Before I left for an Iowa bowhunt last week, my friend and host Sam called to tell me how perfectly I’d timed my visit. “Things are just popping now,” he said. “When bucks are behaving like this, you could tag a big one in three or four days.” Unfortunately, Sam doesn’t realize the dramatic cool-down effect I can have on a hot rut, and of course I remained true to form. Saw a giant deer chasing a doe the first afternoon, and then…nothing but small bucks for the better part of 5 days.
Despite my black-cloud persona, I remain totally jazzed about this deer season. I’m in the process of tracking down several good deer stories, which I hope to post in a day or two. In the meantime, here’s some eye candy: This live-buck photo was sent to me by a deer expert whose identity will remain a secret, largely because this amazing whitetail is still walking. And, my expert (a B&C; scorer who’s measured thousands of whitetail racks) feels that, if this buck is shot this fall, it would likely break the world record for a hunter-harvested, non-typical whitetail.
The natural assumption is that this is a pen-raised deer, but my source is emphatic that this is a free-ranging animal. The photo was shot by a landowner in August, and the buck is frequently seen on his farm. He does not allow hunting, though the neighboring properties (certainly within the buck’s home range) are hunted. I had to promise that I wouldn’t divulge the region, but I can say it is not a traditional trophy-producing area. At any rate, if this Walking World Record is eventually shot, you can say that you saw the buck on Buck Tracker. If I discover this is a pen-raised deer or some other hoax…I’ll be the first to let you know (and apologize!).
One interesting note: Getting photos of a free-ranging, gigantic whitetail before it is harvested is not without precedent. Tony Lovstuen’s Iowa non-typical was photographed several times in the seasons before the deer was shot. In fact, a deer hunting magazine did a feature article on the buck that contained several live photos of it. It will be interesting if this huge whitetail follows a similar story line. Stay tuned to Buck Tracker!