A fat corn fed whitetail doe stepped into an opening behind my tree stand with a purpose in her quick gait and scampered down the creek draw away from me.  A big Iowa buck followed seconds later.  He was through the shooting lane much too fast for a shot as he intently dogged his chosen love interest.  In desperation, I grunted loudly three short times then blew one long draw out bawl from my ever-present grunt tube.  I thought it was hopeless, certain no buck would choose to leave a hot doe just to pick a fight with me.  The seconds passed like hours…

My Iowa adventure began 23 years earlier when this New York raised student spent his four college years in the hunters’ paradise known as Iowa.  The hunting Gods were kind to me.  During those glorious years, I was able to achieve my first bow kill, harvest my first wild turkey, shoot my biggest whitetail buck, and enjoy too many pheasant, quail, and duck dinners to count.  Needless to say, I may have been financially poor, but I was never a “STARVING” college student.  After graduation in 1981 I never was able to make the time to return and hunt the place I loved so much.  In June I applied for a limited draw Iowa bow hunting permit.  After being rejected in Montana the previous two years, my hopes were not high, but lady luck finally shined on me and had a much coveted Iowa bow permit. On November first, I loaded the car and headed west to the place of so many great memories from years ago.

I was hunting a stand overlooking a creek bottom between two cut cornfields and an expansive, impenetrable cedar groove.  At daybreak a heavy beamed 10-point had crossed in front of my stand at about 80 yards, entered the dry creek bed and continued straight away from me.  Now it looked like my second monster buck of the morning was headed the same way.  Three minutes after the grunting sequence described in the opening paragraph, like magic, his rack appeared traveling up the creek bottom looking for the grunting adversary.  I came to full draw and waited for his final step in my shooting lane.  He stopped and trashed a tree with his impressive rack, offering me no shot. The sight of those impressive antlers raking up and down that tree is a memory I’ll never forget,  I can only guess he was warming up for the big brawl.  My muscles reached the point of no return and I had to let my bow down.  The adrenalin was really starting to kick in, both mine and his!  In a flash he bounded up the steep draw and was directly under my stand with fire in his eyes.  Months of practice paid off as my bow came to my anchor point followed by a smooth release without me really having to think.  I guess you could say I was on “autopilot.”  My Matthews LX performed flawlessly and silently.  The Beaman matrix armed with a wasp hammer broad head disappeared behind the massive buck’s shoulder.  He was so close I felt as if I could reach out and touch his huge rack.  I watched him sprint across the field and heard him go down just out of sight.  I’m always amazed at how fast a sharp broad head through both lungs gets the job done.

My fallen king had 9 points and scored 145 P&Y points. I spent the rest of my vacation pheasant, quail, and goose hunting, with great success.  My Iowa return trip was so much than I had hoped for.  I’ll not wait another 22 years to return.

Paul Bambara
Paul@huntinglife.com

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