|Rack Report Details|
|Time of Year:||November 6, 2015|
With a 140-inch Wisconsin 9-pointer already to his credit and his first Iowa archery tag in hand, Hugh McAloon couldn't wait to hit the Hawkeye State.
His friend Andy Wulf of Whitetail Ridge Outfitters had texted him trail-cam pictures of a giant 10-pointer at a northeastern Iowa farm that surrounds a state park. McAloon knew about the property's potential, as his son, Dustin, had missed a huge 10-pointer there the previous muzzleloader season. He hunted there several days in late October and saw loads of deer but no shooters.
Forecasts called for rain and unseasonably warm weather, so McAloon headed back to Wisconsin. As the owner of DeerFest, the country's largest all-deer consumer festival, McAloon's summer show season is hectic, but fall is wide open, so he planned to return the afternoon of November 6. However, the big 10 haunted him.
I couldn't take it, he said. I got up at 1 a.m., hit the road at 1:15 a.m., arrived at the farm at 5:15 a.m., slept in truck a half hour, and was on stand at 6 a.m.
Wind forced McAloon to hunt the bottom of a deep ravine that led away from the state park—one of three stands he and Wulf had set for the buck. His tree was on a side hill that offered a 25-yard shot at a massive trail. As he pulled up his bow, a small doe with two fawns immediately began to blow at him.
Two minutes passed, and a nice half-rack came charging down the hill from the picked corn above, he said. Nice buck, and I would have considered shooting him had he not been broken up. He was interested in the doe immediately below me and had closed to 20 yards. All of a sudden, he got real nervous. I thought at first he smelled me, but the wind was right, and with an Ozonics, that couldn't be. I quickly realized he was looking past me and thought there may be another deer coming from behind.
Then, he heard a telltale noise.
I had never seen or heard this in the woods, but through outdoor TV and videos, I knew exactly what I was hearing, he said. Click, click, click—the vocalization a mature buck makes when he is looking for a fight. And there he was, walking right down the big trail at the bottom, right through my shooting lane.
The big 10 made a semi-circle up the hillside to face the other buck head on. The bucks focused on each other, and McAloon couldn't see the doe and her fawns, so he readied his bow for a shot.
One big problem, he said. While the giant buck was standing in the wide-open old pasture ground, the branches I had purposely left on my tree were obstructing me. At full draw, I kept looking, leaning, and asking myself if my arrow would clear those branches. If the buck moved farther up the hill, I was really without a shot. Finally I had an angle—so I thought—and I released an arrow at the back side of his lungs, only to watch it hit him way low and back.
The buck lunged forward five yards but continued to posture at the other buck. McAloon saw a branch moving and knew what had happened. He nocked another arrow but had no shot because of other branches. Then he dropped to his knees on the stand, ducked even lower, and found an opening to the deer's heart. His Rage Hypodermic struck perfectly and passed through the buck. The deer ran 10 yards and dropped dead below McAloon's stand.
How did McAloon get away with the extra movement? The answer soon became apparent.
If you look closely at the pictures, you will note an extra antler growing from his right eye area, he said. The big buck didn't have a right eye due to this antler and thus was totally blind on that side—the side that was facing me the whole time.
The buck grossed 183 inches with 12 scorable points. Its main beams measured 24 inches. Two tines were longer than 12 inches, and four mass measurements exceeded 6 inches.
But what about McAloon's first shot?
I later found out my first arrow just nicked his back leg and was not vital, he said. I've always said, 'It's better to be lucky than good.' Oh, and it's not the same deer my son missed.
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