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Success 2014

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Bob Bills

December 8, 2014

Somewhere in Iowa

In mid-July I decided this was the buck that I was going to hunt unless another bigger buck made himself known. But considering the known whitetails on my farm this was the primary target buck.

I had a couple encounters with this buck during bow season but never within range to close the deal.

It was shotgun season and I had my youngest boy Ryan with me, he's my Lucky Charm. My target buck made an appearance. The buck posed for a good shot with my muzzle loader. I decided to wait until morning to recover. He only went 50 yards. 

Thanks George for the Monday morning mentoring sessions to keep me focused on hunting the 5x6 and reminding me to pass the several other nice bucks that I was seeing quite often. That was definitely hard to do but the discipline paid off.

The buck grosses around 174 inches.

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Dean Jackson

November 29, 2014

Somewhere in Iowa

I didn't try to technically score him but I think he makes closer to 24 than 23 on main beams and has at least 4 tines over 10 inches with one close to 13 inches. Looks like he could go almost 180 nontypical and close to 190 gross. What's important to me is that he scores over 170 gross which is what I had set as a score for my Bucketlist Buck.

Bow - Mathews ZXT at 62 lb. draw
Cabela's Stalker Extreme arrow with Blazer vein
Broadhead - Muzzy three blade 100 grain
HHA adjustable single pin sight
Tru-fire Hardcore buckle foldback release
Rangefinder - Redfield No Excuses, Raider 600
15 ft ladder stand and Seat of the Pants safety restraint system

Saturday, November 29, 11:41 in the morning
33 yard shot. Double lung - 250 yard recovery.

I have dreamed of someday shooting a buck with more than 170 inches of antler. I called it my "Bucketlist Buck," and realized that it was a very lofty goal, but living in Iowa made this goal a real possibility.

Synopsis of the hunt.
I hiked from my truck over half a mile into my tree stand and settled in before sunrise with about 9 deer leaving on the horizon. Three bucks and ten does and fawns wandered through the area during the next 4 hours. The bucks were loners, checking for does and checking scrapes. One of them worked on a rub.

Trying to get a photo of a coyote who was approaching from down wind failed when he caught my scent and trotted off. Feeling like I was being watched I turned around to see a nice buck staring at me from 24 yards. I was busted and he stomped the ground before quickly walking off.

I had seen 22 deer, and was enjoying the morning immensely. It was about time for my lunch. All day sits welcome lunchtime which is usually a highlight for me. I had taken a couple bites out of my PB&J when I caught movement by one of the scrapes. I put the sandwich in my pack, stood and turned to face the incoming buck.

He was the big boy I was hoping to see! I realized that keeping calm was job one, but the rack looked incredibly large. No way could I treat this like just another shot with my Mathews.

I expected him to follow where the other bucks had walked but after checking the scrape he turned and began walking parallel to me. A quick check with the rangefinder showed he was at 33 yards and I set my HHA sight for 30 yards. I drew as his head went behind a tree and I stopped him with my version of a doe bleat. He froze and look my direction as I settled the pin on the spot covering where I envisioned his heart was beating. Reminding myself to level the bow and watch the flight of the arrow, I carefully released. The arrow seemed to be right on track but I didn't see the moment of impact. The sound was right, "pffft," no bone smack nor paunch thud. The buck was off bounding in a long semicircle, tail tucked tight, but no other sign of distress as he disappeared about 75 yards to the north. I hadn't heard him crash, but was feeling good about the shot and I sat down to gather my composure and enjoy the adrenalin rush. I decided to wait a half hour, finished my sandwich and called my brothers before getting down.

The arrow was laying where the deer had been standing and it was pleasing to see its crimson color, but there was no beautiful blood trail. I was able to find only a couple small drops of blood in the first 50 yards. I was beginning to question the hit but the trail improved very slowly as the deer slowed to a walk after 150 yards. The blood trail was still poor but on reaching the bottom of the ravine the deer turned and walked up the creek for an other 50 yards. Stopping and glassing ahead I was overcome with relief as I spotted white antler ahead of me. I could see one side of his rack sticking out of a logjam in the creek bottom where he had tried to hide.

There was no ground shrinkage, but the opposite, as I approached him and put my hands on his impressive headgear. I had my Bucketlist Buck. It was time to call my friends, ask for some payback in help for getting him out of the deepest nastiest gully on the farm. Thanks for the help, George and Morgan.

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Chad Behrens

November 9, 2014

Somewhere in Iowa


Had a crazy morning in the stand on Sunday.  Deer running everywhere, saw over 10 different bucks including 2 nice deer but no shooters.


Wind shifted to out of the North midday so got back in stand that afternoon.  Hunted a stand I had hung to hunt this deer.  I have several cam pics of him and I knew his general roaming area.


Few things moving that afternoon but nothing crazy until he showed up about 30 minutes before dark.  I had rattled a bit and pulled him out of a drainage ditch about 150 yards away.


Came in from my west but circled a little downwind but he didnít catch my scent.  Walked through my shooting lane at about 22 yds, quartering away and I hit him hard as he almost piled over forward when it hit.  My view was blocked so I didnít see how far he ran.  Got down, found arrow and blood but wasnít certain where I had hit him so left him over night.


Went back the next morning and he was barely 50 yds from the stand. 


Great hunt and always feels good to take down the one you are after!


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Mark Baier

November 8, 2014

Somewhere in Iowa

George, I shot this buck last Saturday night. I hunted the same spot on Saturday morning and saw him briefly hanging with three or four does. After talking to Drew on my way home from the morning hunt we decided I needed to set the stand in the evening as the wind was suppose to lay down and we hoped he was still in the area. On my evening set I hadn't seen a deer but then right at 5:00 I heard the crunch of dry leaves and saw him coming towards me. He started angling a little away from me but gave me a broadside shot at about thirty yards. I hit him a little farther back than I would like but I caught a major blood supply and he only went about twenty yards. I need to thank Drew for helping me drag him out, taking pictures and continuing to teach me about hunting.


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John Doonan

October 29, 2014

Somewhere in Iowa

Another great public land buck via John Doonan. Gross 165.

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George Parris

October 31, 2014

Somewhere in Iowa

It's been 23 months since I've released an arrow. I finally got it done. This buck may be one of the biggest bucks I've captured on camera this year. 

There is a scrape that is used every year on this farm. On this night, this buck checked the scrape but did not work it. After three years of hunting this farm the trail cameras have taught me I need to hunt the scrape the last few days of October and the first couple days of November. That is when it seems to be most active.

I had decided to sit this stand all day. It was darn cold, a five layer day for sure and I had on 4 layers. The morning hunt was fairly active. Midday was slow. I climbed down at noon to pull the SD card from the scrape camera. Two shooters had been on the scrape since Wednesday with one being this buck. Around 5:18 pm (camera time), this buck appeared on the scrape. This was to be my day, the buck walked right at me after leaving the scrape. Some deer do and some veer off at an angle resulting in a much longer shot. 

The wind had been perfect all day, blowing my scent over the river. However, at the end of the day, the thermals began to cause me a little grief. He captured a whiff of my stinking body and turned around to return in the direction he had come. My shot was around 18 yards. The Montec tipped Full Metal Jacket hit high in the spine. I have a tendency to shoot low so my pin is set shoot high. The second arrow ended the hunt. Finally!! 23 months is a long time when you enjoy hunting trophy Iowa whitetails like I do.

I had numerous opportunities at this buck in 2013 but just could not bring myself to pull the trigger on my thumb release and I was at full draw a couple of times. His growth just wasn't where I wanted it to be. His growth in 2014 was much better thanks to all of the rain.

Thanks to my very good friends Doug, Dean and Ken. The pictures are great and the drag was easy with that crew.

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Nicole Bills

October 12, 2014

Somewhere in Iowa


Nicole shot this buck grossing 155 with an eye guard on the left side broken completely off. It had been close to 10 years since Nicole had shot a deer and let's just say she was very happy with this one. This buck was by far the biggest body buck we have ever shot. In matter of fact, the locker said that it was the top 1 or 2 biggest body deer that they have ever had hanging in their locker. I was a little nervous when we got to the stand on the mice situation but apparently Adam and I had taken care of them earlier. I don't think she would have stayed very calm. She shot her buck with a muzzle loader and the buck didn't go 40 yards. She made an amazing shot.

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Drew Baier

October 4, 2014

Somewhere in Iowa

I had pictures of this deer and another shooter, traveling this draw pretty regularly the last couple weeks. Last Sunday (Sept. 28th) I slipped in checked my camera to confirm this was where I wanted to hunt early. I trimmed up some shooting lanes and double checked the straps on the tree stand.

I settled in the stand on Oct 4th around 4:45 pm. I hadn't seen a deer all night until this buck showed up around 7:05. He came in behind me and offered me an easy 12 yd shot.

I felt pretty confident about the shot, but still decided to leave him over night to be on the safe side. It was cool and I wasn't worried about spoiled meat. We recovered him about 150 yards from my stand, after following a very obvious blood trail.

He rough scored in the low 150s and has an impressive 23" inside spread. I'm very pleased with this big old mature Iowa buck!


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Adam Bills

September, 2014

Somewhere in Iowa

We got to the farm around 2 in the afternoon. We worked up quite a sweat getting there and realized it was like a sauna in the shooting house. We got our chairs setup and realized we had a lot of company in the shooting house....mice. We killed 6 mice our personal best in one sit. Once that commotion was over we just waited for the deer to come out. They started trickling out once the sun started to shade out portions of the standing beans we were hunting. We had a couple basket rack bucks show up and quite a few does and then all of a sudden Adam spots his buck. He walked out and instantly I knew he was a shooter. We have had numerous trail cameras out on the farm since April and had only gotten one trail camera picture of this buck. My main goal at this point was to keep Adam calm. The buck eventually got within range and Adam got a shot. I was very proud of my boy the way he held everything together. We made the decision to recover the buck the next morning. He grosses 175 and now my 7 year old boy has bragging rights of the biggest buck in house.....I wouldn't have it any other way.


Max photo size:

640 x 480 pixels


Date of 2014 Harvest

State: Somewhere in Iowa


Some tips on taking your success photos. Please respect the animal:

  1. Clean the animal of all blood,

  2. Stick the tongue back in the mouth,

  3. Find a dark background,

  4. For bucks, strive to maintain equal height between the top of your head and the top of the buck's rack,

  5. Don't be afraid of close-ups,

  6. Don't be afraid to use flash, even during the day,

  7. Avoid pickup and garage photos, we have quite a few people request that we don't show them,

  8. Take your deer back out to the field with your buddy or family member, it is a memory that will last your entire lifetime,

  9. Take your time.


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