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November 26: Amy Reisner

Hunting almost every weekend since the beginning of October was beginning to take its toll on Dave and I and our family. Our two little boys were beginning to think of their grandparents as their primary caregivers being that we were spending so many Saturdays and Sundays in the stand in my two year quest to get my first buck with a bow. I began thinking the week of Thanksgiving, this is it, it is now or never because shotgun season begins in just a week and bow season draws to a close in Iowa.

My hubby started making plans for us to head out the day after Thanksgiving but had some doubts about our wind. Friday’s wind isn’t the best for the sets we have but he thought we could make it work and the temps were going to be the coldest of the year, so that could work in our favor. We dropped the kids at my mom’s on Thanksgiving night and we got up early on Friday to head to a two man ladder set over looking a soybean field. We brought our flocked Flambeau Boss Buck decoy and placed him a few yards facing us in front of our tree hoping to catch the attention of a buck going to bed in the “Deer Hotel” in the back of this farm.

We didn’t have to wait long and Dave caught some moment and saw some tines and large back end going into a thicket in front of us. He grunted but nothing showed itself. We waited some more and I saw a shooter coming in the timber. He wasn’t going to come to the field but on a different path, so Dave grunted at him. He heard us and was changing course when Dave suddenly said, “Shooter walking right at us from that thicket.” It was the deer Dave had saw earlier. It must have bedded up somewhere in front of us out of our view and decided this time, he needed to kick some other buck’s butt. He stomped into the field all bristled up, licking his nose and watching our decoy intently. He walked at us and turned a bit to swing around and face off with the decoy. I thought broadside shot, but he is still too far out for me to take a shot at him. I pulled back as he got just close enough and he turned again and was face to face with me. I kept thinking, please just turn a bit but he smelled something he didn’t like and buggered out to 80 yards. I think Dave must have left some human scent on the decoy. I was so low at this point. That was probably my last chance at a buck and I was ready to call it quits. We waited another hour and climbed down from that set to warm up.

Dave had a different plan for us in the afternoon. He wanted us to try a new set over looking a bedding area on a different farm. It was windy and cold so we had good cover noise going into this set and settled in for another brutal sit. I was facing the bedding area and saw a buck come into view. I tapped Dave and he grunted to get him to come closer. The buck was closing the distance and when he looked away, I grabbed my bow. The buck slowly made his way out to the Trophy Oats in front of us. He was still 40 yards away which is a bit out of my comfortable range so we waited for him to feed his way closer. He got to 32 yards and Dave said, anytime you have a lane you can take the shot, but I would wait for him to quarter away and put that front leg forward. He no sooner said that and the buck did just that and I said, “I have a lane.” I let the Rage fly and realized when it hit that I was back too far. As the buck ran away, we saw the arrow and I thought I am not sure about that shot. Dave watched him bed up about 120 yards away and we waited until dark and backed out.

We watched the video when we got home and Dave was pleased to see how much penetration that my arrow got. We began to think good thoughts and that the PSE and Rage combo did its job. We waited until morning, gathered our equipment and went to look for him. The buck wasn’t on the bed where Dave saw him the night before, but we had a small blood trail and followed him out to the beach by the river. There he laid waiting for me to find him. What quest this turned out to be! I would have never thought getting my first buck with a bow would take so many twists and turns but it was an adventure and one I am not soon to forget.