Realtree Outdoors 2008 Episode 9
Everyone knows that Iowa is the land of giant whitetails. That's why David Blanton and his good friend Al Kraus, an archery dealer from South Dakota, were so pumped about hunting there the first week of November.
"We knew that the pre rut was an ideal time to hunt that part of Iowa because the bucks would respond to rattling antlers and grunt calls," Blanton says.
Kraus and Blanton set up in stands hung strategically along ridges were scrapes and rub lines were evident. Sure enough the rattling and grunting produced immediate results with numerous encounters with big bucks. Only problem is, they weren't big enough, especially not by Iowa standards.
On the first day of the hunt, Kraus had a shot opportunity at a great deer but decided to pass on him because he guessed him to measure in the mid-150s, but the hunt had just begun and he knew he ha a good chance at seeing something much bigger.
Blanton and Kraus continued to hunt hard for the next couple of days. They saw quite a few bucks but none that were big enough or close enough to arrow.
On the 5th day, Kraus decided to stay in his stand all day. That day the bucks were starting to chase the does heavily and several responded to the horns. About 5:45 p.m. his cameraman looked across the creek to see a very wide deer coming out of the cut bean field right toward them. He turned to Kraus and told him, "Big buck coming across the creek!"
The cameraman zoomed in on the buck and tried to stay steady as possible. The big deer ran off a smaller buck before heading toward the stand. Kraus began blowing on his grunt call. The buck took his time making a scrape and rubbing two large trees on the way in. Kraus must have hit the right note with his grunt call because the buck stopped and glared right in his direction. Finally, he turned and made a B-line right toward the tree. Kraus tried to stop him at about five yards but the buck was so tense he didn't hear him. He walked directly under the tree and kept walking.
Kraus gave him one more grunt at about 15 yards. The buck gave him a perfect slightly quartering away shot. Kraus made a great shot and the buck only went about 60 yards and died in the creek.
At the time, Kraus assumed the deer would measure just over 170 inches, but to his pleasant surprise, the numbers were much higher than he expected.
"We couldn't wait to get a tape on him and see what he scored," Blanton says. "The numbers just kept adding up and didn't stop until they came up with a rough score of 203". The deer was 24.5 inches wide one of the biggest ever filmed by the Realtree cameras."
Although Blanton did not arrow a deer himself, he was thrilled for his friend. Kraus had tagged an Iowa dream buck.
"I left Iowa empty handed, but I don't regret it," Blanton says. "After seeing the type deer that Al took, I'm more convinced than ever that I shouldn't settle on a small deer because you never know what will walk out at the last minute."