Contributors to this thread:
After 4 years of buying points I finally drew a tag for Iowa. My hunt starts Friday with the drive out after work. It will be a DIY hunt on some private and likely some public ground. I found a small cabin on a farm and the farmer is letting me hunt portions of the farm that are not leased. There is ample public ground with a 30-45 minute drive. I have never been on the ground but have been studying aerial photos and have some thoughts in mind. I hope to get there about noon Saturday and will do some scouting or glassing of fields. Might even hang a stand and do a low impact hunt that evening.
I have always enjoyed when others have chronicled their midwest adventures so I will try to do the same and provide updates perhaps at noon or in the evenings. I am also hoping I might be able to convince someone sitting on the fence about making a midwest trip to take the plunge. These trips are great. I have bowhunted Buffalo County Wisconsin(1X), Pike County Ill (4x), all guided, and did a DIY in Nebraska last year. All of those trips were awesome. Not because I killed giants, but because I saw things I never see in my hunting world in Rensselaer County NY. 3 bucks chasing one doe, 4 8ptrs coming into a field together, 2 tens meeting in the middle of field and casually sniffing each other and then go their separate ways. I could go on and on. If my friend didn't push me to go on that first hunt in Wisconsin I never would have gone. If you are considering it you need to do it. Whether it's Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Nebraska Iowa it doesn't matter. The hunting is good, the scenery is beautiful and the people are awesome. I've had success: a 10 and great 11 (mid-130's) in Pike, and an 11 in Nebraska (mid-130's). And heart break: I wounded a gorgeous 10 in the upper 140's in Pike and didn't recover him. But I have always had a great time. I have no idea what this trip will bring, but I am at peace coming home empty handed. I have 2 weeks and will try to be selective the first half of the hunt, and then just see what happens the second half.
This is the first trip I am doing alone. One of the great parts of doing these trips with others is the comraderie and enjoying the success of others. I have always gone with great friends who are all excellent hunters. The nights are full of stories and laughter and strategizing for the next day. So this may be a bit lonely-my wife, 4 kids and 2 dogs will be rooting for me at home, and my busy job will manage without me-but I am truly looking forward to the solitude us bowhunters really appreciate.
Follow along if you care to and I will update on both the hunting and the trip when I get there. And good luck to all hunting here in NY. It seems like things are really about to get started.
Travel safe and enjoy the journey from start to finish.
I'll be following. Good luck!
This is awesome. I have been to Iowa twice, first time we paid a guy to hunt his farm for the week, second time we hunted some public ground as well as a few private pieces someone we know out there got permission to hunt. Both trips were great and very rewarding. There is no place like Iowa! What zone are you hunting?
Best of luck in Iowa I will look forward to your updates. Have a safe trip.
Thanks guys Goid trip out. Interesting in that there was no roadkill from Albany to Iowa. Usually there are dozens. In Iowa there were 6 on I-80. 3 bucks and 3 does. A mile from the farm there was an absolute giant but someone cut his head off. But a good sign Got here at noon and checked out a piece of public. No cars and looks like it could be good. But I didn't go in far. Scouted a piece on the farm and hung a stand for tomorrow's wind. Put up a camera and got out and did some low impact scouting/ glassing. Will do an am hunt and then scout and hang a couple more stands. I'd like to be set up for a couple of all day sits by the 7th. It's beautiful here. And I may get lucky with good weather. Highs in the 40s lows in 30s
I hate hunting with other guys. I want to do my own thing and not have others dictate what I do. Doing it alone is the only way to go nobody schedule to follow but your own. Best of Luck! Shawn
Nice. I, too, love out of state hunts.
Hard to get service where I am. Here's the update: Morning 1: hunted the inside corner stand. A buck came through in the dark as I was raising my bow. Not sure what he was. At 730 a 135" 10 came out of the finger that feeds into that corner. He cut the corner right around standing corn. Nothing the rest of the am. Day 1 pm hung a stand in a fence row and hunted it. The corn is down for 46 yards on one side, come right up to it on the other. See 1 doe acting like it was being chased. Will hunt this tomorrow. Day 2 am: Get in to fencerow stand real early. The just past full moon creates an amazing setting. I pushed a deer out on way in. At 645 a deer comes on the back side. A 2.5 yo 8 comes right under between the corn and the fencerow. This is a tricky spot. Because of the leaves on the trees you can't see deer until they are within 10-20 yards if they come down the fencerow. Important lesson learned. I am on my feet and locked in but see no deer. Get out at 11:30. Have lunch hang another stand and take my climber to an east/west funnel. I have a north wind. Day 2 pm: this is why I'm here. Ready to hunt at 220. At 3 I hear branches on the ground breaking then grunting. I'm on the outside of thick stuff and can't see in. A 10, 130ish comes out 15 yards. 2 does, and then I see another 10. He's bigger and is 15 yards behind me in the thick stuff. He's fired up. Rubs the top of his head all over the brush. Steps into a lane and I let him pass. Mid 140s? Real tall. He's there for awhile but surprisingly the decision is easy. It's the one I've wrestled with over and over. He chases the 2 does out into the field The 130 stays. He's cool looking. His G-3s curl up the last 2-3 inches. I let him walk as well. In a couple minutes I have the 2 biggest pass ups of my career, and the one would have been my biggest buck. But no regrets. I'm still in the game, and going back to the funnel stand tomorrow for an all day sit. At 5 2 more bucks come through together, a1.5 yo 5 ptr and a broken rack 8. This is a good spot.
Day 3: All day hunt in the funnel stand. After a less than stellar entry I’m ready in the LW climber 45 min before shooting light. Temp and wind perfect. A spike at 7. At 710 I’m winded and seen by a nice 10. 8:00am. I see a 2.5 yo 8 in the cut corn. The wind picks up and I do not see a deer until 3:00pm. An 8 walks the edge of the cut corn. Then another. I’m watching this and the thicket the 10s were in yesterday. I turn over my shoulder to check the northerly edge of the funnel. It’s a bean field picked while I’ve been sitting. A racked buck on run. I pick him up half way across. No doe to be seen. Hoping he turns my way but does not. A spike with a half hour of daylight. Again perfect conditions. 42 degrees and light wind. 15 minutes left a buck walking same line as 8s approaching a 36 yard shot. My binocs are right there in my muddy body harness. Bow in left hand and wrist release clipped on string with right. I can get them up in time to get a good luck and see he’s a nice 9. I’d say 135. I let him go. This feature on the Muddy harness was a huge help here. At dark a 1.5 yo comes under my stand. What a great day in the deer woods. Headed to the fence row stand in am. Good luck in NY everyone.
good luck, sounds like a great hunt.
Mid 140"s even in Iowa and that would be your biggest? Shoot!!! Even i Iowa a 140" buck is a great deer. I hope you end up with a better buck but a bird in hand! Good Luck! Shawn
Thanks guys. Shawn I totally get it. That was my outlook on all my prior Midwest hunts. But I’m really glad I’m still in the game. The rut and weather are perfect and I’m in the middle of it. Day 4 am fencerow stand. Standing corn as far as I could see in both directions Last time I was here two days ago. It’s all gone. They worked it into the night. Sun comes and now I can see everywhere. Deer pour out the finger down wind of me. 5 or 6 bucks and about same amount of does. At about 7 the deer I came here to shoot charges into the field. I’m confident he was 5-1/2. The field clears -every deer runs out of that field as hard as they can-and he breaks off at 80 yards after two does. I watch him chase them for about 10 minutes and they go across field and back into the same finger of woods the others are in. That is the place to be today. I only see 2 or 3 more deer the rest of the morning. But one is another shooter. He is just meandering out of the finger on the other side of me. This was gonna be an all day sit. But they start picking beans on one side of me and spreading fertilizer on the other. I sneak out eat lunch, hang a stand for tomorrow and go back. Quiet until 45 minutes of shooting light left. 2 does fly out of that same finger and a shooter 10 follows them out. They are 300 yards away so I enjoy a half hour chase with binoculars. They are never close but they go back into the woods and pop out the point closest to me. If I get a shot I’m taking it. They are within 80 yards but the does quickly bring him in the wrong direction. They get close to the fencerow going away from me and u can’t see them. The wind is right but they don’t come my way. The day ends and yet another great hunt. I got to watch an Iowa bruiser live. I would have shot that deer at the end of the day but the does made the decision for me. And now I’m really really glad I’m hunting tomorrow morning. I can’t wait. Good luck to everyone.
Exciting! I hope you get him!
Day 5: cold and windy. 3 does and a small 6 in the morning. 3 does and a spike in the pm. It’s supposed to be even colder tonight and tomorrow. Windy too. I love the cold but hate the wind.
Day 6: AM colder and windy. I have a few deer in the field in front of me just before shooting light but I can’t tell what they are. They are back in the woods before shooting light. I was first relieved that the winds were lighter than predicted. But at 8am they really started blowing. Sat till 11 and did not see a deer. The winds were shifting so I went back to cabin and warmed up, ate lunch and shot 12 arrows. Back to funnel stand with LW hang on. Had been hunting this with climber but switched to a better tree. Put up stand and hunting by 1:45. I really wish the wind would quit. PM: At 3:45 a 3.5 yo 8ptr comes through at 15 yards. The new set up is perfect for deer taking this line. He’s wide dark and symmetrical. About 120ish. Has a big gash in his back just past his left shoulder. Very cool looking buck. He gets a pass. Wind is right to sit this stand again tomorrow. So I’ll be back in for an all day sit.
Day 7: All day sit in the funnel stand. Winds blowing right from the start. It’s not only a lack of confidence in seeing deer with high winds, but the inability to hear deer coming. I’m on my feet 90% of the time in stand and trying to watch all around me. No deer in am. At about 3pm the winds finally subside. About 3:30 a 6 ptr comes through the thick stuff. He takes the same line as the 8 from yesterday. At 430 I check my back shoulder and in the cut corn there’s a big 10. Tall wide and very white tines. 140s? Why is he out there and not in the cover? Did a doe go by that’s in front of him? He’s broadside at 36 yards. But the canopy from the last line of trees is over him. There’s a “get em leakin” shot to be had, but not an ethical shot. He walks on and I will have to be satisfied with another memory of a beautiful Iowa whitetail. That’s it for the day.
Day 8: hill top stand. For the first time it’s hard to get out of bed today. I am physically and mentally tired. But I get on stand before shooting light. I’m glad I did. I listen to two owls on each side of me calling back and forth. And the winds are light!! It is a perfect day to bowhunt. First deer I see is a 1.5 yo 6pt. I am struck by how awesome the genetics are here. He’s got a great curved frame and awesome brows. He’s going to be a beautiful 8 as a 2.5 and who knows from there. 2 does show up and these three deer are in and out all day. At 10 am a 2.5 yo 10 comes through and gets a pass. It’s another all day sit and the 1pm- 4pm is hard to stay focused. I’m very tired. A little after 4 I’m woken from my slumber. A big 10 hops into the thick stuff on my left where the does have been hanging out. The does take off up the hill away from me and there he goes after them. The action has slowed way down from the 3 action packed days I had, but I am still seeing 1 mature buck a day. I am thankful.
Day 9: Back to fencerow stand. Quiet sit until about 430. 2 does enter the field and start feeding. 150 yards out a racked buck enters the field. He’s not headed my way. I grunt to him and he stops. But then keeps going. More grunting stops him, and a wheeze turns him. Here he comes. I’m getting ready. I have a doe decoy up wind of me. This might work. He keeps coming to about 40 yards. He’s a 2.5 yo 8 about 90-100” so I’m not shooting. He stares at the decoy for a long time. Comes closer, and then turns and leaves. Another fun event in a beautiful setting. And the evening ends. I have 2 days left to get it done. I still have the Iowa monster buck lottery ticket in my pocket. But what were very long odds to start with are much longer with only 2 days left and change in where it is in the rut. Do I shoot the next 3.5 yo buck to come through in bow range? I might. It’s nice on a DIY that I can shoot any buck I want. Tomorrow pm I’m doing a hang and hunt in a new finger that could be good. Fencerow in am. Who knows, maybe lighting will strike.
Day 10: AM back to fencerow stand. Day 4 I believe I see 20+ deer in am. Most of them bucks. This morning conditions seem perfect. And I see zero deer. Remarkable how quickly things change. I pull the Millenium and I wonder if I may get a chance to sit this wonderful stand again in 4 years. Day 10 pm: Hang and hunt in a new piece. I looked at this piece on the aerials since I drew back in May. My first time in. There’s a spot where three fingers come together looks good. After climbing over and under fences and going through the deepest ditch I’ve found here I pop out a cow path into an inside corner of a field where the 3 ditches meet. It looks perfect. Thankfully I have my LW hang on and sticks. There is a split oak that I need to use my strap extensions on the first 2 LW sticks. There are no other trees that work. As I am hanging sticks a buck comes in and sees me. Can only see he’s racked. At 115 a nice, not sure if 2.5 or 3.5 8 casually walks through. He gets a pass today. I like this set up. Although I don’t see another deer all day, the wind for here tomorrow is perfect. It’s my last day and although I had other plans, I will spend it here. Looking forward to my last day hunting this awesome whitetail landscape.
Good luck today!!!!!!!! Great hunt. Wish you had posted some pictures.
great hunt, thanks for sharing. can't wait to this hunt myself soon
Day 11am: Back to the split oak. The wind direction is perfect but unfortunately high winds again. It’s too much to expect much deer movement, and certainly too much to execute an ethical bow shot. At about 9:30 I get down and still hunt the ditch into the wind. I’m instantly warmer and it is a lot of fun. No deer sighted. I pull the stand and go back to cabin and start packing. Day 11 pm: Take LW climber into a finger where I’ve seen a bunch of deer come out of. Pick far end where it is down out of the wind some and there is a protected corner of cut corn. Approx 1/2 hour left of shooting light and does start entering cut corn from adjacent finger. A racked buck quickly pops out and pushes all of them into my finger. I guessed wrong by about 80 yards. There’s a chance they can get to me, but I never see them. Iowa is over, or so I think. I have one stand left to pull. It’s a 5 minute walk from the cabin. The wind is good for it tomorrow and much lighter. Do I change my departure time from 5am for a mini hunt? I can’t resist the temptation and give in to the urge to bowhunt Iowa for one more hour. Day 12 am: It is a perfect morning to hunt. 16 degrees and almost no wind. As the sun rises does immediately start feeding in the cut corn above me. It is a beautiful setting. Out of the blue they look over their shoulders and bolt down the hill and into my finger. I’m up, bow in hand and heart beating out of my chest. I wait. And wait. And no buck ever shows. Did they see a coyote? Another person? At 8am I sadly pull the plug on what has been a great hunt. The drive home isn’t bad but the Chicago area slows me down quite a bit. I get to Buffalo about midnight, take a 2 hour power nap in the rest area, and comfortably make it home by 5.
I had a lot of time to think on the way home and there really is only one way to summarize this trip: I was truly blessed to be able to hunt an awesome whitetail herd in a beautiful setting. I hope someday I make it back!!!
Wonderful memories made of a fun hunt. Congrats on drawing and enjoying every day you were there. A hunt doesn't have to end with a kill to be successful!