After killing it on stage at a concert in Indianapolis, Indiana, Rascal Flatts front man and DOD team member Gary LeVox traveled overnight to meet Mark for a chance to kill a buck freshly nicknamed “K-9.”

Gary and Mark had been texting back and forth as they hatched a plan to get Gary on this buck. The plan required Gary to hop off the stage and right onto his bus while his driver, Dewey, tore up the highway to Iowa overnight. Gary got some sleep so he’d be ready to go once his wheels hit Mark’s gravel drive.

At 6:15 am the following morning, Gary’s wheels rolled onto Mark’s farm. The bus was still moving as Gary stepped out of the door in full Nomad gear ready to hunt. A cold front was on its way in during the course of the day and the conditions were aligning for a great hunt. That morning however, they guys only saw a few does and a three-and-a-half year old buck.

Around 2:00 pm with temperatures dropping and the southern wind switching to the north, Gary and Mark headed out to a Muddy Redemption blind in an area where Mark had Reconyx pictures of a nine-pointer with three long kickers. Mark had been mentally referring to this deer as “The Kicker Nine.”

Now, there aren’t many aspects of Mark’s whitetail hunting prowess that a person could make fun of, but Gary has a flair for the creative and usually gives Mark a hard time about his…descriptive-but-not-so-imaginative names for deer: The Wide Eight, The Perfect Ten, The Short-Tined Eight. Sitting there in the blind, Mark’s mind spun trying to jazz up this target buck’s nickname.

‘Kicker Nine. Kicker Nine. Kicker Nine.’

‘K-9! Kicker Nine is K-9!’

Gary approved of the name and Mark felt like he’d reached a new level in his whitetail hunting career. There’s always room for growth. Right?

Just ten minutes later, without having seen a picture of the newly named K-9, Gary peered out of the right side of the blind and whispered urgently, “Marcus, that’s got to be him. It’s K-9!”

On the trail of a few does, K-9 came by the blind at 25 yards.  Mark stopped him at 27 and Gary loaded up the 70 pound limbs on his PSE Evolve. K-9 was now momentarily paused and slightly quartering away. Gary released the arrow, punching the Rage X-Treme through the entirety of the buck’s vitals, exiting out the far shoulder.

The blood was immediate, voluminous, and ended 125 yards later. After a whirlwind performance and an overnight road trip, Gary had notched his Iowa buck tag on a deer that only had its nickname for ten minutes. K-9 was down.

Early November is a magical time, especially when a cold front comes through. The guys realized the potential and worked to coordinate this last-minute attack during Phase Four. A cool nickname for your target deer doesn’t hurt either.

As told to Tim Kjellesvik.