January 7: Governor Terry Branstad

If someone would have told me back in 1989 that Terry and I would one day be taking the Governor of IA deer hunting, I would have scratched my head, laughed a bit and said yea right buddy! Well, fast forward to December of 2011 when the Governors assistant Ann Hughes called and asked if we would do just that. Both mine and Terry's reaction was probably about the same as it would have been when we started DOD. But Of course we did say YES we would love to.

I assumed that it would be a normal 3-5 day hunt and hoped we could have some decent weather and eventually find a hungry late season buck on my IA farm. It got a little interesting when Ann informed me the Governor would only have 1 day to hunt. (big swallow followed by a sigh) Okay the pressure is on! But I still thought we could be in the game if the weather would hit in our favor.

Over the next several weeks I checked cameras, looked at the food pressure on every field and watched plots hoping to find a field with multiple candidates hitting it. Joe Foster and I split up on several occasions to increase our odds of finding a shooter for the Governor to hunt on the afternoon of Jan. 7. The weather was not at all helping and based on all of our scouting I was more than a little concerned! I could only hope that the Governor would be understanding if the deer chose not to move that night.

Once the hunt rolled around and I knew the wind direction would be NNW, the choice was easy. Joe had sat one particular field that is traditionally good in the late season the night before and was excited to share some awesome footage with me of a really nice 150s kinda deer.

The governor and his crew arrived and we shared a fantastic meal that Wanda and Ashley Lindsey had prepared at David and Wanda's home on their farm. (A Big thank you to the Lindsey crew for the hospitality and the incredible meal!!!!!) Terry Myself and Governor Branstad got settled into our Big Game Freestyle Blind about 3pm and hoped we would be in for a great evening!

The deer started showing up as if they had read the script at roughly 4 pm. In fact the second deer on the field was a mature 8 with a forked g2 on the left side that I had several pictures of but really had never named. After the buck ate in the bean field for about 10 minutes he finally presented us with a broadside 75 yard shot. Boom went the TC but the giant 8 stood his ground and eventually stepped off the field. I though about and then decided to name that guy "Governors Pardon" hehe

Upon reviewing the footage we quickly noticed the bullet had struck some bean pods about 20 yards prior to the deer and steered the bullet just right of the target! The slomo on the camera told the whole story. I then reloaded the gun and we settled back into our positions unsure if the shot would subdue the rest of the evenings movement. Luckily a nice 3.5 year old eight eventually showed and the Governor made a great shot! Terry and I were so relieved and happy that we were able to get it all on video!

It was an absolute privilege and an honor to be a part of the Governors first deer harvest since 1996 and I hope that we will have the chance to do it again very soon.