Today’s excellent guest blog was sent by Andrew O’Day, 13, from Iowa. Way to go Andrew, awesome buck!
The 2014 Iowa youth season had its typical challenges that come with hunting in September…rain, warm temps and an abundance of standing corn awaiting harvest. Fortunately, the Iowa DNR made some changes recently that allow youth hunters to use an unfilled youth tag during other select seasons.
After several opportunities to take younger, smaller bucks, I was able to take advantage of some quite noticeable pre-rut activity on one particular farm. An unusual ratio of day-to-night trail pictures led my dad, Clint, to determine that we needed to give this new stand a try during the final weekend of the early muzzleloader season.
We had not even gotten into the tree yet when I spotted a large buck around 65 yards away. Dad was up in the tree still hanging our Lifeline climbing rope and wasn’t even in his camo. I got his attention, but then the buck disappeared over a ridge.
A few minutes later, Dad had my stand ready, and I climbed up. The action was immediate and continuous. By 5:15, we had seen 3 bucks and 4 does. Another deer moved at 100 yards and caught my attention. I raised the muzzleloader and looked through my scope. Without a doubt, this was the buck we had come to hunt.
Since the stand location was originally picked for bowhunting, Dad had no lanes cleared for shots over 40 yards. This buck, fortunately, made his way along the creek, freshening up 2 scrapes and shredding a tree along the way.
Dad got him to stop at 45 yards, but his vitals lined up with a small tree. The buck took 2 more steps, and Dad stopped again. This time, I touched off the powder, and when the smoke cleared, my best buck to date was on his side, right where he had stopped.
After many thanks and some hugs, we put our hands on this awesome animal. Dad had always said that he would mount my first buck bigger than 150″ so this one will find a place on the wall where we can enjoy him for a long time.—Andrew O’Day