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November 13: Mike Klemmensen

The 2014 season has not been typical. We have not seen the number of shooters we usually see; not to mention getting an opportunity. Then on November 9 we finally got our chance. On that day we had sat in the Big Game stand for 11 hours….a dark to dark hunt. Although difficult, a descent buck had bedded 60 yards from our tree, giving us the motivation to stay and wait. Finally at 4:05 pm the buck, who we named Rip Van Winkle (for sleeping during the rut) and started to walk away. After a little work with the MAD call we go our chance….AND I MISS!!! It is never fun to miss a deer. It’s even worse when you sit in a tree for that long waiting for the opportunity….AND…the guy you’re hunting with does his part with the camera. Needless to say, I was bummed!! The deer woods can be cruel.

After three days back at work, I headed back to Tom’s farm in Greene County looking for another chance. A polar vortex had made it’s way from Canada to the Midwest and the temperatures were very cold; high’s in the twenties. We snuck into a box blind to counter the bitter cold and hoped to sit as long as we could. We also took the Boss Buck decoy with us in hopes he might pull something to within bow range.

Eventually a nice 4-year old buck that we called Gaizer showed up with a doe in the beans. As she quietly fed, I grunted and hissed at him trying to pick a fight. Although he would bristle, pin his ears, and rub on sapliings, he had the lady, and was not interested in engaging in a tussle with our decoy. After approximately 30-45 minutes of seeing this deer he took off to the south with his doe. It was now getting dark and the day was coming to an end so my thoughts started to shift towards heading back to Iowa to film Tom and watching a couple of does that were feeding directly in front of the blind.

Suddenly Tom whispers “shooter”…..Gaizer was back….or so we thought. The intensity of the hunt had changed in a blink…things were happening quickly as the big buck came to the two does. I grabbed my bow; Tom flipped on the camera as we hopefully would get our chance. The buck chased after the does and was quickly leaving. I drew the PSE and shot him at 34 yards!!!

The Rage found it’s mark and went to work on the old bruiser….eventually the blood trail led us to the buck….but it wasn’t the buck we thought. He was a much bigger buck named Clinton…a buck that has very similar characteristics of Gaizer…but much bigger!!  In addition, we had thought something had happened to Clinton and that he was no longer on the farm because he had not been seen by man or Reconyx since February.

Most all hunters experience what is known as ground shrinkage at some point in their careers…..meaning the buck on the ground is not as big as he appeared on the hoof. Tom and I experienced the opposite…when we found Clinton (still thinking that we had shot Gaizer) he was huge…gaining 20 some inches from what we expected….WOW, what a surprise. Needless to say I was overwhelmed….what a hunt.

We always say that everything happens for a reason. The miss of Rip VanWinkle had me heartbroken…….but everything happens for a reason!!