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December 15: Dave Kramer

This hunt began back in June when I was contacted by Jared Mayberry of Droptine Leases about a piece of land in southern IA that he was trying to promote. Jared brings landowners and hunters together on leases totaling more than forty thousand acres in Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, and Kansas. Bill and I met with Jared on the property and hit it off immediately. We hung a number of Reconyx cameras and located a few areas for food plots which we hoped would be strategically placed for this late muzzleloader season. With the severe drought that hit the midwest the plots didn't grow at all. With lackof food this fall it is to be seen how the late season will turn out but you can bet we will be back at it this next spring to work on things for next fall.

Roll ahead to mid November. With my bow tag being filled early and Bill busy in the field Jared called and invited me to hunt with him during the MO late muzzleloader season. He had planted numerous Biologic plots and felt he had enough food to draw and hold a good number of bucks. He was a bit concerned that EHD had hit hard because of the disappearance of a number of his shooters but hoped they might return or some new bucks would move in. Plans were set for Jared to arrive in north Missouri on Friday the 14th and pull Reconyx cameras and see who was feeding where and at what times. I would drive down from eastern IA on Saturday morning and we would jump in a blind for an afternoon hunt. Jared began teasing me by noon on Friday about a particular 4 yr old that had shown up in his Maximum plot. He had never (nor had I) had a buck as patternable as the Forky Nine. This buck had been in the plot starting the 21st of November to the 3rd of December every other day and from the 4th to the 14th EVERY day between 12:00 noon and 5:00 PM. If there ever was a sure thing we felt this was it. I was about to be "spoon fed" as Mark and Terry like to say.

With his intrusion on Friday while pulling cards Jared and I felt we would give the Forky Nine one day to rest and jump in a Big Game blind over a standing bean plot for our first hunt. We were after a mature 8 pt that had shown up sporadically on the cameras. He didn't show up but 5 different young bucks made an appearance shortly before dark keeping us pinned in a bit longer than planned. We met up with Terry after the hunt and celebrated the success that his guest Ryan had with his largest buck to date.

Sunday morning Jared and I decided that we should jump in a box blind on the Biologic plot where Forky Nine was feeding, early and sit all day. It proved to be a good move because deer began to come and go by early afternoon. We sat motionless most of the afternoon in fear of being spotted as deer cautiously worked their way out into the field. Finally at 4:15 he showed up directly up wind of our blind and began feeding closer and closer. I was hoping for a shot inside of 100 yds so we sat and waited as he fed closer. At 80 yards as I prepared for the shot he decided to do an about face and began walking away. I began to worry that I wouldn't get a shot but finally at 110 yds he turned and stopped quartering away. I squeezed the shot off and was blinded by the smoke making it impossible to see the impact. We could see he was hurt badly as he ran up and away but made the decision to wait overnight to track just in case the hit wasn't where we thought. After a sleepless night we went in and found my buck within 100 yards of the field edge so our concern was short lived. This was my second buck of the year and I owe a huge thanks to Jared for putting me on such a great deer. Hopefully some day I will get a chance to pay him back. Anyone looking for lease property in the midwest be sure and look him up at droptineleases.com or give Jared a call.