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January 2: Tom Ware and Scott Manifold

Scott and Tom doubled up in Missouri on a late season hunt because of an “anti-decoy” Scott created.

The weather and Reconyx cameras were telling the guys that good bucks were hitting Tom’s Missouri farm so they rolled in for the late muzzleloader season. A field of soy beans and BioLogic greens was getting hammered, so that’s where they hunted the first night. With yet another in a string of days of arctic northerly winds, deer movement was slow and no opportunities presented themselves. The next day would be different.

The forecast was calling for the first southern air flow in a while, along with high pressure and sunshine. The temperature had improved, but was still frosty at 12 degrees when the guys entered the blind at 2:15 pm that day. The first round of does would show up an hour later.

Shortly after the does arrived, a group of four bucks entered the field. One of the bucks was a mature deer with forked G2s that Scott was targeting. Scott watched him and waited for a shot as the deer browsed at 80 yards but wouldn’t present a shot. The wary does feeding between the bucks and the blind had the bucks on edge too.

Over 15 minutes later, Scott’s buck was in the clear for a shot. He dialed in the Leupold on his Traditions Vortek at the buck’s vitals and hit him solidly with a prototype bullet from Traditions. Mortally wounded, the deer ran a circle and died in the center of the field lying on his side, head twisted up at the sky with his antlers stuck in the snow. Neither Scott nor Tom had seen such a pose in their lives. The anti-decoy was now in place.

With an unfilled Missouri archery buck tag, Tom stepped up to bat and outwardly wondered what the prominently dead deer in the middle of the field would do for their odds on a second deer. They’d find out in 30 minutes.

Scott picked up on a small buck entering the northwest corner of the field. Tom glassed the deer with his Leupold binoculars and saw a good ten pointer in tow. Typically this plot was too big to bowhunt, but with the anti-decoy unintentionally in place, the guys felt like it was an entirely different playing field.

Noticing the skyward-looking dead buck, the ten pointer began skirting the deer in a large circle to get downwind. His cautious arc helped him avoid the dead deer, but pushed him within 35 yards of Tom waiting in the blind with his PSE Carbon Air. Standing broadside straining his neck to inspect the spectacle, the buck never saw the Rage Hypodermic Tom sent at him. The arrow struck both lungs and the deer tore out of the field disappearing into some cedars leaving a massive blood trail on the snow.

Though bitterly cold, the guys celebrated doubling up on two great Missouri deer under circumstances created by Scott’s anti-decoy.

As told to Tim Kjellesvik.