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December 5: Mike Klemmensen

Have you ever heard the expression, “I found it in the last place I looked!”?; to which many reply, “of course you did, once you found it, why would you keep looking?” Well, December 6th really was the last day of our hunt; regardless whether or not we were successful, I had to work at 8 am the next morning back in Illinois. In the beginning, four days on Tom’s Iowa farm with TC in hand seemed like more than enough time. In fact, I debated whether or not to pack the PSE for a few extra days in Missouri. Iowa’s first gun season was finally here….but then opening day was a wash-out; it rained hard almost the entire day.

Day two and three went by fast even though we had been hunting hard and seeing lots of deer. On the last day Tommy and I decided to do something that we typically don’t do; hunt a food source in the morning. The wind chill was less than 5 degrees, so we were hoping that maybe we could catch a big one on his feet before bedding down. (The fact that we could also hunt a box blind in the freezing cold instead of climbing into a tree didn’t deter the thought either!!) We strategized the night before and decided that we would wait to first light so that we could see if anything was on the standing beans before we snuck in.

I had my TC at the ready as we snuck up to the field. Sure enough, in the back of the field, stood a buck that we call Mr. Clean; a nice, “clean” main-frame -10 with no abnormal points. A few does spotted us as we entered and ran off without really knowing what we were. Three bucks, including Mr. Clean decided to exit as well. We climbed into the box blind and waited. After about 40 minutes or so of doubting our plan, the first does entered the field and began to feed. These deer became alert yet again as a coyote passed through……..but they all stayed.

A mature buck entered the field and a few minutes later in came a big 10. Tom recognizes these deer quicker than he recognizes an old girlfriend; and before I could even raise the Nikons came the sweet sound of his whisper, “That’s Mr. Clean and we’re going to kill him!!” Mr. Clean fed into the beans about 110 yards away but was facing us. Eventually he turned broadside but a fawn was in front of him. Still broadside he walked into some tall weeds……we waited!! Finally, he gave me a clean shot, I checked one last time to make sure Tommy was on him…………….KABOOM!!! The beautiful silence of the Iowa timber was broken by the sound of the Thompson Center going to work! We watched as he wiped out in the field. Mr. Clean would soon be at the taxidermist!!

Hunt Safe, Klem