Midwest Whitetail's Mike Reed spent 29 days in the woods before finally connecting on this giant nontypical deer
|Rack Report Details
|184 5/8 inches
|Time of Year:
|Nov. 10, 2021
|Hoyt Carbon RX-5 Bowhunting
Mike Reed, co-host of Midwest Whitetail, grew up hunting in the swamps of Louisiana. He was pursuing public-land whitetails with a rifle at the age of 10, and with a bow by age 16. In his early 20s, he began making trips to the Midwest to chase public bucks there, too. He enjoyed it so much that he moved to Iowa in 2009, planted roots, and has been there ever since.
He hunted public land and private properties by permission from 2010 to 2015. Then, he started looking for land to buy, and bought tracts in 2015, 2017, and 2018. Numerous monster bucks have called the place home, and one of these was a 5 ½-year-old deer with heavy mass that Reed nicknamed Chubbs.
He had one sighting of the buck in 2020, and many trail-camera photos, but never loosed an arrow at the deer. Fast-forward to the summer of 2021, and the buck returned. During the preseason, Reed glassed the huge buck four times in velvet. He decided to target this buck, and once the season opened, he hunted the deer on 28 days, which produced three in-person sightings but no tag filled.
Nov. 10 marked his 29th day of hunting. Still, he had hope of getting a shot at the big nontypical. So, he and his cameraman, Rye Ludwig, eased along a low-impact entry route in the pre-dawn darkness. After a slow trek, they settled into the 14th unique stand location of the season.
A weather front was moving in, preceded by east winds and overcast skies. The temperatures hovered in the 40s, which wasn't great for Iowa in November. Nonetheless, Reed hoped the rut would stir up movement.
Their stand location was on the edge of a hardwood ridge overlooking a creek bottom. Agricultural fields and CRP fields were nearby. A very thick understory adjacent to that created the type of cover deer like. With the creek bottom in front, the ridge top behind, and thick multiflora rose and honeysuckle all around, he figured there was a good chance a buck might cruise through.
At first light, a small buck and doe eased into view. They left almost as quickly as they arrived. About an hour later, Reed spotted Chubbs' rack in the distance. The massive deer followed a doe along the field edge, chased it around for a few minutes, and eventually broke off and meandered around. Reed made a few soft grunts, and Chubbs walked right into bow range.
After several long seconds of painstaking waiting by Reed, Chubbs started to turn and walk away. Reed was ready, though, and came to full draw as the buck turned to leave. He settled the pin, squeezed the release trigger, and launched the arrow. The 37-yard, quartering-away shot connected. Chubbs ran about 40 yards and tipped over.
Seeing the huge whitetail hit the ground was an incredible feeling. All the hard work and patience had paid off in a very rewarding way.
It's awesome to be able to get a buck to maturity, Reed said. Watching him grow all summer, targeting him specifically all season, and to be able to get him with archery equipment — pure elation. I was targeting this specific deer, and I kept having close encounters. [It was] very exciting when it came together.
Reed attributes his success on this buck to many hang-and-hunts, as well as hunting fresh stand sites. Nov. 10 was the first time he'd sat in the tree he shot the buck out of. That isn't surprising, as your first trip into a spot generally offers the highest odds.
Interestingly, as big as this buck was, it wasn't king on Reed's property. He was not the most dominant deer on the farm, he said. I witnessed him get beat in a fight two weeks earlier. He shifted his range, and the trail cameras helped me stay on him.
Still, despite not being top dog on that tract of land, the deer scored an impressive 184 5/8 inches. It just goes to show that it isn't the size of the buck in the fight, but the size of the fight in the buck.
You can watch the hunt here.
Incredibly, he killed another Booner a week later.
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