Bowhunters are always looking for the perfect stand setup. We agonize over details and are known to change entire sets at the last minute, which is what Dawn did on her first Iowa hunt of the year.

Dawn headed out to check her Reconyx trail cams before her evening hunt. She found a buck she had nicknamed “Hook” on one of those cameras heading back into the timber from the field that same morning. Hook was a deer with a long history on the farm. At six and a half years old, he had grown into a 160s class trophy.

The good news was that Dawn already had a stand setup in that spot. The bad news was that it was set up for a northwest wind. She needed a set for a northeast wind to kill this deer.

Instead of taking a chance hunting the stand as it was and blowing the hunt, she worked to move the setup for a northeast breeze. Finishing up around noon, she headed back to the house to finish preparing for her sit later on that evening.

With her Tenzing pack loaded down and herself suited up in Mossy Oak Nomad gear, she climbed into her newly positioned stand around 5:00 pm. It wasn’t long after clipping her Muddy safety harness onto the tree that does and young bucks began appearing. At 6:30 pm, the familiar profile of Hook appeared ambling down the exact trail Dawn thought he would. He was completely unaware of her presence.

As he came within bow range, Dawn attempted to stop him, but he continued walking. Not wanting to spook him, she came to full draw on her PSE Evolve and settled a pin on his vitals. Her release happened at the same time the buck took a step and the Rage Hypodermic punched through the rear portion of his liver and a portion of his intestines.

Dawn thought the shot looked a little back and after reviewing the footage at the house, her and husband Beau agreed. They decided to wait to track him until morning.

The next day broke with a rain shower that washed away any evidence of a blood trail. They tried a grid search to no avail, then began checking the most likely of places where wounded deer seek, water sources.

After checking multiple locations, they finally found Hook piled up in a creek bottom. The hunt was complete. From finding him on camera the prior morning to the recovery, she made the right moves.

Dawn has killed bigger deer, but not many with more character than this guy. Her last-minute decision to completely change her stand paid off big and was a reminder to us all to pay attention to the details.

As told to Tim Kjellesvik.