For archery deer hunters, the best 10 days of the season are at hand. The November rut has begun, and monster Iowa white-tails are on the prowl.
It's a time like no other. Restless, moody, and itching for a scrap bucks, and lots of them, are currently on the move 24/7. Trophy stags that have been careful to remain invisible all summer now suddenly appear to boldly swagger through mid-day corn stubble. Locked into perpetual search mode, they relentlessly cruise ridgetops, river bottoms, and brushy draws in hopes of finding does. Sometimes, these wandering bucks find rival males instead. When that happens, the Iowa timbers resound with the distinctive clash of dueling antlers.
With the scales suddenly tipped in their favor, archery deer hunters employ every trick in the book in hopes of arousing the curiosity [or anger] of mature bucks. Vigorously rattling a set of antlers to create the sounds of mock battle is the bow hunter's staple. Other tactics include doe [bleat] calls, grunt tube calls, and decoys.
But even now, Iowa's big bucks never come easy. Tagging one still requires ample amounts of scouting, stealth, woodsmanship, and above all --- patience. But when the buck of your dreams finally steps into full view, there is no question that all the work, sleep depravation, and other personal sacrifices were well worth the effort.
Whether you judge them in terms of body size or in inches of antler growth, there is no denying that Iowa bucks grow to monstrous proportions. True Legends of the Fall, Iowa's behemoth stags have gained global notoriety. There are, in fact, few places on the entire continent where deer grow bigger or better than they do right here at home.
So how big are our deer? To date, Iowa has produced 19 of the all time top bucks ever recorded. That's more top deer than is currently listed by any other state or any Canadian province. During the next several days, the list of records will continue to grow as even more of these eye popping, wall hanging, breath stopping bucks are brought to bag. It's as sure as the sun rising in the east. Iowa IS the big buck state.
Who knows? When it finally comes time to capture that photo of a lifetime, it might even be your face grinning from behind the massive antlers of Iowa's next state record white-tail.