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Reflect on each post as if it’s a live feed into the life of a “365 day a year whitetail & turkey fanatic”!

Successful Iowa Gun Season

IMG_0067To say it’s been a long fall is an understatement! I can’t say the hunting was bad; it was just a little harder than it has been over a last few years. The deer numbers seem to be down-a few things play into that- EHD, last year’s long winter and late spring. Throw in the fact that here in Iowa we still have a very high doe harvest (around 50%) and it’s bound to lower herd numbers. I had opportunities during the first split of the bow season but failed to capitalize on them.

I have shotgun hunted second gun season in Iowa with the same group since 2005. We are a small group that on a good day we will have eight to ten hunters but most of the time we have 6 or so. I have hunted with the big monster groups of 20+ and well that’s just not for me.

photoWe kicked off the opening day of the second season with one of the guys in the group shooting a 4.5 year old 8 point buck and another hunter killing a doe. The rest of the day we saw deer but no shots, until the final hunt of the first day. We hunted a known area that we had stayed away from all day. We got into a bunch of deer on this drive. We ended up with 3 does and one very nice 9 point buck that the landowner had missed during bow season. By the time we got all the deer out of the woods the sun had set on the first day. Sorry the picture of Brian and his 9 pointers isn’t that great but you get the idea!

Day two was going to be a short one as most of us had to be done hunting by noon. Now I’m not one to skip out on deer camp but it was my grandpa’s 80th birthday and well it was way more important for me to be there than chasing deer. The hunt ended with no deer on Sunday. So that left us with the last weekend to make it happen.

Chuck Groth

Chuck Groth

On Thursday night we got a little freezing rain on top of the 3 inches of snow that was on the ground. That made for a very crunchy Saturday! We had a very hard time getting anywhere close to a deer. The day would end with a bunch of whipped hunters. There was a good chance of new snow Saturday night which we hoped would help deaden the crunch.

As luck would have it we got about 2 inches and it did deaden the crunch a little. We hit a few areas our group down to 4 and of a few hunts 5. We hit the same area that we had gotten 4 deer last Saturday. Didn’t see as many deer but we did get a doe and a very nice 10 point shot by Chuck Groth. With only time for a few more hunts left in the day and the group down to four of us, we had to hunt areas that we could cover with only four people. The next hunt I had an opportunity to shot a doe but I passed as I wasn’t in need of the meat and in this area the numbers are lower. Opposed to 5 years ago when we shot almost any doe we could.


Prefect Ten

The next hunt would be the last hunt of the day. I was posted up on a power line next to some old farm equipment. I wasn’t posted long and I spotted movement, I could see that they were deer but not sure right away if they were bucks or does. They were about 150 yards away through timber. As they worked my way I could just tell they had to be bucks. They worked down into a ravine and I knew if it worked out that they would pop out very close. I waited and waited and waited, it seemed like a long time but really it wasn’t but a few minutes.

Prefect Ten

Prefect Ten

I spotted a buck coming out of the tree line at about 40 yards, it was a spike buck. He was followed very closely by a shooter and yet another good buck behind that. I quickly looked over the two shooters and second buck was the bigger of the two. I held on the front shoulder and fired. He was hit! He ran by me as I shot twice more at him missing both times. I waited for the drive to end and went to look for blood. Jake Groth asked me about the buck I told him well it looks to be a really good ten point. He said yes I kicked him up when I walked in to push the drive, if it was the buck we thought it was he was on the Hitlist.

IMG_0180WebJake Groth and I both decided that the blood didn’t look great. After replaying it in my head over and over again I questioned the shot. We sent the other two guys, Chuck Groth and Tom Stevens around to post up on the fence on the other side of the property, just in case we were to bump him as we tracked him. Thus putting hunters in front of a possible wounded deer, we have used this method many times before when shotgun hunting and it has paid off.  As we tracked we came up to a place that the buck had bedded down about 250 yards from where I had shot him and a few minutes later a shot. We raced over to Tom, he had finished off the buck for me. What a way to close out the Iowa Gun Season! There was high fives all around! It was a hitlist buck that I had named Perfect Ten, it topped my biggest gun kill from a year ago. I still have hunting left to do yet this season and wow is it cold! Good luck to all of you still hunting, have a Merry Christmas and a safe Happy New Year.



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