Kandi Kisky Kills an Iowa Giant

By author of Brow Tines and Backstrap

181-inch buck is the Whitetail Freak's biggest bow-kill ever

Rack Report Details
Buck: 181-inch (green score)
Time of Year: November 19, 2014
Place: Leon, Iowa
Weapon: Mathews Chill Bow

Don and Kandi Kisky can make it look easy. They have the right ingredients for seeing big deer, of course—big tracts of prime Iowa farmland—but actually killing a Booner-class whitetail, particularly with a bow, is still among North America’s toughest hunting challenges. The Kiskys pull it off just about every season.

But making mistakes is a part of the big deer game whoever you are and wherever you’re hunting. This giant buck in particular seemed to have the Kiskys' number.

“Don first saw this buck in velvet a couple seasons ago, but he was never a regular on our cameras,” Kandi says. “We never saw him last year until late November. He came in while Don was hunting, and Don missed him. The buck disappeared again after that, and that miss has haunted Don since.”

The buck was a no-show again this summer—at least on the Kisky’s hunting grounds. The neighbors were getting regular photos of him. “He was beautiful. He had split brows, stickers off his G2. But we didn’t have any photos of him,” Kandi says.

Hunting from ground blinds concealed in standing corn has become a signature technique for the Kiskys over the past few seasons for a few different reasons. “If you brush the blinds in right and don’t open too many windows, you just vanish,” Kandi says. “We sit against the back of the blind, and we routinely have deer within a few feet of us. But best of all, we keep standing corn behind us, and we’re able to exit the blinds completely undetected, even when there are deer in the field.”

Kandi was hunting from one of these blinds in early November when she got a shot at another big deer. She unfortunately hit the buck high and lost him. “I was just sick over that,” she says. “And afterward, the hunting got really slow. The bucks were locked down with does, and we weren’t seeing many deer at all. We’d been hunting since Oct. 1, and we were tired and worn out.”

The evening of Nov. 19 found Don and Kandi back in the same blind, with Kandi hunting and Don filming. “We were hunting over cut corn, and there was a bean field the other side of it. On the far ridge the other side of the bean field, we were seeing quite a few deer moving. Small bucks and does, mostly, and then Don saw a good one. After looking over him a bit more, he realized it was giant he’d missed the year before.”

At first, the Kiskys  were just happy to see the buck again. But toward the end of shooting light, a doe started heading their way, dragging the big buck right behind her.

The deer were within 20 yards of the blind within moments, but Kandi struggled to get a shot. “He kept chasing her back and forth in front of us across my shooting window, but he wouldn't stop. I came to full draw 4 or 5 times,” she says. “Finally, he stopped, and my sight was on him, and I let it go. But when I shot, there was this really loud noise. I’d hit the window frame of the blind!”

Deer scattered in the field, but fortunately they didn’t really know what was going on. The buck bolted to the right, but the doe he'd been chasing eased back toward the blind. He came back toward her and stopped again at 30 yards. This time, Kandi made good on the opportunity. “I knew I hit him, but we weren’t sure where initially,” she says. “But Don stepped out of the blind to watch for him, and he saw the buck fall dead in the field.”

The giant buck, a main-frame 10-pointer, gross-scored 181 and is Kandi Kisky’s biggest bow-kill ever.

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