Buck Hollow Sporting Goods - click or touch to visit their website Midwest Habitat Company

1st Iowa bow tag punched in 27 years

Marty Edwards

PMA Member
We spent our 1st night back in Iowa on New Year’s Eve, 2020. After nearly 27 years of living in other states, what a dream come true to return home. We purchased a farm in southern Iowa and instantly got to work deploying cameras, posting signs, putting in food, etc. While my wife punched 2 tags in ‘21 and another in ‘22, I just hadn’t seen anything on the farm I was excited about with one possible exception. …There was this old looking 8 point that seemed to have a very small core area on the far east side of the farm. But, he also seemed to be very nocturnal in both ‘21 and ‘22. On top of that, those first 2 seasons I only hunted maybe 1 or 2 times. This year it was pretty much the same story on the cams…nothing I was real excited about, but we had several old bucks around and some of them I was getting to know pretty well via a ton of cell-cams and a few were known bullies. It was becoming obvious we had age class structure but that when we had really good up & coming youngsters, they were disappearing. Neighbors? To some degree, yes. But, I also had a hunch that the old-timers I had roaming the farm were running my good 3 & 4 yo’s off. So, I decided my wife & I were going to focus on the oldest 8 pointers we had on the farm. A couple old bullies we called “Alejandro” and another we got real creative with the name, and called him “The Basic 8” after being on the farm for 3 years, I’m starting to figure out how the deer move on this place. I spent the summer tweaking more food and identifying new stand locations. Fast forward to November 4th. My very first sit of the 2023 season. NW wind, crispy & cool. Just as the sun was beginning to peek The Basic 8 came marching in to a scrape 20 yards in front of me, grunting all the way in. When he turned broadside at 20 and looked the other way, I almost picked up my bow…but I was 100% content to just take it all in and watch him do his thing. An incredible morning unfolded in the woods. Grunting, chasing, complete pre-rut mayhem in southern Iowa. Somewhere around 9am I started hearing LOUD grunting and very aggressive growling to my north. I could see movement in the thick stuff, but couldn’t make out who it was. Finally he stepped out of the shadows into a patch of sun and I knew it was that chocolate-antlered old stud, Alejandro. He had a doe about 50 yards away in thick cover and he wasn’t letting her get more than 5 yards away. As she turned west & began dragging him out of my life, I snort-wheezed. He threw his head around, bristled up and stared a hole into the base of my tree. But he stood his ground. The doe drifted further to the west, away from me. He turned to follow and I snort-wheezed again. He wheeled and faced me head on. Sun in his eyes and wind in my face…perfect situation, but he’s holding his ground. As he turned away again to follow his doe, I threw a third, louder, longer, more aggressive snort-wheeze straight at him. He swelled up like a beach ball, threw his ears back and began a sideways stiff-legged march in my direction. Game on! I’ve never in my life heard a deer be so loud coming through the timber…it’s crazy…the last one of the things I will always remember most about this hunt. It was as if he was breaking 1” thick dried hickory limbs with every single step. When he stepped behind two giant white oaks, I grabbed by bow. He was at 40 and closing fast. I started worrying he was going to walk straight to the base of my tree but at 25 yards a cluster of old waist-high cut off stumps veered him left. When he cleared the stumps I stopped him with a mouth grunt…aim aim aim squeeeeze. WHACK! I knew Alejandro would be getting a ride in the wagon soon. I texted my wife and then sat with my thoughts. I’ve been chasing whitetails with a bow for 45 years. This one meant as much as any I’ve ever taken. I had just filled my first Iowa tag in 27 years, and my very first tag in Iowa as a landowner. Grateful is an understatement. Here’s to Alejandro and the incredible whitetailed deer!

PS- “The Basic 8” also got a buggy ride a few days later, but that’s my wife’s story to tell.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_5399.jpeg
    IMG_5399.jpeg
    649.6 KB · Views: 150
  • IMG_5402.jpeg
    IMG_5402.jpeg
    507.9 KB · Views: 151
  • IMG_5441.jpeg
    IMG_5441.jpeg
    320.4 KB · Views: 150
We spent our 1st night back in Iowa on New Year’s Eve, 2020. After nearly 27 years of living in other states, what a dream come true to return home. We purchased a farm in southern Iowa and instantly got to work deploying cameras, posting signs, putting in food, etc. While my wife punched 2 tags in ‘21 and another in ‘22, I just hadn’t seen anything on the farm I was excited about with one possible exception. …There was this old looking 8 point that seemed to have a very small core area on the far east side of the farm. But, he also seemed to be very nocturnal in both ‘21 and ‘22. On top of that, those first 2 seasons I only hunted maybe 1 or 2 times. This year it was pretty much the same story on the cams…nothing I was real excited about, but we had several old bucks around and some of them I was getting to know pretty well via a ton of cell-cams and a few were known bullies. It was becoming obvious we had age class structure but that when we had really good up & coming youngsters, they were disappearing. Neighbors? To some degree, yes. But, I also had a hunch that the old-timers I had roaming the farm were running my good 3 & 4 yo’s off. So, I decided my wife & I were going to focus on the oldest 8 pointers we had on the farm. A couple old bullies we called “Alejandro” and another we got real creative with the name, and called him “The Basic 8” after being on the farm for 3 years, I’m starting to figure out how the deer move on this place. I spent the summer tweaking more food and identifying new stand locations. Fast forward to November 4th. My very first sit of the 2023 season. NW wind, crispy & cool. Just as the sun was beginning to peek The Basic 8 came marching in to a scrape 20 yards in front of me, grunting all the way in. When he turned broadside at 20 and looked the other way, I almost picked up my bow…but I was 100% content to just take it all in and watch him do his thing. An incredible morning unfolded in the woods. Grunting, chasing, complete pre-rut mayhem in southern Iowa. Somewhere around 9am I started hearing LOUD grunting and very aggressive growling to my north. I could see movement in the thick stuff, but couldn’t make out who it was. Finally he stepped out of the shadows into a patch of sun and I knew it was that chocolate-antlered old stud, Alejandro. He had a doe about 50 yards away in thick cover and he wasn’t letting her get more than 5 yards away. As she turned west & began dragging him out of my life, I snort-wheezed. He threw his head around, bristled up and stared a hole into the base of my tree. But he stood his ground. The doe drifted further to the west, away from me. He turned to follow and I snort-wheezed again. He wheeled and faced me head on. Sun in his eyes and wind in my face…perfect situation, but he’s holding his ground. As he turned away again to follow his doe, I threw a third, louder, longer, more aggressive snort-wheeze straight at him. He swelled up like a beach ball, threw his ears back and began a sideways stiff-legged march in my direction. Game on! I’ve never in my life heard a deer be so loud coming through the timber…it’s crazy…the last one of the things I will always remember most about this hunt. It was as if he was breaking 1” thick dried hickory limbs with every single step. When he stepped behind two giant white oaks, I grabbed by bow. He was at 40 and closing fast. I started worrying he was going to walk straight to the base of my tree but at 25 yards a cluster of old waist-high cut off stumps veered him left. When he cleared the stumps I stopped him with a mouth grunt…aim aim aim squeeeeze. WHACK! I knew Alejandro would be getting a ride in the wagon soon. I texted my wife and then sat with my thoughts. I’ve been chasing whitetails with a bow for 45 years. This one meant as much as any I’ve ever taken. I had just filled my first Iowa tag in 27 years, and my very first tag in Iowa as a landowner. Grateful is an understatement. Here’s to Alejandro and the incredible whitetailed deer!

PS- “The Basic 8” also got a buggy ride a few days later, but that’s my wife’s story to tell.
Wow, awesome story and great 8 pointer. True trophy for sure. Congrats on a great hunt.
 
Top Bottom