Iowa Public Land Giant and a Promise to Dad

By author of The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory
Rack Report Details
Buck: 221 5/8-inch gross and 193 5/8-inch net
Time of Year: November 2009
Place: Public land in southern Iowa
Weapon: Mathews Legacy bow

Although his father passed away the previous January, Sid Tingen often found himself talking to his father, James, as if he were there with him. Nov. 5, 2009 was no different. Tingen, a Florida resident, was on his way to a long-awaited Iowa deer hunt when he began talking to his father like he’d done since his death.

“I promised him that I was going to shoot a Boone and Crockett for him,” Tingen says. “I’d shot four Pope and Young with my bow, but never a Boone and Crockett. My father and I were very close and hunted together all the time. When he passed away, he left me a little bit of money, and my wife encouraged me to use it on a deer hunt in Iowa. She said it was what my father would’ve wanted.”

Tingen made that promise to his father, but he knew it was a tall order to fill. He realized just how difficult fulfilling that promise would be after hunting five days without any luck. On the morning of the sixth and last day of his hunting trip, he worried that he’d be unable to keep his word.

As he drove to his hunting location the last morning of the trip, he spoke to his father again asking him, “Are you with me?” Then he turned on the radio, which began playing “Amazing Grace,” the only song that was sung at his father’s graveyard funeral. Tingen took that as a sign that his father was indeed with him.

Frigid temperatures greeted Tingen that morning as he climbed into his tree stand. In fact, a cold front had come in the previous night dropping temperatures into the low 20s that morning. Tingen hoped the cold weather would make the big deer move more than they had throughout the week.

As he stared up at the star-filled sky, Tingen again talked to his father as if he was in the stand with him.

“I asked him, ‘Are you there?’ Just then a shooting star blazed across the sky. Wondering if this was a sign, I said, ‘If that is you, do it again.’ Sure enough, another shooting star shot through the sky at that very moment. I got pretty emotional.”

Tingen’s stand was set up in an area full of creek bottoms, oak ridges and thick CRP. Various crops such as alfalfa, corn and soybean grew in the area as well. He knew all of these elements comprised the perfect big buck habitat.

At about 7 a.m., Tingen watched as a nice 10-pointer walked into range. As he drew his Mathews bow, he felt certain that he was about to fulfill the promise he’d made to his father, but to his horror he missed.

“I thought, ‘Not only did I blow my chance at one of Iowa’s giant bucks, but I broke the promise I’d made to my dad,’” Tingen says. “Little did I know that the miss was a blessing in disguise.”

Approximately 20 minutes later, Tingen heard a snort wheeze behind him and caught a glimpse of a buck’s massive G2 and G3.

“Once I got a glimpse of that rack, I knew that I wanted that deer,” Tingen says. “I stopped looking at the rack and concentrated on the buck himself.”

Tingen could not get an immediate shot off at the buck and watched in despair as it walked away with a doe.

“A smaller buck followed the big bruiser and his doe at a distance, and the big boy just couldn’t take it,” Tingen says. “He let out another snort wheeze and ran back about 40 yards to where the small buck was and destroyed a small tree as a sign of his dominance.”

This time as he began making his way back to the doe, the buck took a different route that would take him by some small trees that Tingen had ranged earlier at 30 yards. When he got within range, Tingen stopped him with a grunt and took the shot with his Mathews bow. When he saw that the shot was good, he knew that he’d just fulfilled the promise he’d made to his father.

“The buck grossed 221 5/8 inches, by far the biggest buck I’ve ever taken and probably ever will take,” Tingen says. “But the real story for me is the signs I received from my father. I truly believe he was there with me that day, and he’s the reason I was able to take that huge buck.”


 

 

 

“I thought, ‘Not only did I blow my chance at one of Iowa’s giant bucks, but I broke the promise I’d made to my dad,’” Tingen says. “Little did I know that the miss was a blessing in disguise.”