Written on Wednesday November 9th, 2022 at 10:19am CST
Where do I begin? This will be a rather large update with multiple sections. November 7th was when I figured we would be knocking something down, and that we did. Yet, the rut is crazy, and it can make hunters crazy. I just can't say it enough to my hunters. They have to live it, and that, they did. It is going to continue.
Saturday November 5th, 2022
I left home, 2.5 hours away, around 9:00am to arrive around 11:45am catching the last of the rain. At this time, I only had four hunters hunting that upcoming evening. Hunters 1 & 2 were on same farm as part of a group. Hunter 3 and 4 are individuals on other farms. Hunters 1 & 2 were seeing some solid action even seeing a shooter or two without shots. Hunter 3 claimed that he wasn't seeing any deer and the wind was "insane"... I told him he needs to be hunting, but he chose not to due to the wind. I was not pushing the issue. I then decide to drive over to the farm around 4pm after dealing with other hunters including a new late-booking that came in. I had to drive by Hunter #4's farm which I see a shooter on the neighbors off the road just standing there. I am verifying my own thoughts that the rut should be on. I pull up to Hunter #3's farm, and he is not there. He's not even in the truck scouting from the road. He's back at his hotel. I was obviously flustered by this and confused. I sit there for a minute, turn around, and then I make it about 200yds south of our farm entrance and see this (and record it on the phone).
This nice 4-year-old was pushing these three does right to our farm. I was obviously upset, so, I needed to blur out some choice words, I ended up putting music over the video. Sorry...
I then continued on down toward another farm about 10mins away, and I had an encounter with a monster 8 off the road. I got my reaction on video but not him. Talk about choice words! Basically, "bleeping bleep, bleep, bleep, bleep. That's a bleeping monster 8!"
I knew the rut was on given the big rain and cooling air coming in. It was going to be a short amount of time before the action picked up. I ended up meeting with Hunter #3 at his hotel, but he didn't seem to have a good reaction when I talked to him about hunting with the wind. He simply didn't want to. He had a crossbow (and needed permit), and I think he was not confident in his shooting with the 15-20mph wind. Obviously, the deer didn't care. More on Hunter #3 to come.
I ended up staying until dark, no shots fired, so I headed home. Sunday was another good day of hunting. Hunters 1, 2, 3, 4 were out. No shots, solid sits. Hunter #3 claimed to not be seeing any deer. I don't know if he was doing something on the farm that was hurting his sits, his noise, his scent control, his timing of entrance/exit, etc. I also never know if this means he just isn't seeing deer because they aren't there or he just can't see them. Yet, the day was done. I wanted him to be out there on Sunday all day. I told him to try something, but it appeared that he was not well-versed in the whole wind direction hunt strategy thing. Yet, more on him later. This is not a bashing post.
Sunday November 6th, 2022
No shots were fired, but like Saturday, hunters 1,2,4 are seeing good deer and good deer numbers, but #3 seems to not be seeing anything. I am at a loss as to why. Since I don't offer fully guided hunts, I can't be present with him every day to answer this question. I was shocked nothing died Sunday, but I knew that the next day was my favorite day of the year to Bowhunter in Southern Iowa, November 7th. A full moon was hitting, too (good or bad?).
Monday November 7th, 2022
The morning was solid but no shots. Sightings/encounters but no shot opportunities. I then tell my MO hunter who booked late (Hunter #5) to come in and hunt a farm due to the wind being solid. Hunters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 were out in the afternoon, and it was quiet thus far (as for texts or calls from them). I was sort of shocked nothing had happened yet, but around 4:30, I got a call. Hunter #1 had shot a 165-170" stud. He's unsure of the shot due to the buck moving as the arrow left the bow - potentially a shoulder blade or no-man's land. Within 5 minutes, I get another call. Hunter #4 has shot a solid buck but almost same story, shoulder or leg shot. I then get back on with Hunter #1, getting more details. I am hurrying to get in the truck and on the road. I have a 2.5 hour drive to Hunter #1. Within 20 minutes of Hunter #1 calling, Hunter #5 texts, he shot one that just went in front of the cell camera. He's sure he's dead based on the shot. So, within 20 minutes, 4:30pm to 4:50pm, three of five hunters had shot! What a night!
On the road, I am talking to them to get details on the shots, what the deer did, etc. I am hurrying but also trying not to hit any deer on the road as it's getting dark. I ended up being on the road by 5:15pm. I decided that I would do this in order of the calls coming in, so I'm going to go from Hunter #1 to Hunter #4 to Hunter #5. Hunter #3 texts me that he is heading home in the morning, and I ask him to consider staying because the rut is just firing up. Can't kill them if you leave or don't hunt! He declined saying that the hunt is not his "cup of tea."
DEER #1 - Hunter #1's Deer & Track Job
We start the track by 7:30pm, 3 hours after the shot. We can't find arrow or point of hit, but we can find blood. He immediately crossed into neighbors within 50yds of shot, and started heading NNW. No immediate straight line like he's crashing, but within 100-150yds, he's on deer trails... not a great sign. Blood is solid though but muscle-y. The flashlight made it seem a bit brighter red than it was. I'm still wondering at this point if it has any lung in it. Deer is not snorting out blood. No exit hole. High entrance hole (15yd shot) from 18' stand.
This stand produced a 560-ish yard track last year, liver and single lung that we pushed the deer to expire. This deer took a different line and would NEVER cross the creek/ditch bank. I thought that was a good sign. We get about 250yds on the track, and then we see a clot. Damn it. Still no arrow. We keep pushing because we are either tracking an deer that will live, or we are going to push him to expire. Fast-forward a few hours, we are about 700yds from the hit (600 as the crow flies), and still no bed. He does a little circling, but no beds. No bumping either. It is now 10:00pm, and I have to make the call. We are on neighboring ground, so we can only legally proceed with blood. We lost blood in this creek bank. I think he proceeded north in the creek, but without sign, we could not make sense of it. He did circle back at the end a little, but didn't get out of the creek on either side. Hunter #1 was sick, of course, and I told him that it is okay, it happens, and he needs to get back out in the morning. Hopefully, we will find him on camera alive, or see some buzzards and hear the yotes on him in coming days. Yet, it is a neighbor's farm, so we would need to permission to enter at that point. He is unlikely to allow us based on past experiences. Not all neighbors are friendly. We have a long walk out, and we get back to truck by about 10:30pm. I then head to Hunter #4's farm.
DEER #2 - Hunter #4's Deer & Track Job
I get to Hunter #4's farm by 11:00pm because I picked up Hunter #5 who wanted to come help. We head into the farm to find the start. The Lumenok is lit (blue color), but we can't find starting blood. Now, mind you, I am a little tired at this point, so I am excited that Hunter #5, a buddy, is with to help. We get on blood and within 50yds of the arrow, we are onto the neighbor's property. No crashing line. He is immediately on trails, like Hunter #1's track. The blood on this deer is much less and even more muscle-y. I didn't notice any blade issues on the arrow when I looked at it, but it had some fat, hair, and blood on it. We get about 250yds on the track when we see the first bed. Hunter claims the deer's shoulder was flopping loose like a gun shot took it out. The bed was extremely cold, so I know we didn't bump him. The deer changes paths and gets to a wide ridge. Another bed. We lose blood, oddly. I take a walk covering about a 100yd x 50yd square down the ridge and find more blood. He busted straight down the ridge (not bad slope but not easy either). We then lose it again. There is a massive ditch around the entire ridge, so I'm wondering if he fell down in it. Nope, walked it all. No blood in it. I then head back to them, and they find fresh, slightly warm coyote scat on the last bed. He was bumped and ran by coyotes. Son of a (bleep). We do another quick look to see if we can find the next blood, but nope. He must have clotted enough but got ran out by yotes. That meant that we were done. 300-350yds on the track. This neighbor is not friendly to hunters and would not let us go back in and look. Shoot! That's 2 deer not recovered and likely to be alive. My hunter was really saddened by this, but I told him he's hunted his butt off and needs to get back out there and continue. Same with Hunter #1, Hunter #4 is also a great dude. They both got a slice of humble pie. It happens. When we got back to the truck, it was 3:15am on Tuesday November 8th. I did not take any blood photos on this track.
DEER #3 - Hunter #5's Deer & Track Job
Hunter #5 and I head back to his farm, and we get there about 4am. We are beat, but we easily get onto blood, buck was definitely crashing, got over a fence onto neighbor's and expired not 10yds from the fence. I did get my phone out to film the last end of the recovery. Here that recovery video is! The first one I actually turned the phone sideways for a landscape view.
We got the tag on him, drug him across the fence, and up to the field edge so I could drive to it. Work smarter, not harder. My hunter got him gutted, and we got some photos done of him. I have to admit, I'm on fumes at this point, so I don't know if the photos are okay or not.
Oh, yeah, this deer was shot right in front of the trail camera that I put on video mode on Saturday when I was down.
Pretty cool! I haven't had a deer shot in front of a camera since 2018, but that was in photo-mode. I may try to move some cameras to film the shots. It helped on this deer above! We thought it was into opposite shoulder hard, but it was jugular and some shoulder.
Tuesday November 8th, 2022
We get back to the hotel by 5:15am, and I am asleep by 5:30am. I wake up around 8:30am, and am on the road for home. No further shots. Hunter 1, 2, 4 and 6 slept in. Hunter #3 was back home. We added Hunter #6 (he's part of the group with Hunters #1 and #2). So, I have 4 hunters out hunting, 2 of which have already shot so far. More shooters seen, but no opportunities or shots taken.
Wednesday November 9th, 2022
The morning was solid, but we have not taken any shots. At least 2 shooters seen, maybe 3. Could have been a shot taken on this stud by Hunter #3 with this deer being 65 or less yds from the blind and broadside!!! Ugh! This is why I get flustered with guys. Check this video out! He could have been tagged out with 2 days left of his hunt yet. I don't often deal with this type of shenanigans, but when I do, trail cameras usually prove me right. I'd gladly take some blame for a bad farm or something, but nope, an unfortunate hunter decision cost him. I have not sent this to him, so he'd have to read this whole post to know this buck showed up. No reason to beat a dead horse at this point.
The rut is going on in southern Iowa and will likely continue into the weekend as lockdown draws near, but we have a major heat wave entering today. Mid to upper 70's is so weird! The forecast as of now looks like Friday will bring a 30-40-degree drop with lows in the mid to upper teens! Wow! That could bring snow that sticks. That is Southern Iowa for you. Whether we are talking about the deer or the weather, you can be assured that you will never know what is going to happen. That's the fun of it. Embrace it because you won't fight it and win.
We will do more updates as things happen. Thanks for staying tuned on how the hunts and operation is doing! Southern Iowa rut hunting is fun!!
I still have some hunts available for next year 2023 and plenty in 2024, mostly archery and the early gun seasons. I may run a special on them to celebrate the rut and all this craziness. Actually, any hunt that gets booked with a 50% deposit by Friday, November 11th (Veteran's Day), will receive a $750 discount off of the current price or $1,000 off of the current price if you are a U.S. veteran! Go Navy! Shoot me an email to book (email@example.com).
Here are some other deer content from the last week or so... sorry if you've seen them already. I have videos, but those are all on Instagram... @matt_petersen_iowa