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January 15: Steve Stoltz

My 2019 Deer Season here in SE. Iowa has come to an end, in more ways than one!! The hunting lease that I have had since the early Drury years has come to an end for me. The farm management company that controls this particular ground decided to take the hunting rights in a new direction. And unfortunately those plans did not include me never the less, I feel blessed to have been able to hunt this 280 Acre farm for almost 30 years. Many great memories have been made on this farm, and both Mark, Terry, myself and many other friends have enjoyed taking great bucks off this farm over the years. Heck, we literally cut our teeth learning how to hunt mature bucks on this farm as many hunts from the early years were filmed there!

My goal for this last season on this farm was to try to take the two biggest bucks that I knew of if at all possible. When I took a 188" giant named "Shredder" on Nov. 8 with my bow, it was essentially my final farewell to this place. But I still had a statewide muzzleloader buck tag and the new lessor graciously allowed me to finish my 2019 season which ended Jan. 10.

There were several mature bucks still around and I was getting trail cam pics of some of them. On Jan. 8 the temps had dropped considerably and I had decided that it would be my last evening to hunt the farm. Storms were moving in the next day, follwed by a predicted ice and snow storm. Luckily for me, we had a SE. wind which is perfect for the only box blind I have on the farm.

The blind is sutuated in a CRP Field, overlooking abiout a 1/4 acre food plot planted in BioLogic Winter Bulbs/Sugar Beets. I also added some radish. The deer were absolutely hammering the plot. The forcast on DeerCast was Great on this evening with a perfect pressure of 30.28- prime deer movement conditions.

I settled in the blind by 2 pm. and by 3 pm. I had deer on the plot. Eventually those deer fed off and for a short period no new deer had shown. As light started to fade I looked and at the end of the food plot and I saw a set of antlers rise above the fox tail grass. It was "Curve", a big old mature 8 pt. that I actually had passed several times with my bow before taking Shredder. Curve was at least 5.5 years old and on this evening he was definately on the hit list!

I zoomed in on him with the camera and got my gun ready for the shot. There was one slight problem. There was a screen of tall grass between him and I, and all I could see of him was his head when it would raise up. He was feeding in the food plot, and moving at a snails pace. If he continued at that slow pace, it looked as though Curve would live another season as I was not going to take the shot presented.

Then, just before losing good shooting light he finally made it far enough out in the plot that he was clear of most of the tall grass that had been hiding his vitals. When he turned broadside I made sure that he was in camera frame, put the crosshairs low behind the shoulder and squeezed.

On impact Curve ran a half circle past the blind. He actually only ran about 50 yards from the plot and piled up in the same CRP field that the blind is in. What a fantastic finish to a spectacular season and special peice of ground that I will always cherish as the best place that I have ever hunted !!!