappointing.
Not sure why. No extraordinary deer on
this farm the last two seasons. The
shooter I'm after is anything but
extraordinary but he is older. Farm is
too big for one deer to rule the roost.
Not sure I believe in the whole bully
buck thing either. I believe the older,
bigger bodied deer are the boss but
there are way too many does for one
mature buck to manage.
There's something else
afoot with the poor age structure and I
know for sure it isn't me shooting too
many deer or subordinate deer the last
few years. They have a large area of
sanctuary too. Just don't know.
Frustrating. Wish Iowa would go to a one
buck state or at least earn your second
buck with some doe harvest.
Saw lots of deer and
got a little cold after the three hour
sit. My toes needed some walking to warm
January 1, 2023, Hunt
What a night. Hoped
for a northeast wind. Got it. Hoped for
nice weather. Got it. Hoped deer would
feed where I wanted them to. They were.
They were feeding when I arrived. Booted
them back in the timber. Wanted to hunt
a fresh stand. Had it.
Got settled into the
stand. Figured I should practice draw. I
did. Began to let down. Arrow falls to
the ground below. WTF! During the let
down process the bow derailed! eF! These
new Hoyts have a very deep valley and it
is hard to get them to let down. It's
like you have to push the string. I'm
sure I torqued the darn bow when letting
it down. Only conclusion. Cam wasn't in
line with the string. At least it didn't
blow apart. Top of the string got wedged
between the cam and the limb but I
didn't see any major string damage. The
serving saved me...at least it appears
to have saved me so far.
Well, no way in hell
I'm sitting here and have a shooter walk
by with a gimped up bow. I left. Five
minutes in the stand! I made the walk of
shame back to the truck. Got home.
Headed for the bow press. Restrung the
bow. As I'm checking strings, cams,
limbs, spacers, e-clips and test firing
to make sure it will function correctly,
I get a notification from the Browning
Pro Scout by my stand. Guess who walked
by at 4:25? Target buck. Go figure.
Can't make this up.
The bow has been test
fired. Paper checked, etc. Only issue
was a rotated peep after reattaching the
string. Got the peep close to normal.
Back in the game for now....I hope. Sure
hope that fiasco isn't an omen to what
2023 is going to be like? Never derailed
a bow, EVER, in over 30 years of
shooting compounds. I have now. Might
need to take a practice arrow or be
awfully darn careful when letting the
December 31, 2022, Hunt
Been a while. First it
was shotgun one and two. Then it was
cold weather and work. Then lots of
Christmas and family events. Then work
again. I was finally able to sit in a
stand. Cameras have been quite
disappointing (they do have good days)
but I don't have any destination food
sources to hunt near. There's almost a
week between buck pictures on the one
farm. #1 has vanished. Bucks have mainly
headed for high quality grain plots
which I know are in the area but not
close enough for me to have any hunting
My hunt was good.
Cameras had a buck go by in the morning
that I would shoot. He's really old. I
sit in a location with lots of perennial
trails heading for feed. It's a crap
shoot as to which one they choose. They
picked a different one than what I was
hunting last night. About eighty yards
away. Saw quite a few deer but no
shooters. Not sure where they were
headed because the feed is very limited
in the direction they were going.
My drive in was cut
short due to drifts. An extra couple
hundred yards of walking. No big deal,
just one of the challenges of late
season bow hunting.
My entertainment for
the late afternoon hunt was a redheaded
wood pecker harassing a squirrel. No
idea what the beef was all about but it
was persistent. The squirrel was eating
walnuts and simply doing what squirrels
do. The bird was annoying after fifteen
minutes of dive bombing and cackling or
whatever it's called. GEESH! Take a
powder Karen! Maybe it was because he
wasn't wearing his mask.
Any hunt is good when
you don't have to fight weather extremes
and you see deer. It leads to a happy
hunter.....HOWEVER, I would like like to
see an Iron Will tipped Easton blow
through the shoulder of a mature one
fifty. Is that too much to ask?
November 27, 2022, Hunt
Perfect wind for one
of my favorite stands, NNW. Deer came
out early and boy did they come out.
Hammering the food. I was hunting a spot
that my summer scouting showed a couple
of regular shooters and my last close
encounter with #1 buck. I was hoping by
now one of the two summer bucks would
return home. No such luck. I was sending
my telepathic vibes to the big eight...wherever
he is...to walk by my stand. Instead I
had two dandy looking three year olds go
by right in the sweet spot. Fantastic
hunt but again no shooters. Still with
does I suppose or buried deep somewhere
The sky was full of
color on the walk out with turbine
lights adding to the view. Beautiful
weather, great hunt.
I'm trying some heated
insoles as a first step (literally) to
staying a little bit warmer during the
cold hunts. They were comfortable enough
for the half mile walk in and out. The
remote control works when the insoles
are in the boots. Low is just enough
heat to know they are on. Didn't really
need them tonight but it was a first
test drive....or test walk and hunt. So
far so good. Expensive rascals.
November 27, 2022, Hunt
Arrived early. Dark.
Didn't get in real clean. Had a deer
snorting at me. When it was light enough
to see there was a fawn feeding in that
Went to a spot I
usually always see bucks and have the
opportunity for close encounters. Boy
did I see the bucks. No close
encounters. No shooters. No urgency but
they were constantly checking the does.
Had one doe and twin group come close.
One of the fawns just ran off to the
side and collapsed. She was pooped. She
got about two minutes of rest and a
small buck booted her from her rest.
Great hunt. Lots of deer.
November 26, 2022, Hunt #41,
Went to the other
farm. Been getting consistent buck
pictures. Two small bucks were kind of
hanging out about one hundred fifty
yards away. That's always been a signal
to me during November that an estrous
doe might be close and bedded with a
more dominant buck. Didn't see anything.
The two small bucks eventually worked
their way towards feed. Had a wad of
does and fawns and a small buck show up
about sunset time on this cloudy
evening. Doe knew I was in the barren
tree but eventually moved off towards
the feed. It was darn quiet tonight.
Saw a buck behind me
that looked decent but light was fading
fast. Couldn't get a good look. I
grunted and wheezed at him. He looked
but continued towards the feed. I turned
back around and a shooter was in the
CRP. Hundred and fifty yards. He was
definitely tending a doe but I couldn't
see her. He was in the same area the
little bucks were lurking. I should have
glassed harder with my binos. Might have
seen his rack while he was bedded.
Couldn't have been too far from the
little bucks. Light seemed to fade fast
tonight. Most of the action was just
prior to quitting time. Great hunt but
all compacted into about fifteen
November 26, 2022, Hunt
Got in pretty clean
but the hunt didn't produce any horns.
Had a coyote go by but turned at the
last minute and went to my right at ten
yards. No shot. Had a doe and fawn
follow his path at the tree. They were
definitely looking for the scent leaver.
Got spooky. Turned around and left. Had
another doe and fawn get downwind. Doe
could smell me. She didn't snort but she
wouldn't leave either so I 'wind
checked' her with my Dead Down Wind wind
checking powder. That got her rolling.
Snorted her ass all the way to the east.
That was funny. Old Nag.
November 25, 2022, Hunt
Short hunt. Another
family dinner today. Went to a new spot
trying to lay eyes on a shooter. No go.
Two fawns and a coyote sneaking up
behind me. Quiet. Heard footsteps in the
dark but otherwise very uneventful
morning. Beautiful weather.
November 24, 2022, Hunt
Saw #1A this morning
and #1B passed by one of my cameras last
night. He's been gone for a while.
Figured he was dead. Big boy was tending
a doe way out in a field. Could see his
rack with the naked eye at my range
finder distance of five hundred yards.
The eight power binos told me it was
him. Dang. He might be bigger than I think.
Huge body. I never saw the doe but there
were two small bucks lurking and big
boy's body language told the story. They
must have been right at his tolerance
distance for being in the area. He
disappeared over the hill and the two
subordinate bucks headed away to check
other doe groups....I assume. Had some
doe groups in my area and one small buck
giving chase to a doe. That was before
the fog rolled in. It got so foggy max
sight distance was maybe two hundred
yards. Left early for a family
gathering. Fog cleared out as I was
walking out. Good feeling knowing they
are still in the area. Wish I could
figure out the best hunt strategy for
either one. Putting in time doesn't seem
to cut-it with these two. Satisfying
November 23, 2022, Hunt
Good night. Saw lots
of deer but farm activity cleared the
field. Wind had an easterly component to
it so I moved a little further west of
my stand and sat on my stool. At one
point I thought I heard rattling. If it
wasn't rattling, there was definitely
deep tone in the clashing of the horns.
Had a buck I know well show up later. I
assume he was one of the fighters but he
wasn't with a doe. That has me wondering
who is with the doe?
Almost got a shot! Had
the single buck at about thirty five
yards. He came to see what all the
ruckus was after the field cleared. I've
passed him once but historical trail
photo research leads me to believe he
may be nine years old. Do not know for
sure. My bad. Need to be more detailed
in my research. No world beater for a
rack but definitely worthy at nine years
old. All the deer moseyed over the hill
headed for feed. Great encounter.
November 23, 2022, Hunt
Dud but the weather
was comfortable and the turkeys were
Deer = 5. Bucks = 0.
November 20, 2022, Hunt
Again, went deep woods
out of the wind. Almost balmy today.
What a nice change. Saw four bucks right
off the bat. Must have been an estrous
doe close. Two one year olds, a two year
old and a three year old. Dead after
that until 4:30 then two more dinks and
a doe and a fawn. No clue I was in my
low stand just eighteen yards from their
path but way to quiet now to get a shot
off. Great start, disappointing ending.
November 20, 2022, Hunt
High risk hunt. Went
to the area I have seen #1 the most.
Into the lair. No sign of him. Probably
spooked him on the way in. Saw two small
bucks and a bunch of does and fawns.
Backed myself into a pile of tree trash
and thorny bushes. Lots of trimming in
the dark. Saw three deer came from
behind me in the low light on a
secondary ridge. About fifty yards.
Third deer was a buck for sure but 15
minutes before I could see decently. I
was out of most of the south wind. It
was howling when I got out in the open.
Good grief. No wonder the deer were in
this draw protected from the south wind.
November 19, 2022, Hunt
Got the call on
Thursday we all wait patiently for:
"Your deer is ready for
pickup". As always, Raccoon Valley
Taxidermy did a wonderful job. That puts
a wrap on the 2021 season. Picked him up
Saturday morning. Too cold for me to
hunt anyway. You can follow Matt on
Instagram. His work is excellent in my
Rushed home for the
evening hunt. Decided to hunt from a
recon position but with the possibility
of a shot. I was twenty yards from a
scrape that #1 uses but I only get
pictures after dark. He was close at
4:30 this morning but who knows what
transpired the last twelve hours. I
wanted to see where the shooters were
coming to feed. No shooters before dark
but plenty of deer on the field with
some doe harassing by a couple of bucks.
I'm assuming the dominant bucks
are still in lockdown phase or
recuperation phase. Either way the same
effect. No sightings.
November 17, 2022, Hunt
Specifically setup for strong northwest
winds like today. Have not hunted it yet
because the camera hasn't given me a
reason to. In past years it's been
dependable with regular shooter pix. Not
this year. I did move the camera to a
different spot this year which is closer
to the deer trail. My observations of
deer movement tonight lead me believe
the deer are avoiding the camera. Go
figure. Wonder how many times I should
have been hunting this spot?
Saw one small buck and
one buck tending/chasing a doe back in
the trees. I pulled the camera. It's
been there since September. Will be more
careful in the future with camera
placement. Even if the distance is
greater. Will have to make it work. Wind
not a factor at all staying warm at this
location but it does swirl more than I
like. Will need to 'send it' before a
buck gets too wonky.
November 17, 2022, Hunt
Locked down tight. Not
a horn. Went to a new area mainly to see
some new terrain and get out of the
wind. The location usually holds deer
with west and northwest winds like
today. Does and fawns only.
November 16, 2022, Hunt #30,
Went back to the stand
this time. Knew the wind was going to
pummel me. It did. So many clothes. Wind
chill is brutal. I didn't expect #1 and
his doe to come from where they ran but
I thought I might see them in the field.
No go. Saw other deer and small bucks
feeding in the 20 mph northwest wind.
Some chasing. Wind didn't seem to bother
What's the definition
of insanity? Time
for a change but not sure what. What I'm
doing isn't working. Need to be tighter
in the evenings. The evening hunts have
been limited when it comes to shooter
sightings. To top this evening off I
dropped one of my boot blankest on the
trip out and didn't know it until I got
back to the truck. Fortunately I could
drive back and found it halfway back.
What a cluster!
November 16, 2022, Hunt
Well I screwed up!
Uffdah! Being tired will cause
questionable decisions and this
relentless wind is testing my fortitude.
I want to be in #1's zone. To do that
it's about a half mile walk (plenty for
an old guy) and the stand just get's
pummeled by a northwest wind but the
stand requires it and that's where he
hangs out. I have had deer pass on both
sides of the darn thing too. So, I took
my stool and decided to ground hunt.
I've been eyeballing a group of trees
about fifty yards east of my ladder. I
got settled after some pruning shear
work. Shortly thereafter a doe and fawn
came by upwind. Perfect. I was well hid
with good backdrop. The doe and fawn
passed and went on their way. I'm on the
edge of some very thick stuff. At least
in my opinion it's thick. Multi-flora
and honey suckle. About fifteen minutes
later a doe came running in the trees
and paused north of me. Not far behind
her was #1. As bucks do this time of
year, he stopped on the downwind side.
No shot he's a good sixty. BUT! They
passed right on the upwind side of the
tree stand. Right through the sweet
spot. Only challenge would have been to
get him to stop and he was half throttle
after his girl. Not sure that would have
She turned to head
back from where she came...at least I
thought. Nope. She's coming right up the
hill to my right and that's bad. Right
through the thick crap. No way I can
shoot. Definitely going to get winded.
Would have happened in the stand too.
Screwed either way. At five yards (in
the jungle) she saw me and headed north.
He was about thirty yards downwind in
the thick stuff and definitely winded
me. Damn it! Extremely discouraged. This
weather is brutal and that just topped
He's a bull.
I need a nap.
November 15, 2022, Hunt
Ate lunch in my truck,
tried to get some of my stuff dried out
and headed for the tree at one. I'm part
way up the tree and saw a buck
frantically searching for his lost doe
like a bird dog on a pheasant. Fun to
I finally got settled
and saw him again at fifty yards. Quick
glimpse. No idea if he found his doe or
not. He was a shooter. That got my hopes
up for the rest of the four hours. I saw
dinks chasing does, a midrange buck
tending a doe, multiple small bucks that
tried to get in on his action but no
shooters again. They are locked down
I got down about ten
minutes early. Eight hours of cold and
constant snow flurries did me in.
Man I like heated
November 15, 2022, Hunt
Many say that November
15 is the peak of the rut in Iowa. I saw
more outright chasing and does full on
running than any day yet. Does were
doing all they could to get away but the
dink bucks just were not going to let
Went deep woods today
with my stool. Had not hunted this spot
in three to four years. It had always
been a good morning spot with a
northwest wind in the past. With the
snow and cold I felt that would be the
best idea. Shortly after getting settled
had a nice 140ish 5x4 go by at about 45 yards.
Single and cruising. Looked to be three
You could really see
back in the timber with an inch of snow
on the forest floor. Saw lots of deer
running. Had a dink do that low head,
long necking, high stepping thing to a
fawn at four to five yards from my
ground position. That was fun. I guess
they couldn't believe a human would be
by that multi-trunk pin oak on a day
like today. He was.
after four hours I had
enough of the cold and my stuff was wet
from the light snow that persisted most
of the morning. Saw quite a few deer but
November 14, 2022, Hunt
Hoped to get a closer look at the wide
buck. Saw some dinks right off the bat
and a ruckus that was caused by a little
buck chasing a doe. Later had a half-a-forky
come blasting by chasing a doe. Deer
started to trickle by the last hour or
so heading for feed. A few bucks but
nothing special. I did a poor job
checking the wind. It was good when I
arrived but rotated from the southwest
to northwest before I left. That caused
me problems. My bad for not checking.
I'm not tight enough
to the action. Too much floating around
on the fringes. Need to get in tighter.
Easier said than done.
November 14, 2022, Hunt
Better start to this
day than yesterday. Got in clean. No
challenges with getting in the stand.
Saw deer moving once it got light. Saw
decent bodied buck out in the field
chasing a doe. About a half hour later
saw the big bodied eight about 150 yards
north of me tending a doe. He's nice. No
high scorer but he's definitely the
dominant critter on this farm. He tops
the shoot-at list. Watched him and his
doe for quite a while then they
disappeared. A short while later, they
reappeared about fifty yards closer.
While watching the big eight I heard a
noise and just to west was a half a
buck. he's a nice buck but he's missing
a beam and even if he was all put
together I'm not sure he's a shooter.
Straight downwind and he did not
acknowledge me as he passed by at ten
yards. Dang wind was rotating on me and
began to blow at the big eight so I
exited. Good hunt.
November 13, 2022, Hunt
Had high hopes for the
evening. Had a good midday nap. Got in
the stand clean. No major fiascos other
than the wind being very finicky. Saw a
few bucks. Bucks in the field were scent
checking anything with a pulse but no
shooters. A couple of bucks have been
AWAL (Away With A Lady) the last several
days. Nothing on camera. They must be
buried deep in the timber or in the wide
open somewhere but not by me or my
Hoping for that one
shooter that finally breaks free and
goes on a cruising mission.
November 13, 2022, Hunt
This morning was a
cluster. I was late. My bow rope was
wrapped around a little limb. Putting on
my bino harness was like trying to put
on a safety harness for the first time.
My stand made unwanted noises. You would
have thought it was my first rodeo. I
almost came unwound. After getting
settled I decided to try this deer
Saw a few bucks but
not really urgency. Does were feeding
and bucks were scent checking. No
shooters. Saw a wad of turkeys and three
coyotes on the prowl.
November 12, 2022, Hunt
Had a midday siesta
and headed to the stand full of renewed
energy. The afternoon started off well
with does, fawns and a spike heading for
feed earlier than normal. High
expectations. Looked up on the hill some
distance away and saw a buck. Wow! He's
wide. Wish I could have gotten a better
look but all I could tell is that he
appeared to have exceptional width, well
beyond normal. It didn't appear there
were a bunch of tines, maybe a 4x4.
Rattled and grunted. He heard me but did
not close the distance. I assume he was
with a doe but did not see her. Would
definitely like a close look at this new
buck if he is wide. I like surprise
bucks especially when they are big
I was ready to launch
an arrow but the night ended in a
November 12, 2022, Hunt
Got to the stand
fairly clean. Shortly after daylight
deer started coming to feed and deer
continued to feed until my quitting time
after about three hours. Cold. The deer
appear to be on a feeding binge with the
cold weather. Deer would feed a while,
head to the timber then come back out
after 15-30 minutes. Saw a few small
bucks but they appeared to mainly be a
feeding mode. They did scent check does
and bristle a little when another buck subordinate
them was around but in general a pretty
subdued morning. Changed batteries in a
camera and deployed another one on the
November 11, 2022, Hunt #20,
Tough decision. How
long can I stand this cold and the wind
chill and be in the stand at prime time?
I was hoping for three hours. I loaded
up my pack with boot blankets and my
thick vest. Popped open another Mega
warmer and made the half mile trek. I
put all the stuff on at the base of the
ladder. Man did it suck climbing with
those damn boot blankets on. But they
kept my feet warm. All night. I nestled
against the tree in a semi fetal position
trying to stay warm in the northwest
I hunted the edge of a
field and I hate hunting the edges of
fields. Boring. The deer came out early
and often. Lots of spiked and small
bucks, scent checking does and fighting.
One spike was built better than the
rest. He came charging into the field,
found the closest other spike and let
her rip. They banged heads for about
five seconds. He won that little event
and then went on to the next one. This
spike fight lasted about ten seconds.
Awesome. They almost got a running start
at one another. All out tussle. The does
were totally annoyed by this bristled up
trouble maker but its enjoyable for me.
The does were hammering down the food.
Rarely lifting their heads. this fact
and the wind helped me get away with a
lot of movement as I rubber necked
trying to keep track of everything going
on. Multiple other bucks entered the
field, each one checking does, cutting
one from the herd and then giving chase.
Biggest buck might have been 130 the
rest were small. None of the shooters
Great day to be in the
Iowa rut woods. Fun to watch. I see
something new every year.
November 11, 2022, Hunt
Dang it's cold. I am
totally wind burnt. My goal was to make
it three hours and I did. Thank goodness
for boot blankets and Mega hand warmers.
The boot blankets are old and very bulky
but they keep my feet warm. I just strap
them to my backpack and put them on when
I arrive at my destination.
Today was what I
expect from the Iowa whitetail rut.
Bucks roaming everywhere. Bucks chasing
does. Bigger bucks snort wheezing at
little bucks. Little bucks getting in on
the chase. Walk offs. Does on the alert
for the next pesky horny horned rascal
that's going to harass them. You name
it, I saw it. But no shooters. Spent the
balance of the late morning procuring
cameras from deep woods and rel9ocating
them for the last semblance of an
inventory and narrowing of trails for a
Great day to be in the
woods except for the cold wind.
Definitely a wind chill today.
November 10, 2022, Hunt
Been waiting for a
northwest wind for a while but wasn't
going to sit up in the air with today's
wind. Elected to hunt on my stool and
observe a deep draw. Saw lots of deer
from noon on including a few dinks.
About one thirty everything became
quiet. Activity picked up about four
again. Bucks were definitely in rut
mode. Did not see a shooter until I was
packing my stuff up leave. He was
grunting behind a doe way back in the
timber. Typical. I set there for five
hours and he decides to show up when I
am ready to leave. Zig and zag. It's fun
but also frustrating.
November 10, 2022, Hunt
Went to a fresh stand
setup for strong winds out of the south.
Especially mornings. I knew the front
was coming so assumed this would be a
three or four hour hunt at most as the
wind rotated around. The front hit my
location at nine straight up. Wow!
Temperature instantly dropped. BRRR!
Saw a dink buck and a
three year old and few does and fawns.
Disappointing. Not sure if the buck are
skirting my camera or not. They might be
and I haven't set foot in this location
in over a month and that was for stand
deployment. Something has definitely
changed from last year when shooter
bucks were regulars during this calendar
I do believe deer get
camera shy and will adjust their routes
so I also adjust accordingly. Got down
about ten o'clock due to wind direction
and headed for the truck.
November 9, 2022, Hunt #16,
The afternoon hunt
started off slow. I know I'm tired when
I forget things back at the truck after
starting my trek to the stand.
The last hour things
really picked up. Finally I guessed
right on an afternoon hunt. I saw more
dink bucks than my total of all hunts to
this date. I've never seen so many
spiked bucks. They came from everywhere.
I had been wondering why I wasn't seeing
many one year old bucks. Tonight made up
for it. One after the other as they
followed the does and fawns to the feed.
Upwind. Downwind. Some got nervous when
downwind but most continued on their
way. Nothing spooked enough to ruin my
Finally at last light
I saw something decent back in the
trees. You know it's decent when you see
plenty of beam between tree branches. He
finally strolled by at about thirty five
yards in the low light but the eight
power binos gave me a decent look. Dang,
if he was at twenty yards I probably
would have shot. He's a buck from last
year I saw alot. I wondered why he had
not shown up yet. He had a busted up
rack last year. He was definitely a
fighter and looks like a linebacker this
year. Beams appeared to have real good
mass. A definite candidate. Need a
better look in more light. He looked
ready for business but very cautious.
Finally, a great afternoon hunt.
November 9, 2022, Hunt
Very, very slow. Saw a
couple of small bucks roaming and a
couple of does and fawns. One doe looked
tired and bedded somewhere in the brush
about 40 yards away. She walked into it
and vanished. The best part of the hunt
was watching and listening to the rest
of nature do its thing. I heard a tom
turkey gobble, watched a bald eagle
perched on a limb for over a half hour
observing its kingdom, listened to
numerous birds chirping, listened to
squirrels barking at some sort of danger
and of course the unmistakable sound of
metal banging a half mile upwind from a
farmer doing his daily chores. Later, as
I sat in my truck and ate my lunch and
listened to election results I watched a
big, dark colored hawk (I don't think it
was an immature baldy) dive bomb
numerous times in the alfalfa field
trying to capture it's own lunch. It
never popped back up after its third
attempt. I assume it was successful.
November 8, 2022, Hunt #14,
Went to a different
farm to a place I hadn't hunted for a
few years. Good for east winds. Wanted
to check a camera. After the tough walk
and arrival, I pulled the card. Scrolled
through it while sitting on my stool.
What a bust! What the heck is going on.
this camera is always good for some
decent buck pictures during the rut.
Horrible card pull. Horrible hunt. two
fawns by me. One mature looking
deficient racked buck to the east of me
a hundred-fifty yards. That was a wasted
effort on my part. Check that location
off the list.
November 8, 2022, Hunt
Started off super
slow. Ghost town. First buck was a
decent 4x4 north of me hot on the trail
of a doe. Got to fifty. She turned back
north and took him to deep woods again.
Thought I heard a snort-wheeze later but
it was windy. Then I saw the big bodied
eight down below me in a draw and the
other eight with his doe. The morning
had started out slow but finally turned
into some action. The first eight chased
his doe by me. new deer I had not seen
before. Good grief! He has 12-inch brow
tines. For real. Things eventually quieted
down. I headed home to vote late
November 7, 2022, Hunt #12,
These all day sits are
not panning out. Something is
significantly different from last year
on these farms. Best I can tell,
population is way down. Action is very
subdued. No chasing at all. Sat in a
morning stand tailor made for a wind
with an easterly component. The stand is
a new ladder my daughter and son-in-law
helped me deploy. It almost worked to
perfection. Need to hire better help and
cut a few more limbs next time.
Saw a buck way in the
distance. Good frame is all I could
tell. He was single. Cruising. Running
cross-wind. Wind checking. As he got
closer I could see he was the target for
this morning. Quick look. All tines in
place. Check. At
seventy yards he turned into the wind
and headed down a canyon I leave for
sanctuary. Dang it! A couple of soft
grunts and he turned and headed my way.
Looked for the grunting buck but did not
see a deer. Turned back into the wind.
This time I wheezed and grunted. He
turned again. This time he's coming. He
stopped at thirty, behind a big limb,
and facing towards me. Bow in hand.
Silverback hooked up. I'm shaking like a
leaf. Arrow banking around in the
Hamskea Epsilon rest. I do have the bow
shelf and riser lined with mole skin so
it was a quiet rattle. Again he looked
intently for the grunter. He turned back
to the canyon, I gave him one last grunt
but it was too much for him. I should
have let him walk. He picked up the pace
a smidge and headed into the canyon. Not
spooked but definitely knew something
wasn't right. I saw him scent checking a
deer later about 80 yards into the
canyon. Good. Not spooked.
Saw a few small bucks
back in the timber but in general the
all day sit was slow. Deer came out late
to feed. Damn full moon. Close!
November 6, 2022, Hunt #11,
Another good morning
hunt and equally bad afternoon hunt.
Stayed put all day. Had two bucks
tending does. One east and one west.
Both eights. The buck to the west is an
old deer. Four years of pictures of this
buck but he has a deficient rack. Upper
30s. The buck to east stayed put for a
long time. He was around 110 yards. No
wonder they call it lockdown. I don't
know how these deer lose weight. They
don't move for hours on end. And when
they do move it's usually a slow walk
downwind of the doe. He is a beast of an
eight. He moved up on the shoot-at list.
I lost track of them after my tree
lunch. They were in heavy cover and lots
of stuff between me and them.
Seen a few success
photos the last couple of does. Brutes!
What a beautiful day to be in the deer
November 5, 2022, Hunt #10,
Started off on fire!
Fifteen minutes after getting settled in
deep cover I had a dandy buck at 20
yards. Solid 150. Mature. He was
cruising with nose to ground. Hard pass.
About forty-five minutes later I saw a
shooter back in the woods. I think he
saw me too. He turned, put his nose to
the ground and took off after his doe.
Had numerous deer bedded within 100
yards for a good portion of the morning.
Saw a little action around noon.
Afternoon was quiet. Does started
heading to feed around 5:15. After an
all day sit I usually leave early
especially when deep in the woods.
Pulled a camera card on the way out.
My first morning hunts
of the year are always a cluster. You
would think after doing this for so many
years it would get better. Not this
morning. Too much stuff and I didn't
know which clothes to wear. Got a little
cold late morning so I threw on the
extra windstopper vest in my pack. Rest of
the day was good. Fun to be back in the
woods and see some dandy bucks.
October 30, 2022, Hunt #9, P.M.
Wow! Dud hunt. Super
quiet. Went to an area I have never
hunted before. Great spot for the wind
and thermals. Recon mission. Now I know
why I don't spend any time there. Lesson
learned. Saw a single doe in the
distance with a small buck trailing
behind. October 30 is usually good for
scrapes on this farm but cameras are not
near as active as year's past. Something
funky is up with this farm this year.
Much quieter than the past. Hhhhmmm???
October 29, 2022, Hunt #8, P.M.
Got to the stand late.
Mowed lawn for the final time in 2022
and got up late from my post mowing
power nap. Old guys like weekend power
Sat the same tree as
last Sunday. Same wind direction but
about 30 mph less. Thermals were working
perfect after sunset. Deer movement was
late. About ten minutes after sunset a
wad of bald deer and one spike sauntered
towards my location. I noticed the same
fawn buck was with his mother as last
weekend. She caught my scent in the
swirling gale last week. Old nag looked
right up at me and started stomping
tonight. She is going to get HUSH'd next
go-'round. The rest of the group had
numerous mature does. None of them had a
clue I was there. The group eventually
moved on to the north and found their
way to the cornfield. Good hunt. Saw a
few deer in the distance but nothing
Scrape cameras were
active this week. No surprise whopper
bucks have posed yet but still hoping.
Otherwise the shoot-at is set with one
open slot for a surprise. Just need me a
ten yard shot.
Been working with a
new tension release the last couple of
weeks. Finicky little Silverback Plus
but it appears I'm getting closer to
October 23, 2022, Hunt
Hunted a stand I
deployed last weekend. Close to water
and and a freshly combined cornfield.
Figured water would be my best bet on
this 80 degree day. First deer was a
buck fawn under the stand early. He
browsed for a good hour around the
stand. Near quitting time a doe came
bleating my way. Stopped at 20. The buck
fawn went blasting towards the doe for a
big ole drink of milk. Dang wind
shouldn't have been a problem other than
it was straight south and occasionally
swirled on me. Of course the doe picked
me up. Dang it! Needed more west in the
wind to make it more consistent. I
didn't have it. Almost like there was an
Moved a camera on the
way in to provide intel for this stand
set. This week should let me know if the
stand set is a good one. Cameras have
been quite slow.
Heard my first grunt
from a young buck tonight. He was
harassing a doe and fawn by the creek.
It was loud grunting. Had a two-year-old
come from the north. He must have been
bedded in more open country. he was with
a doe and a fawn.
Good hunt for an 80
degree day. Deer movement should
escalate daily for the next 23 days or
so. One more stand I would like to hang.
It's pretty deep.
October 22, 2022,
Had some help so set
two more stands on this hot and windy
day. One all day stand for a southerly
gale. Buried deep. The second set was a
new ladder for an east wind, morning or
night. Might need to cut one more
-- GP out.
October 16, 2022, Hunt #6, P.M.
Dang wind chill
tonight and I didn't wear enough
clothes. BRRR. Setup for another
observation hunt. Hunting an off wind.
Had one old nag get downwind and she
cleared the field before sunset. Dang
Deer came back out
Had a shooter 4x4 come
to the field. No world beater but big
frame and a tank of a body. Muscular.
Definitely five or six. Keeper. He was
cool. He watched the three-year-old
flexing all over the field but didn't
get involved in his horse play. Needs to
feed that body for the events that will
occur in about two to three weeks. He's
Great hunt. Cold
fronts make a difference.
-- GP out.
October 15, 2022, Hunt #5, P.M.
Hung a stand and then
decided to scout the farm but with bow
in hand so I'm calling it a hunt. I
visited areas that I haven't been to in
a couple of years. One particular spot
was a perennial scrape spot but was
disappointing. Did not hang a camera. I
did venture up the hill near one of my
ground sit locations and that scrape was
opened so deployed a camera there.
Southeast wind setup. Long walk but easy
access for a morning or all day hunt.
Want to see who visits the scrape first,
plus I want numerous east wind
Stand is higher than I
usually hunt but the ladder and location
requires it. Didn't take too long. Used
my Jet Sled to haul the equipment to the
location. It worked well.
Had a few pictures
this week of old, deficient rack bucks.
Numerous seasons of pictures. Just not
getting pictures of an studs yet. I
assume the fall shift has taken place by
now, if so, my choices are less than
desirable this year. Still hoping
harvest pushes a nice one or two my
direction. We shall see.
October 9, 2022, Hunt #4, P.M.
Prepared two ladder
stands prior to the hunt and deployed
two new cameras. I know. I'm way behind
but making progress. Stands are in
Changed into my
hunting base layer and headed for an
observation sit. Deer hit the field
about ten minutes after sunset. Lots of
them. A few young bucks but no shooters.
All the farm activity has deer moving
late. Hopefully the bigger ones are
still close and hanging out until after
dark but honestly not sure. They could
have relocated to a different fall
range. Then I don't know what to think.
Need to be flexible.
-- GP out.
October 8, 2022, Hunt #3, P.M.
Spent a couple of
hours prepping two stands. They are good
to go. Had a spike walk under the one as
I was in the tree. Didn't seem to know I
was there or that I was potential
danger. The other has been good to me
the last few years but my cell camera
has shown me some unusual farm and
people activity in this location the
last couple of days. Owner doesn't quite
understand what's going on either.
Hunted the second
stand and saw six does and fawns. Decent
times too. Three were downwind and found
my entry trail but let me off the hook. Beautiful
-- GP out.
October 2, 2022, Hunt #2, P.M.
Good hunt. Saw four
bucks, two one year olds travelling
together, a three year old and a two
year old in that order. All heading to
feed well before quitting time. Distance
of 95 yards. Plenty of other deer in the
field on my egress. Didn't appear to be
any shooters in the groups.
Had some turkey
vultures flying overhead again on my
walk in. Dang shadow of the one blocked
out the sun when he flew overhead and
the sky was clear. Big wing span. Size
of a Gargoyle :) The vultures always
seem to check me out when I'm on the
move. Come to think of it, I hated the
movie "The Birds" when I was a
little tike. Spooked me good. And those
damn flying monkeys in the "Wizard
of Oz". Hated those things.
Can't believe we are
finally in legal pursuit. Still no
gaggers on camera. Hoping for an October
shift of one or two to my area of the
Beautiful night to be
in the Iowa Deer Woods.
-- GP out.
October 1, 2022, Hunt #1, P.M.
(Another Opening Day)
Hey everybody. Finally
clearing the dust off the journal. Day
one was uneventful. However, I did
witness a ground hog climb part way up a
tree. That was new. Saw some big birds
flying. You ever notice when you're
walking in the deer woods the turkey
vultures like to make a pass overhead at
a relatively low level...or is that just
me? If just me, not sure what that
Cameras are showing
some candidates so far but no day-one
type bucks. Have heard on other podcasts
and deer shows that Ohio and Illinois
are seeing some EHD deaths. Time for a
good hard freeze though I do like my
I did a thing. Broke
the piggy bank open and traded an older
bow for a new Hoyt RX7 courtesy Archery
Field and Sports. So far so good. Still
tuning but I guess I'm always tuning.
Bow holds well on target but will it
kill a deer?
Still waiting on a new
HHA Tetra one-pin slider with picatinny
mount. Hustle it up Nick or should I say
"Hustle it up HHA!" Slow!
-- GP out.