Normally when Mark chases a target buck, it takes time and a long-term game plan. It never happens on opening day…until now. Welcome to Mark’s new normal.  

Mark had a pile of pictures and a long history with a deer he used to call “the normal eight” aka “Norman.” This year he blew up into a stud. Reconyx trail cam pics showed him on his feet during daylight, so Mark felt like he had a good sense for where his bed was.

Another factor in Mark’s favor was a strategically planted BioLogic Non-Typical Clover plot at the center of his Iowa farm. Deer frequently traveled to the south of this area, so placing the clover field in this location with a blind to the north made it a killer location for a wind from the south.

Wade and Mark sat in their permanent blind and watched a 160s class buck grazing along. The pressure was holding around 30.15 which was a hopeful sign that there would be more action. Mark passed on that buck, which would end up being a wise decision.

A little later, taking them completely by surprise off to their left at 25 yards, this giant stood in the clover. Wade swung the camera around while Mark picked up his PSE Carbon Air. The Evolve cams rolled over into the back wall as Mark settled in for his shot. He split his 20 and 30 yard pins as the deer continued to stand broadside at 25.

The Rage struck home as the buck tore off through the clover. His run wouldn’t last long however. After covering only 70 yards, he crumbled in sight of the guys making this Mark’s first buck kill on opening day in Iowa.

Part of the magic of deer hunting is never quite knowing what will happen each time you head to the field. Even a seasoned vet like Mark can get a surprise when something out of the ordinary happens. This hunt broke the mold for opening day bucks, which is why it may become Mark’s new normal.

As told to Tim Kjellesvik