I had often joked to my Dad.... "YOu know, if that bow is going to kill a buck I'm going to have to do it"
Sadly my dad Died shortly after that hunting season and the bow never shot a deer.... Last year I tried very very hard to fulfill that quest and couldn't get a shot at a buck worth an arrow. I spent 14 days sun up to sun down with several partial days and ate my bow tag. Forward to this fall and I had some GREAT bucks to chase. Then mid October I got pictures of a giant, and I MEAN A GIANT typical 12 with stickers that was just a once in a life time buck. I made a decision to actively pursue that buck and after 10 days of all day set hunting... only sighted once and I had passed 3 deer over 150 and 1 over 160 in hopes of a true Iowa Monster. As November wore on all my buddies were knocking them down and after one tagged out we were chatting and he said "if you're still after one ina week let me know, come on down". I didn't put much thought into the offer but he was sincere and after Thanksgiving I sent him a text and we quickly arranged a hunt on Saturday afternoon, the 29th. The weather had been cold and the deer were pounding a secluded radish/turnip field and that's where I was going to be. Unfortunately Saturday dawned warm... and as I was climbing into the stand it was in the low 50s. The afternoon was pretty slow, but one thing I do have is optimism for each and every set that I climb into. I had bumped 6 deer walking in, been winded by a dink around 3 pm and was desperately trying to not get picked out of the tree by 3 gobblers at 20 yards. The stupid birds walked off and around 430 I knew I was down to the nuts and bolts of my season. This was the last night, it was either going to happen or I was going to "let Dad down" again and eat my tag.
I glassed the area and at 4:40 I rattled lightly. I set the horns down and started glassing the hard to see areas and I'll be dipped if there wasn't a giant in the corn field chasing a doe! I grunted a few times softly, yet loudly enough to grab his attention and grabbed my bow. By the time I swung back he ws quick marching to me. AT 100 yards he stopped and INTENTLY scanned the food plot and surrounding area. He KNEW there was another deer there and wasn't going to make a mistake. Not seeing anything he did what all mature bucks do, circled down wind. He hit an access path and I thought it was a done deal and he would march on in, but he 180'd at the last moment and started behind me. I knew he was 3 or 4 steps from winding me as I had mentally marked where the dink had caught my stink, and drew my bow. THe back side of the stand was untrimmed and it was a desperate move but I murped him and he stopped in his tracks in the only shooting hole there was. I settled the pin and told myself "You can do this, calm the **** down and kill him" and touched the trigger. The arrow caught him right where I was aiming and angled back thru and came out low and back as he was quartering too me a bit.
ENtrance is about C2 and Exit is about H / I 5
He bolted out of there and stopped at 125 yards. I expected him to go down but he started running off again but his hind end sagged down for 3 or 4 bounds. He went another 150 yards and stopped yet again, he took off with his flag up but I caught his tail "cork screw" 3 times as he went over the hill. I knew he was dead, but it'd take a few hours.
My buddy and I met up and went to a bar to calm me down and discuss the hit. I tracked him till the point blood was coming out both sides, but it was super dark blood and had corn in it. LIver and or stomach. DEad deer given the time. We came back the next morning and when we got out of the truck a bald eagle flew up out of the timber and lit in the tree. Dead right there. We walked the blood and found the buck laying right under the eagle. This is where things get emotional for me. My Dads favorite bird is Americas bird, the Bald Eagle. That eagle stuck around for awhile and as I drove home I saw 30 or so eagles just hanging out in fields and roads, but they weren't on dead hogs or deer. It was as if Dad was saying congratulations the whole drive home. This buck means more to me than any other deer I've shot. I finally got to use my DAds hunting knife, the one I gutted my first deer with, and the emotion running thru me today is just unreal. I'm very proud of this deer, but I am so humbled by the sequence of events it took to get here over 2 seasons that I almost didn't want to post pictures.
This year I hunted 18 full sets over October and November and many half sets. November 29th is the latest I've ever tagged a buck with the bow and gun season looms in a few days. I didn't mean to disappear from the Beast but it is what it is in the pursuit of a trophy, and this deer is my greatest trophy. People always say "IT can happen in the blink of an eye" this time of year, it truly does. Dad, this one is for you. I miss you dearly and this old bow of yours finally did it.
That was an awesome story, Matt. There must be an onion near my desk, because my eyes are a little wet. Congrats on a great buck. There may be bigger ones in your future, but this one will always be the most special!