January 5: Scott Manifold

Scott proved on this late season hunt that it’s not over until it’s over…even if your first arrow is a clean miss.

Scott and Tom were on Tom’s Iowa farm hunting from an elevated box blind. Temps were stalled out in the single digits and between the two of them; the guys had three shooters on their list for their last hunt of the season.  Reconyx images showed the deer to be frequenting this area.

Scanning over the cut corn, they kept watch on a few deer that were already out in the field for the evening browse. Tom was hoping to fill his muzzleloader tag and with Scott behind the camera he watched as his target deer stepped in and out of view 150 yards away.

While they watched Tom’s deer, Scott’s buck took them off guard by walking past the side of their blind where all the windows were shut. It wasn’t until Tom saw him walking away at ten yards that they knew he was in the vicinity.

“Scott, there’s Dirt Junior. He’s right here!” Tom whispered urgently to Scott.

Without even looking up to see the buck, Scott went to work handing off the camera and getting his PSE EVO 7 loaded for a shot. By the time he was finally ready to look up and draw, Dirt Junior was at least 35 yards out and continuing to walk away to a group of deer in the field.

Here was Scott’s chance to notch that last buck tag for the season.

With little time to spare, he judged the distance to be around 40 yards and used the corresponding pin. The arrow’s flight ducked cleanly below the deer’s chest. Spooked, the buck made a short run out to 65 yards then stopped.

Scott thought for sure the hunt was over, but the buck stayed, then began acting like he wanted to come back to join up with the rest of the deer. Scott couldn’t believe it when Dirt Junior began cautiously coming back, this time on a path that would put him at a solidly known 50 yard landmark.

On his way back through, the buck made it to the 50 mark and Scott grunted him to stop. Though a bit of a long shot bundled in cold weather clothing, Scott took it and struck the deer with a Rage in the chest in front of its shoulder, further left than where he aimed. The guys reviewed the footage on the camera’s monitor and it appeared to be a neck shot.

They hunted the final hour and half of daylight then began the tracking job in the snow. Blood only began to show after 30 yards, a cautionary sign for Scott. After 100 yards and ducking into the timber, they found a spot where the buck had bedded down and gotten back up. At that point they decided to back out.

From the house, they sent Mark the video of the impact and he confirmed that the shot looked lethal. Now three hours from the shot, they went back out to resume their search. It only took another 50 yard walk from last blood to find Scott’s 141 3/8 Iowa buck.

This hunt came down to the absolute wire, but the guys braved the frigid conditions in Iowa to put a nice wrap on their season. A thank you is also in order to Scott’s wife who allowed him out on a hunting trip during their 27 year anniversary!

As told to Tim Kjellesvik.