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October 20: Mark Drury

Ladies and gentlemen, Danger is down.

A deer of legend, an animal Mark had been watching for four years, this deer of “ten lifetimes” was put down not only because of a solid game plan and equipment, but also a secret weapon.

First, let’s look at the numbers associated with Danger. He was five and a half years old and had 24 points resulting in a score of 217 2/8 inches. Mark passed on him three times during the 2015 season because he had broken off a significant portion of his left antler. His core zone was narrowed down to a 15 acre area on Mark’s 980 acre Iowa farm. Finally, if those numbers weren’t impressive enough, Danger was shot at a mere five yards.

Mark had Reconyx trail cam pics of Danger over the summer, but he disappeared around September 1. In years past, he’d always stick around til rut, and then come back once that phase was over. Danger had to be put down before rut hit and he left for another property.

Since Danger’s bedding area consisted of trees too small to hang a stand in, the game plan called for a Muddy Bull blind set atop an elevated platform.

On the morning of October 21, Mark and Wade were in the blind and watching a three and a half year old ten point buck making a rub at 15 yards. The tree he was working snapped in half, sending an audible crack through the woods. Mark thought that if Danger was around, he’d hear that and come to investigate. Sure enough, the younger buck’s demeanor changed and he bolted. Something was coming.

It was so thick back in there that by the time Mark picked up movement; the incoming deer was only 15 yards away. In seconds the deer’s rack appeared. It was Danger, all 24 points of him and he was moving from east to west, handcuffing Mark to a tight shot out of a vertical window in the blind.

With some creative contorting, Mark got his Carbon Air to full draw and Wade got Danger in frame. He put a solid hit on him with a Rage broadhead and you know how the rest of the story goes, but you’re still probably wondering about Mark’s “secret weapon.”

The day this giant was killed was also Mark and his wife Tracy’s 27 year anniversary. Normally the two spend the day together. This particular anniversary, Tracy knew the weather conditions were prime for killing a big buck so she encouraged Mark to break tradition and spend the day in the field. Had it not been for her understanding and encouragement, this story would be very different.

The “secret weapon?” It’s a rare blessing that those of us who hunt ought to cherish: a supportive spouse, someone who keeps the home fires burning and the family business in order while we’re chasing deer. Someone who puts up with burs in the lint filter of the dryer. Someone who understands the urgency of getting out to a stand on time and the craziness of the rut. Mark’s game plan and equipment were solid but without Tracy, Danger might still be lurking around their Iowa farm today. 

Congrats to Mark on a buck of “ten lifetimes,” but more so, making the best decision of his life 27 years ago.

 

As told to Tim Kjellesvik.