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Believe it or not I almost forgot to buy my Muzzleloader tag today...the opener of the Iowa late muzzleloader season!!! You see, my close friend Scott Manifold and his 16 year old boy Jasper were arriving in from Michigan. These guys help me do everything on my farm including shed hunt, place stands and plant food plots.

We had come to an agreement a year or so ago to let Jasper shoot a management buck on my farm. This year he drew a muzzleloader tag for Iowa and we decided to hunt together along with his Dad out of the same box blind. This way we were able to film each other on any deer that presented a shot. Scott and Jasper arrived today. I was so excited to see them and talk about hunting stories I nearly forgot to go buy my tag. Right as we were getting ready to go out I remembered. I rushed into town and purchased my tag and still got in the box blind by 2:40pm. I almost didn't get the tag and decide to just film Jasper, but his dad Scott said "Hurry up and go into town. We will meet you at the dirt road.". I said "Ya, you're right...if I don't you know I will see one of the 2 bucks I'm looking for tonight". Thank the Lord Scott had the wisdom to say that!

I had my mind set on only a couple deer on my farm! I had not seen either one in over a month. I figured neither would present themselves until it got really cold with snow on the ground. My goal was to film Jasper shoot a big 8 or 9 point old buck! Unfortunately for Jasper, one of the only 2 bucks I would shoot on my farm decided to be the first big buck to show up on the standing bean food plot tonight. He's actually a buck we've had many years experience with. We named him "Bypass" because my filming partner Klem and I had both passed him the 2 years ago. We know for a fact that he is at least 5 years old. The funny thing is Jasper saw him enter the field first and I knew it was a giant because I looked at Jasper and saw his reaction. His eyes were as big as golf balls. I told Jasper that I was sorry but I had to put his hunt on the back burner for a bit. This was the deer I had been wanting to see for a month!!!

Both Scott and Jasper had cameras rolling and I prepared for the shot. The Bypass buck came all the way into 60 yards. We had great footage of him and I let the TC Pro Hunter finish the night with a smoke rolling boom.

We recovered him in daylight and celebrated a bit before loading him on the Huntve. The next thing that happened shouldn't have surprised me for late season but it had never happened to me before. Jasper and I each grabbed an antler and the one he grabbed came off!!! He apologized profusely and I told him its not his fault!! I should have known to watch out for that kind of thing. It was December 19th and many times these older bucks tend to shed their antlers a bit early.

No big deal. The taxidermist will make it look new again!

I've been blessed with a fantastic season to say the least. My favorite moment was seeing the excitement in my daughters eyes when she shot her big buck on December 11th. Santa Clause couldn't have brought me any better gift!

Merry Christmas to All!

Tom