Passing on a good buck when the conditions aren’t right is a gamble…but so is taking a risky shot. Tom’s discipline during bow season set him up for success on this muzzleloader hunt.

Deerpression had begun settling in for Tom on his Iowa farm, albeit a variant not everyone encounters. It wasn’t for lack of deer that he was feeling frustrated, rather the mature bucks on his property had beaten each other up so badly their racks were in poor shape. “The Rock” however, was still solid.

The Rock was a buck Tom had nicknamed due to the deer’s heavy musculature, a true Iowa stud. Prior to getting out with his Traditions Vortex, Tom had a close encounter with this deer during archery season. The buck came to a virtual Biologic food plot buffet that Tom planted in Clover Plus, Last Bite and Maximum, along with soy beans. The Rock got to within 60 yards of Tom’s blind, but the distance and other factors caused Tom to make the decision to pass. It just wasn’t the right scenario.

A couple weeks later during the first night of the second gun season, sitting in the same blind overlooking the same field, the gamble to pass on the buck paid off. Multiple deer piled out to feed that evening, along with The Rock at 65 yards.

Tom slid the Traditions Vortex out the window and found the buck’s vitals in the crosshairs of his Leupold scope. A thundering boom rolled out across the field sending the other deer scattering and The Rock instantly to the ground. Tom had found the cure for his deerpression.

There are few guarantees in deer hunting. Passing on a buck when you’re not positive you can kill him is a gamble, but it’s always preferable to taking a questionable shot. Tom’s gamble paid off and he was rewarded with a trophy buck, but more importantly, a clean conscience about the hunt.

As told to Tim Kjellesvik.