Getting Closer

16 Oct

Going in to this second weekend of the season my goal was to redeem myself from the debacle that was my opening weekend and try to arrow a doe. I fixed my bow, re-sighted it in and was comfortable once again with my shot. I was about 20 miles away from the farm I was planning to hunt and was still undecided on what location I wanted to sit. It wasn’t until I pulled off the pavement that I made the decision to hunt in the middle of an ag field along an erosion strip where some young trees have grown over the past 10 years. Trail camera pictures from the weekend before helped in the decision as two identified shooters visited the scrape my camera was over. Although the pictures were before or after shooting light I wanted to put a little time in the area if to do nothing but set up an observation stand. All I wanted to do was to get an idea of what, if anything, was moving through the area.

After a longer than normal setup in a smaller than normal tree I was completely set up and enjoying mother natures greatest offerings. I witnessed some friendly blue birds investigating who I was. A badger came by working her way trough the area, I’m assuming she was looking for a field mouse to snack on. I can honestly say I have never see a badger that close before. Plenty of wildlife and pretty views but no deer Friday night. I had a feeling that I could get skunked on the evening hunt because a majority of the trail camera pictures showed morning movement.

My access route to this stand was very simple. I walked through a strip of corn about 60 yards wide in a row that was previously knocked down by a sprayer earlier in the summer. I then turned east and walked the edge between a corn and bean field directly to my stand. From my tree stand I could see the the peak of the barn that I parked my truck next to. Nothing more than a 200 yards walk. The moon was very bright Saturday morning resulting in me not having to use my head lamp to get to my stand. I arrived about 40 minutes earlier than normal because not only did I want the area to settle down if i spooked deer out of the field, but because the entry route to the stand was also a travel route for the deer I wanted to give myself -lent of time before the deer worked their way through the area. I strapped in and was ready to go.

As the eastern sky begin to show signs of light a doe made her way through the area along the grass strip somewhere around 40 yards. Still way too early to shoot, I watched her fade into the distance. She took the same path I took to get to the stand, so in a way my plan had worked. The sun was coming up pretty fast and it was just light enough to start making out objects. I hadn’t looked behind be in about 45 minutes… and there he was. I couldn’t really tell  how big he was or if he was one of the deer that made the hit-list. Before I could get the deer identified he started walking straight away from me. I tried to get his attention with a couple loud grunts, but he was too far away. A moment later he was out of sight. I was pretty pumped due to the fact that I saw my first potential shooter. Just another piece of the puzzle.

About 30 minutes later while all my attention was on where the buck disappeared, two does made there way through the area and actually offered a shot at 20 yards. The entire time the two deers were in front of me I kept thinking that the bigger buck might end up making his way back through the area. Another 30 minutes went buy and I started to hear what sounded like a couple deer running through the beans, sure enough it was. It was a younger buck followed by a much larger buck that looked like the the same deer from earlier in the morning. I slowly stood up, turned on the camera and did my best to get some footage. As soon a I got the camera pointed in the right direction I pulled up my binoculars to get a better look at the bigger buck. After I a quick look at his rack to see if I could identify him my attention quickly wen to his body to see if he mature. Nice rack… check! Big body… check! This equals a shooter. After I made the decision that he was a shooter I reached for my bow and tried to get in to position. I moved the camera to get a little bit better footage while he closed the distance. The the smaller buck must have seen me move and stopped in his tracks at 30 yards. He looked at me for a bout two seconds and made a hard right parallel to my stand. The larger buck spent a little more time observing in my direction before he angled toward the smaller buck, thus avoiding coming into range in the first shooting lane. As he made his way through the bean field I adjusted my camera and bow and prepared myself for him to walk into the next shooting lane. Unfortunately, when he did some into the shooting lane he was quartering away at 45 yards. Although he was in the wide open and for the most part calm, I decided not to take the shot. For me, 40 yards would be my max range and I didn’t feel 100% confident with that shot. So, I didn’t take it. The two bucks slowly made their way through the area. I waited in the stand another hour then decided to get down and check some trail cameras before I headed in to watch the Hawkeyes. Because of the movement I saw that morning I made the decision to head back to the same stand to see if the big boy would make is way through.

After a late breakfast and a much needed nap while watching the football game I headed back to the stand for the evening hunt. The next three hours were pretty uneventful. I caught up on my bird watching the whole time thinking this is still better than sitting in my cubical. After the sun sunk behind the horizon and it began to get dark I wanted to take a quick look through my binos. When I did I was pleasantly surprised. I noticed a huge 10 pointer behind a big bush that I ranged at 105 yards. He milled a round for a while then made his way up a hill. I thought about grunting but decided not to because by the time he would get within range it would be too dark. Two shooters in one day… I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty good.

5 A.M. came fast Sunday morning and I was once again back in the same stand hoping to catch that big 10 coming back to his bed. Even staying an hour later in the stand he was a no show. Over all I had an amazing weekend of hunting and am looking forward to Ryan Eyberg coming this weekend for his first ever Iowa hunt. For your information I am just as pumped as he is. Here’s to the future!


The below trail camera pictures show daylight movement of three bucks on my hit-list all in the same pinch point. I can hardly contain myself waiting for the right wind to get in there and try to pull off the perfect run-n-gun. Only time will tell!


2 Pac making some daylight movement through a well used pinch point.

2 Pac making some daylight movement through a well used pinch point.


Same pinch point but this time it's Mark Kenyon. Looks like he busted off about 5 inches of his left main beam... still a shooter!

Same pinch point but this time it’s Mark Kenyon. Looks like he busted off about 5 inches of his left main beam… still a shooter!


A clean 10, Johnny Utah is very high on the hit list as I have the longest history with this buck.

A clean 10, Johnny Utah is very high on the hit list as I have the longest history with this buck.


Once again, thanks for reading,

Dan (DFW)

8 Responses to “Getting Closer”

  1. LS October 16, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

    I think if your beard were a bit fuller you could have scared that buck into submission and made him come closer. I’m sure by late October the beard will have peaked and will be good to go for the rut.

  2. Chris Ruikka October 16, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

    Great footage. Awesome to listen to you talk through the hunt on the Wired to Hunt podcast and then watch the footage on your website. (Great choice of background music by the way.) I couldn’t support you more about letting deer reach their maturity. For many people trophies on the wall is what matters and everyone has the freedom to put more deer on the wall. I’d have to side with you every time on letting bucks reach their full potential. There is something special about a fully mature whitetail that has expressed their full genetic potential. Keep after those big Iowa deer and I hope you and your buddy heading to Iowa have some success this year.
    Again thanks for sharing your thoughts, the footage, and your passion for hunting.

    • Dan Johnson October 17, 2014 at 12:53 am #

      Thanks for the kind words man! You’re right, a fully mature deer trumps all! Good luck to you as well and keep me posted on how your season turns out.

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Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. The Wired To Hunt Podcast – Episode #27: Hunting the October Lull w/Dan Infalt ‹ Wired To Hunt - October 16, 2014

    […] – If you’d like to see highlights of Dan Johnson’s hunts so far, including that big buck he mentioned in the episode today, visit the Nine Finger Chronicles […]

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