September 29: Dru Kramer

Guiding his daughter Dru on an Iowa youth season muzzleloader hunt with a 147 inch buck just 10 yards from their stand, DOD team member Dave Kramer resorted to a desperate measure for his daughter to get the shot.

On September 24, the father/daughter team watched as one of two mature deer on their property got up from his bed and walk off the property. They got back on the 30th, an evening that was cool and misting with a favorable northeast wind sweeping across the CRP field they were hunting. They had hung this double ladder stand in a grove of trees in the tall CRP grasses which allowed them to enter and exit without spooking bedded deer.

 It was an ideal location for an ambush, but the location also allowed deer to get right up on top of them before they knew they were there…which is what three does did. Dave described them as simply “appearing.”

The does walked on and dissolved into the CRP, until 15 minutes later when they bolted onto the adjacent property. Dave wasn’t sure what exactly bumped them, but whatever it was, it kicked off a chain reaction that would catch both him and Dru off guard.

Instantly, Dave caught the form of a deer just 10 yards away from their stand. It was the other mature deer they had targeted. A five and a half year old eight pointer that he and Dru had been estimating a score on just 30 minutes earlier via trailcam pics on his phone.

With a buck at ten yards, every movement, every sound is magnified, so when Dru’s muzzleloader’s safety wouldn’t disengage, things got tense. She tried sliding it multiple times before Dave took the gun and bumped it on the stand to make it ready to fire. Surprisingly, the deer didn’t seem to notice any of the commotion going on above his head.

Just as Dru got into position, the deer stepped into a clearing, allowing a clean shot. She obliged him with a perfect hit to the heart. The buck walked ten yards then fell over dead.

Despite a last-second mechanical issue, Dave is proud of his daughter’s trophy, especially the fact that she was involved in the preparation that went in to getting this guy. She glassed fields with him during the summer and helped hang the stand before season began.

She did her homework and this buck is her well-deserved “A.”


As told to Tim Kjellesvik