The Last Day Redemption Buck

Two of my hunters, Karl and his son Erik, were hunting with me in Zone 5 on a farm just under 160 acres. This farm is really simple to hunt, and after talking to them, we agreed to go hunt aggressively from the start. They got into the same creek bottom with one being on the north end and one being on the south end, both facing east toward the creek. Obviously, this is not a great setup for a westerly wind, but we were able to benefit from the southerly winds for an entire 8 days. Karl and Erik are both stand-up people who have put a lot of time and effort communicating with me about the hunt before it started, which is what I ask out of all of my hunters.

Back in the summer, after getting cameras up, I hadn't seen anything really special on the farm. I could sense their light concern about such as we discussed the cameras and the deer. I remember telling them something along the lines of, "don't worry" and "this is normal"... which is truly is. Farms like this don't hold many shooters in the summer months, but as we inch closer to the season, bucks will start spreading out into farms like this or at least visit it. That is what happened. You either get lucky by catching a glimpse of these visiting bucks or you don't. This year, we did. As we got into October, bucks started randomly showing up on camera out of nowhere. Again, this is all luck.

As we approached their early November hunt, we noticed the warm front coming in. They asked if they could push it back a few days to try and get into the colder weather. Of course, I agreed. Getting in a few days later than expected panned out just fine for these guys. We had trail camera (lucky) evidence of a few shooters around, actually I think 5 or 6 of them. One of which was the highest scoring deer we named "Hammer". Then, we had a new clean 10 that would be upper 160s for sure, and 3 or 4 solid 8pts that range from 145-160", so a healthy dosage of good deer.

DAY #1 - Friday November 6th

8:26am - Erik is texting me about a small 110" 8pt and a few does coming down the hill from the east. Nothing special. Also noticing combining corn to the NE from his north creek stand. (Dad/Karl is in my Radix Monarch 5' Tower Blind on the south end of the creek).

10:59am - Erik texts me "Hammer came off hill to east and is bedded at 80 in thick stuff"...

11:15am - Erik texts me "if he gives me an opportunity I'm taking it. GIANT. Still bedded"

12:29pm - Erik texts me "Still bedded. Looking at ears and tines. He's a booner man"

1:42pm - I text Erik, "Still bedded?"

1:46pm - Erik responds, "yes"...

This went on for a very, very long time... especially for Erik. Hammer was directly to the right of the stand at 80 yards in thick stuff. Easy for a lefty. Horrible for a righty. Erik ended up sitting on his knees in the blind seat for 5 hours & 13 mins before Hammer pushed the doe he had bedded with back east and out of sight. This is when Erik tells me that his dad had an encounter with one of the shooter 8pts at 60 yards but didn't get a shot. This buck named "Rags" was super wide and freaky. I am thinking that if he went south, he'd land up within 50 yards of his dad for an easy shot with his crossbow (shoulder injury allows such in Iowa with a doctors affidavit & DNR permit), but nope. Rags below in video.

4:41pm - Erik texts "They r back!" and I respond "KILL THE BUCK!" but Erik says they won't cross the creek and get closer. Erik gets a quick picture through the brush with his cell phone (below).