S4E11: Rattling a Huge Bow Buck, Public Land Planning

[Music starts] [Drum beat] [Music continues] After just one evening hunting a different part of the farm, I can’t help myself and head back after the Big 7 on the morning of November 8th. My choice is a hardwood ridge where does typically bed and where bucks often cruised during the rut It is the perfect option for a morning hunt The ridge I choose is only 500 yards south of the house – a spot where I know the buck has been spending at least some of his time It’s a buck! It’s a doe [Sound of walking leaves] Are you good? Yep There’s a buck right behind her [Sound of drawing bow] You good? I’m on the buck right now Go to the doe Alright, go ahead [Sound of bowshot] [Sound of running, soft mellow music] What does his body look like? It’s the same deer from yesterday morning The morning started off with a bang Literally. It’s pretty funny ’cause it’s the first time I’ve ever done this, it’s the first time I’ve ever seen it. I knew because of the way the way that we came in this morning we messed it up We walked too far before we cut down to the tree stand. We left scent and I knew it was gonna be a doe shooting day Because I knew there was no way we were gonna get away with that. Every single doe that came through there was gonna pick up our ground scent where we went through there, you know. It’s just a boneheaded mistake on my part, but uh. So this doe stopped. There was a decent eight pointer behind her. I think he’s a three or four year old buck. If I had to guess I’d say he’s three. But I tried to shoot the doe and there was a little tiny fork in this tree that I had to shoot through I mean it was literally like that but. I mean, you can shoot an arrow through a gap that that that’s that wide at you know five feet the front of the bow. But I didn’t account for was the fact that even though my line of sight was good, that my arrow comes out below my line of sight. And just dead center smacked this branch. The arrow is stuck in there There’s no way I’m getting that arrow down. Every time I hunt this spot from now on, that arrow is gonna be a reminder of two things: don’t walk in on the wrong route and leave scent in the wrong places and two you better know exactly the the flight path of your arrow. Your line of sight can look perfectly clear and yet your arrow can still hit something. So, I’m gonna put another arrow on the bow and hopefully not have a repeat performance of that fiasco [Music starts] [Music, leaves crunching] [Leaves crunching, soft music] Are you filming that? Yeah It’s just a little bit after 10:00 and we’re gonna start packing up here pretty soon. And do some… a bit of work in the office for midday and then get back out again. We heard a really impressive knock-down drag-out fight down in the valley And that’s about probably 200 yards 250

yards away. But the upper end of that valley is a spot that I called the tube And I have a Redneck Blind down in there So I think that’s where we’re gonna go this afternoon. Just a little narrow bottleneck that the deer travel between one Big N Beasty plot and another. They just move up and down the valley. And that is the south end of the Big 7’s range. Weve had a few pictures of him on that camera That same morning, 55 miles to the west, Taylor Byers is finally able to get back into the stand Well, it’s November 8th this morning and it’s actually my first time back in the stands since November 2nd Unfortunately our son has had a little bit of health issues lately and we were in the hospital from the evening of the 2nd until afternoon of the 7th, so Missed out on a couple really good days of hunting, but you know, his health is kind of our number one priority, so. He’s doing a lot better and now we can get back in the stand and hopefully catch up to a nice mature buck this morning We’re actually hunting on a little six acre piece of timber that’s some really really good bedding in it. We know that there are some really nice deer in here and hopefully… we had a we had a cold front push through yesterday and should be a really good sit this morning. I’m pretty excited to get back after it and see what happens [Sound of light wind, whispered voices] [Soft music, distant road noise] Looked like a decent buck Looked like a decent buck. Yeah it’s definitely a decent [Soft music, slight sounds in the tree stand] Not a shooter but, decent buck Chasing that doe Chasing a doe Caleb, you gotta talk to me I don’t know where this buck’s at I can’t see him right now It’s that big 8 [Wind and distant road noise] He’s 5 1/2, but it’s up to you That deer is? We have that buck on camera. It’s a nice big eight pointer, but I mean, he did never come in to where I could have a shot, but we’re gonna wait a little while and see what else shows up They’re definitely on their feet [Wind noise, distant road traffic, music] Well, it’s about 10:30 so kinda gonna wrap up our morning hunt. Overall, really good hunt. We saw a couple different bucks and quite a few does. A lot of fawns by themselves. So I don’t know some lock down action going on, but, ah. We’ll be back after it this afternoon, evening probably sit on our two acre plot, but. We’re not exactly sure yet. But, we’ll be somewhere Justin Fabian, one of our most recent employees, has put in the days required to give him the right to walk into the County Recorder’s office and buy an Iowa resident tag. With no private land to hunt, Justin has spent the first several weeks of the season bouncing around on five different tracts of public land [Background music]

Justin’s goal is to find a hotspot where he can focus his rut hunting effort I’m out here today on the public land It’s that same piece we hunted last time, Cooper and I. Third new spot that we looked into. I’m set up in this thicket that’s right between this big CRP field and some standing corn over here to my east. You can see this is just nasty thick. There’s trails all through here Rubs and scrapes everywhere. That corn’s still standing and the temperature’s about to drop tonight into the teens. I kind of got high hopes for this sit [Soft music] [Soft music, sound of rattling] [Soft music, bird calls] [Soft music, whispered voices] [Grunt call] [Grunt call] [Soft background music] [Soft music, whispered voices] [Soft music, bird calls] He’s going back [Grunt call] [Soft music, whispered voices] The buck Justin encounters on November 8th is enough to make his decision. This is where he plans to hunt until he either kills or the rut ends. That same evening, 45 miles to the east, Taylor Byers is hunting a very non-traditional spot; a patch of thin scrub brush near their normal hunting area Well, it’s November 8th this evening and we’re kind of getting a late start in this spot. It’s actually our second setup of the evening It’s not what we had in mind. We were actually, we went in to our two-acre field on our main farm. And got all set up and there’s virtually no wind tonight, which definitely didn’t play into our favor That two-acre plot kind of sits in a little bowl. When there’s no wind you’re scent just kind of lingers down there and, you know. We thought maybe we could get away with it but we had a little yearling buck come out, and you know, he knew something was up. So if we can’t fool him we definitely are not gonna fool a mature buck or doe that’s for sure. So we decided to kind of cut our losses, hurry up pack out as fast as we could and jump into this this other really good spot that we have, um. So you know, I think we’re in for a really good sit tonight. We had a cold front blow in yesterday and we’re about to… the weather forecast says we’re gonna get an inch and a half of snow this evening into tomorrow morning, so. No I think that the deer’re definitely gonna be up on their feet. And, we hauled butt in here got set up as fast as possible, and now we wait, Hopefully, we can get something done tonight [Dramatic music] That’s a shooter, Taylor. You need a rattle Ready? [Sound of rattling] OK, stop! [Dramatic music] Hit him again! [Sound of rattling] OK, stop! [Dramatic music]

I’m talking mega-giant! [Dramatic music, excited breathing] It’s that book that I found the sheds off with the huge brow tines Shut up, really? But he’s a lot older and a lot bigger Just want to look at him through the binos He looks a giant! He’s huge! Start ranging! I am [Music fades] [Music picks back up] [Sound of soft music, movement in the tree] Oh, my gosh! He’s gotta come all the way into this clearing for me to get a shot. I know [Music, sound of distant road noise] He’s at like 60 yards [soft music] [Sound of walking, soft music] Here he comes! Let him come [Loud exhale] Let him come He’ll come [Sound of walking] You on him? Yes [Sound of bowshot] [Sound of running] Whew! Go down! He’s hurtin’ bad Man, that was a lot further back than I wanted to be Oh my gosh, congrats! Everything happens for a reason We weren’t even gonna hunt here Man, everything happens for a reason That’s no joke We were set up on our two acre field and Yeah we weren’t here what 45 minutes maybe. That’s the first deer we’ve seen Yeah, first deer we’ve seen It’s been a ghost town He was a good 400 almost 500 yards away and Caleb’s like, hey there’s a there’s a deer out here in the switch grass. Sure enough, he’s like go ahead and rattle. Rattled real quick and he came in on a string. I mean there’s a big huge ditch he has to cross. He stopped, and you know, tore up a couple trees. And yeah, he did end up coming right in here. He’s pumping blood. You know I’m still super nervous You know if you don’t see that deer go down, your heart sinks, you you have a million different scenarios going through your mind, and Wheeww! Please [Music plays] Taylor and Caleb choose not to take up the blood trail immediately. As they wait with restless anticipation, back on my farm, I head down into the Redneck Blind in the valley on the south end of the Big 7’s range. I have learned the hard way that the only chance we have of hunting valleys with their swirling winds, is to get into a Redneck Blind and keep the windows shut. That is my plan for the evening I see a doe anyway Oh, there’s a bigger buck in the field There’s got to be something else coming too. Cuz he’s

looking back to. My guess an even bigger buck coming If that doe’s hot Yep there’s another buck! Further to the right iI wonder if it’s that one that was here earlier [Indistinguishable voice] Pretty good-looking dear really I’m sure it’s him [Music plays] That’s pretty cool! Now, I’m going to have to decide I think he’s gonna go around on the low side [Music starts] Back where we first saw him [Soft music] We’re down to about the last 15 minutes here and it’s been very action-packed. I had that buck that I saw back in early October, the only other time we sat in this blind, he came out. But I considered him to be a possible shooter at that time. He was within 50 yards tonight and just wasn’t …I mean, obviously I’m not gonna take a 50-yard shot. But I wasn’t 100% sure that I was gonna shoot that deer even if he would have came right through the, this little crossing in front of me. So it’s good to know though, he’s still… he’s still around He’s a mature buck, fully mature I’d say he’s… If I had to guess, I’d say he’s probably six years old. So, uh tomorrow I’m not hunting. Our daughter is running college cross-country. But I will be back in the woods again on Saturday. So keep checking back. I appreciate you joining me here and we’ll see you back here in a couple days Climbing down shortly after the shot, Taylor and Caleb slip over to where the buck disappeared, hoping to find him dead. Instead, they see him bed down nearby Since he looks very weak, the hunters plan to come back later that evening Well, we just got back in here, um. Given this buck about five hours. We know it’s not a good shot. we know that. It’s pretty far back And it’s a pretty unique situation. I’ve never actually had anything like this happen. I mean, we were walking out and actually spotted this buck and saw him bed down. And so we crouched down a little bit and hung around until it was absolutely dark out and snuck around the backside of this big open field and snuck out of here, and So, hopefully hopefully he’s not far from there [Music plays] Is that him!? Yep Shut up really? For sure Let’s go, make sure! [Sound of music, walking] Wheeww! It’s no doubt a deer! Are you sure? I want to see eyes [Sound of walking] Wow! Tagged out on November 8th [Joyous laughter] Well, here he is. And I can’t tell you how excited I am for the season that we’ve had so far I mean, it just it blows me away. And I couldn’t be happier. And I’m just in shock. I can’t believe last night actually came together, you know. I mean our family’s kind of been through the wringer here lately. I mean we had Weston in August, and you know. She was born with a couple health issues I’m gonna cry That’s fine I don’t think I can Man, yeah so as Taylor as Taylor said, and she’s having a hard time getting through it, but. This year’s tested us that’s for sure Weston was born in August and was born with some health issues so we’ve been in

and out of the hospital with her. And Huxley was in the hospital from November 2nd to November 7th. There’s just more important things in life when your family needs you and that’s what, that’s what we did. So it’s been, it’s been one of those years where this one means a little bit more. That it’s not just a deer. It’s you know, the fruits of our labors and makes it all worth it. So congrats to you and you know hopefully we can we can keep this dream season rolling. It’s been a nightmare outside of the stand but we’ve been fortunate enough to get a little, get a little bit of positivity from that, so. It’s gonna be pretty hard to top last night. That’s for sure Good job Thank you [Music playing, sound of camera shutter] I’m out here today on the public land You can see this is just nasty thick There’s trails all through here. Rubs and scrapes everywhere. With that corn still standing and the temperatures about to drop tonight into the teens I kind of got high hopes for this sit There’s a good deer. In the creek down there The Byers remind us once again that deer hunting is not just about filling the freezer, with the challenge of testing ourselves against a worthy quarry. It can be therapy for a life that sometimes beats us down. As we step our way through November, there are several stories taking shape My hunt for the Big 7. Jared’s quest to find new places to hunt during the heat of the season Mike’s pursuit of Curly and Owen’s hunt from the giant-bodied buck he calls Crabs With snow rolling through the Midwest, the feeling changes. The first snow has a way of chilling us in more ways of one. It creates an uneasiness felt by both man and beast. Winter is on its way. But this is only a prelude. We still have three weeks of our favorite month to live and absorb. We still have three more weeks of… Chasing November! [Sound of coyotes howling, music starts to fade]