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A Trip Down Route 66

As most of our viewers know, the lion share of my hunting over the past few years has been done in the great state of Iowa. A couple of years ago I purchased a property in Northern Missouri. There isn’t much in the area around this farm. The farm itself was undeveloped and promised adventure for yours truly. My Iowa farm has had unbelievable success and I wanted to see if what was learned there could be reapplied in Missouri and have similar results to what Terry has experienced on his Missouri farm.

I held to the same rules: Five percent of the total acreage would be devoted to food plots; those food plots would be planted with an eighty to twenty ratio of grain to green; aggressively harvest does; and study every single inch of the farm to learn where deer move, bed, and feed. After three years of observing, scouting, and planning, I felt like this fall would be a breakout year for the farm. I couldn’t wait for summer surveys with my Reconyx cameras. I even went so far as to put cameras in new places trying to find new deer. I anxiously awaited the results and was pleasantly surprised.

There was one particular buck that popped up in July and August. He was a typical six by six that I didn’t know. He took my breath away as I looked through his pictures. I had no idea whether or not he would stick around, and I certainly had no idea whether or not I would get a crack at him come deer season. The months rolled on and I grew confident that he liked what he found on my farm. The increase in habitat improvement with warm season grass and food had the buck I call Route 66 calling my farm home.

So the season arrives. I took a buck with my bow in early September. Taylor and I have hunted our tails off every chance we got – with her bow, youth season, and rifle season – and just couldn’t find a shooter for her. In fact we spent a lot of time where I thought Route 66 was living, but never laid eyes on him.

This weekend like the last four, Taylor and I once again spent every second we could in the deer woods. And once again, we had no luck. With Taylor back at school and Gary Levox on the road, I was up to bat with nothing but time in front of me and a plan to kill one of the best typicals I have ever had pictures of. How often do you get a six by six that pretty on film?

It didn’t take long. The first night I hunted one of my favorite spots called Half Moon Rising. With thirty minutes of daylight left, Route 66 steps out. As he closed the distance from forty yards to twenty, I felt more like I should have been hunting with my PSE instead of a gun. At twenty yards, the .243 Thompson Center Icon found its mark...Route 66 ran four or five steps and dropped in the field. I finished my reaction and to my dismay I saw the buck walking out of the field the same way he came in! I scrambled to reload and shot him again. Now he was down for good.

So the chapter on Route 66 is closed. As I looked through my Reconyx pictures of Route 66, I thought there was a real chance he would net Boone & Crockett. As is the buck grossed 174 6/8” and netted 169". If not for a broken G1, he would have grossed 177" and netted 173". Hopefully many more like him will come. I’m still learning this farm as I go, but I really like what I see. Now we just need a little luck for Taylor. I was tickled to death to harvest this buck, but deep down I wished he had popped out for Taylor. School sometimes just gets in the way of deer hunting.