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The hunt for this buck began over one year ago when he showed up on my Reconyx camera in early fall. Based on body and antler size I estimated him at 4-1/2 to 5-1/2 years old. Although I spent a lot of time in the area I never encountered him during the 2008 archery season. Fortunately for me he lived through the IA shotgun season and once again appeared on my Reconyx in late December. I immediately began patterning him with hopes of catching him in daylight during the late muzzleloader season. When the first day of season came, he showed up at the tail end of a line of twenty bucks, but we had lost adequate camera light so I passed. Day two and I was back at it for another try. This time he came out with plenty of light so I settle my Omega scope on his vitals and slowly squeezed the trigger. Instead of a solid kick from my TC, the gun just popped. I apparently had gotten the powder wet and it didn't fire. All I could do was watch as he ran over the hill. I never got another crack at him the rest of the season.

Roll ahead to 2009 and once again old "Hang Fire" showed up on my Reconyx. Bill and I also were able to get some velvet footage of him in an alfalfa field in late July. Once the velvet was shed he disappeared from the area I was hunting. I assumed he had moved slightly in preparation for the upcoming rut.

Bill and I hunted sparingly throughout October because we were concentrating on getting our children their first deer. November arrived and vacation was here. Rick Malik and Gregg Day traveled all the way from Pennsylvania to spend a week in the woods with us hunting and videoing. Team Malik and Kramer were lucky enough to start things off right with a beautiful buck that Rick took on November 6th. Now it was my turn to hunt for the rest of the week in front of the camera. The next four days brought warm temps, South winds, and very little buck movement.

Wednesday arrived and we were down to two days left. With south winds forecast once again and little time left I decided to roll the dice and dive in to the middle of a big hardwood ridge. The area was full of big buck sign and I hadn't hunted it in two years so we were optimistic regardless of the warmer temps. It took us an hour to slowly pick our way down to the stand and to our surprise we had not spooked a single deer during our approach. Once settled in, deer began moving through almost immediately. After seeing a doe and small buck pass by I heard the unmistakable crunch, crunch, crunch of a cruising buck on the ridge in front of us. I looked up to see a giant headed our way. I grabbed my bow and Rick began filming as the big eight point crossed a ditch below our stand and turned directly towards us. As I drew my Dream Season UF my elbow bumped the tree causing my arrow to bounce on the rest. The buck heard it and instantly looked directly at me in the tree. My heart was exploding in my chest and I thought it was over. Fortunately the sun was directly behind me and he couldn't pick us off. He took two more steps, stopped and the rest is history. As the buck ran away I realized it was him, the giant five or six year old that escaped my TC in 2008. It was old "Hang Fire". It was a humbling experience to be able to harvest a whitetail of this age class. I look forward to going head to head with another ancient giant with my PSE next year.

Gregg was unable to harvest a buck during the week's hunt. We all had the time of our lives and are already planning another PA invasion in a couple years. You can bet with cooler temps and a couple weekends left before the IA gun season Bill and I will be out chasing another Iowa monster every chance we get.