In 2016, I had a group of three guys from New York come into camp. This was again a year where we did Fully Guided Hunts where we provided the lodging, meals, transportation, etc. These three sure were a hoot! Robert, Josh, and Randy, all different walks of life but all hunting buddies. Robert was the "group leader", so I mostly talked with him leading up to their hunt. When they arrived, got situated, and started hunting, we covered three or four farms stand-hop'ing a bit. Well, we missed out on a buck by doing that which ended up being shot by another hunter of mine. He went 165" some odd days later. Josh, unfortunately, shot a buck in the ham due to nicking a limb, and that buck wasn't recovered. Due to bouncing around, I lost my feel for where the best spots are currently. I put Robert into this hay bale blind on a bean plot, and he was just limited. The deer weren't touching these beans, like at all, so he got into the timber closer to the funnel we knew the deer used into and out of the farm. The set was good, and after an encounter, Robert knew that he wanted to move the stand. I was somewhat against it, but I went with it. Robert is a "die-hard" bowhunter, which is what I believe got me onboard.
This farm was special. The neighborhood was centered around a big river bottom area where deer ran during the rut. Our farm was at the end of a line of timbered habitat that the deer would stem off of the river to post up, bed, feed, and breed. A hot doe was going to be in there at some point. It was a matter of time. Our farm was the end hub, so all the deer that came into the farm had to turn around and go back the way they came. This was a uniquely benefiting feature as we could have up to twice as many sightings and opportunities, or so I believe. So, with Robert closer to this gap, and still having some tough shooting lanes, he set out on his last hunt.
He had a buck that was coming from the farm's bedding area into the funnel. He knew it was then or never. With his Hoyt bow, he sent a great arrow, landed it, and lost view of the buck due to trees and floor vegetation. We ended up heading over, and we quickly found the buck. I couldn't believe it. This was a rather difficult hunt for them, but we had done it. Big buck down! We planned on catching the end of the pre-rut and the start of the rut. October 29th is when I believe they started their hunt, a good 5-7 days before the rut normally kicks on here in southern Iowa. I was nervous after the first few days that our timing might be slightly off, yet, the group of three produced 2 quality shot opportunities, and we got one great buck down.
Robert was ecstatic, and so was I. This was our first buck as an operation outfitting in southern Iowa, and it will never be forgotten. I wish that all of my hunters would hunt as hard as Robert did. As he can attest to, you should invest the same amount of effort into the hunt as your guide/outfitter does throughout the year. I hope to see Robert, Josh, and Randy back again in the near future.