Iowa Bow Freeze!

By Online Hunting Journal #12

Entry Title: Cold-Weather, Iowa Bowhunt
By Michael Waddell, Compiled By Nino Bosaz

Hunter’s Names: Michael Waddell w/cameraman Steve Finch, Bill Jordan w/cameraman Mike McKensey

Game Hunting: Midwestern Whitetails in Iowa

Where Hunting: Iowa leased land.

Hunting Method: Bowhunting. We hunted in the mornings till about noon. Ate lunch and would be back on stand around 1:30 and hunt till dark.

Phase of Season: These deer were in the phase right before the full rut. They were all-out chasing does. We saw a couple bucks doggin’ does pretty hard. It was the time of the season where bucks were definitely responding to horns and coming to grunt calls.

Dates Hunted: November 3rd through November 10th

Wind Direction & Weather Conditions: The first day it was really cold. Again, spitting snow, cold, perfect weather conditions. Ideal for hunting. We’ve been getting lucky with weather every for the last few hunts. This hunt was no different. The first few days of the hunt, with the cold weather, bucks were really moving.

Stand Locations: We were hunting out of Summit lock-on stands set in bottlenecks and funnels in the big timber. Mainly we hunted “bedding’ ridges in the mornings and closer to “food-source’-field edges in the afternoons. We were hoping to catch deer cruising these areas for does, and hopefully granting us bow-range opportunities.

Trophy Notes: Bill’s deer was a gnarled, ol’ eight-point. It’ll score about 135-inches. It was a huge-bodied deer, 235-pounds field-dressed! This was definitely a 6 Ω-year-old deer.

Bill Winke’s buck was a 160-class 10-pointer that he killed the day Team Realtree arrived at the nearby lease.

General Notes Taken
All in all, with the weather being so perfect, most every person in camp was seeing lots of deer. I, on the other hand was running into a streak of bad luck. The places where I had stand locations, just so happened to be “the wrong’ places to be. Things just weren’t happening. I mean, maybe I was seeing three or four deer a day and all of them were small does and 1 Ω-year-old bucks—No shooters.

Steve Finch and me hunted together all week long and didn’t see a shooter until the very last day. We saw one good one in the morning and a big buck that afternoon. Both were cruising does. It seemed like the deer early on in the week were real receptive to calling, but as the week wore on things kind of shut down. It’s likely that some of the bigger bucks were hooking up with the does—not coming in to investigate horns and grunts. Deer, for sure, were becoming less visible.

Hunters all around us were bringing some deer into our camp—I’m talking monsters. Local hunter Jim Hill brought a buck by our camp that scored a gross 185 and a net 173. Just a huge 10-pointer. An incredible buck! And outdoor writer Bill Winke shot a great buck also. It was a gross 160-inch deer. Everybody in the surrounding lands were having great success.

Finally on the fifth day of the hunt, Mike McKensey and Bill Jordan were hunting together and had a really nice 135-class, eight-pointer cruising down a bottom. The buck hit and refreshed a couple of scrapes (all caught on video), then Bill rattled to him. The buck came in right on a string, right underneath their stand and Bill killed him at like 10 yards! It was a big-bodied, mature eight-pointer. Probably a 6 Ω-year-old deer. The footage was fantastic. A really great hunt!

I never did kill a deer on this hunt, and only saw those two shooters on the last day that I couldn’t shoot. On average, we were only seeing two to five deer per sit. We didn’t see a lot of big deer. Most of the bucks we did see, we were able to rattle them into range. So the deer were really coming into horns especially early on in the hunt. One note worth mentioning is that at the end of the week, deer really became lazy coming to horns. They seemed to become more interested in, and locked into the does they were with at the time. Most of the bigger bucks had does and weren’t about to leave “em.

Around camp, the fact that we were hunting so darn hard, and how frustrated we were getting became the butt of jokes and it was actually funny. We had to laugh about it. We drank plenty of coffee, scratching our heads figuring where to place stands. Finally, Bill’s move paid off, big time. We didn’t go home empty handed for great footage and great stories.

Editor's Note: Check back soon for pictures of Bill Jordan's buck from this Online Journal Entry.