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I have been a lover of the outdoors for as long as I can remember. Any free time I had, you could most likely find me; in the timber, a field or at one of my fishing holes. Growing up in southwest Iowa has spoiled me with the privilege to hunt some of Iowa’s most wanted whitetail.

A Buck of a Lifetime

Tommy Hensley

The Story of Bullwinkle

Living in southern Iowa, I have always known that I live in a state where the opportunity to kill a true giant whitetail is possible but they are defiantly not around every cedar tree. This is a story that started this summer when I first got trail camera pictures of this buck. The hunt was on and I was going to hunt for this buck and this buck alone.

It was October 8th when scanning through my trail cam pictures that I came across my first fall picture of Bullwinkle, or so I called him. As I studied his pictures it was clear to me that I would be chasing after a “once in a lifetime” buck. I started to sweat as I checked my cameras faithfully but failed to see anymore pictures of the buck. I eventually grew to worry that he may have already been harvested by another hunter.

Just as my luck was down, he gave me another glimpse. This time I caught pictures of him during the first weekend of December. As late muzzleloader season was approaching, I prepared myself for the hunt of my life, making sure that my muzzleloader was on. On December 19th while out for an afternoon hunt, all conditions were perfect. I hadn’t been sitting in my blind but 20 minutes when I heard noise. Facing the wrong direction, I slowly turned around and opened my back window of the blind to see that Bullwinkle was standing about ten yards behind the blind. In a split second he was gone! He didn’t present me with a shot and I thought that was it I might never see him again. Then on December 27th, during an evening hunt, I decided to hunt the farm that I knew this buck was living on. Sure enough, not long after getting into my blind, I took a look out and there he was, standing to my right, head down and feeding. I tried to remain calm and as I prepared myself to take the shot. I pulled the trigger, all I could see was smoke and I thought I heard a loud smack. I sat there for about an hour and a half before I decided to go take a look. To my surprise, I didn’t find any blood. The next morning I decided to take another look, only to realize I had missed a buck of a lifetime.

Bullwinkle was still out there. With disappointment, I decided to give that farm a rest as I didn’t want to pressure the buck. In the meantime I decided to sight in my gun to check that it was on target. Turns out, it was, I just happened to let my nerves get the best of me. On January 6th I decided to seize my last opportunity to hunt the buck I called Bullwinkle. At 4pm as I was sitting patiently in my tree stand, sure enough, Bullwinkle showed up off in the distance. So I decided to climb down out of my tree stand to close the distance. I hind in some tall grass and waited for him to feed towards me with my gun already securely rested in place. Finally when he was within 60 yards from me, I took a deep breath and pulled the trigger. The buck dropped instantly. I walked up to him and as I knelt beside him I couldn’t believe what I had my hands on. He was even bigger than I had imagined and he was all mine. I had a buddy who is a taxidermist green score him at 206 3/8.   

I would like to give thanks to the Lee brothers for allowing me the opportunity to utilize their land and pursue the hunt of a lifetime.

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