The Hunt for “Cross Over”

Joel’s hunt this year was really not what he had planned.  It all started in mid summer when the results for the Iowa draw came in…he drew a tag but hunting partner Mike did not draw.  They had planned on hunting my farm the entire season but now, with Mike being one of a very few who didn’t draw with 3 points, Joel was left picking a half season.  He picked the early half allowing him to hunt October 1st. to November 5th.  That would later change.

In early October, Joel and Mike came down to learn the farm and do some scouting with me.  Joel hunted a few nights then headed back home confident in his knowledge of the farm for a later hunt.  He came back in late October with anticipations set high.

Late October dealt tough hunting conditions in Iowa.  Joel started his hunt with very high temperatures.  By October 29th, the temperatures were reaching daytime highs near 80.  I sat out with Joel the evening of the 28th…he hunted a spot I call “the crossover” and I sat on top an open ridge-top field.  From my view, I could see nearly a thousand acres of beans, cut corn, and hay ground.  All  told, the night ended with a single fawn sighting.

At this point, Joel was processing his hunt and deciding what to do.  When we woke the next morning for the morning hunt, the overnight lows didn’t dip much at all.  Joel had decided over night to abandon the hunt at this point…go back to work…and come back a little later when hopefully the weather got better.  He ultimately gave up 8 or 9 days of hunting, for a chance to come back for 4 or 5.  Would it pay off?

Joel’s decision was a good one.  When he returned temperatures were still warm, but had cooled enough to start getting deer to move more during daylight.  On November 8th, Joel headed in for the morning hunt to a spot I call “Cage Fight”.  It’s an interior food plot located up tight to a bedding area perfect for a north wind.  He went in intending for a full day’s sit.  The day brought only a couple sightings of does and small bucks, but that was about to change.  About 3 pm, from behind the stand a great buck started up the ridge toward Joel. He hadn’t expected a deer to come from that direction…with little time to prepare, he drew on the buck as it made it’s way past the stand…the shot looked good!

This is where another turn of events took place.  Joel once again used good judgement during the recovery of the buck.  After tracking the buck for a short distance, he started to question just how good the shot was.  The arrow didn’t go through…the blood trail wasn’t the best…he backed out!  The next morning he would take up the trail again only to find the buck made it a good distance and then an empty bed with mostly dried blood???  What had happened?  Then it was clear…one coyote…then another!  Joel retrieved the great buck, a buck we had been watching since last year…only the coyotes found him first.  By the evidence on the ground, it looks as though the coyotes found the buck during the night while it was still alive only to take him down.  Joel made the right choice to back out…and as it turned out made a good shot, but as hunters we can never anticipate things like coyotes.  Congratulations Joel on a great hunt…good instincts…and harvesting “Crossover” a great mature buck!

In 2015, "Cross Over" lost one side of his rack very early in the season...but he was a home body for sure. I have a ton of pictures of him and the hunters saw him numerous times last year.

In 2015, “Cross Over” lost one side of his rack very early in the season…but he was a home body for sure. I have a ton of pictures of him and the hunters saw him numerous times last year.

"Cross Over" in a mock scrape. You can see the ladder stand in the back ground.

“Cross Over” in a mock scrape. You can see the ladder stand in the back ground.

By the time Joel found this great buck, a pack of coyotes had found him first. Nothing was left from the head down.

By the time Joel found this great buck, a pack of coyotes had found him first. Nothing was left from the head down.

 

2 thoughts on “The Hunt for “Cross Over”

  1. Good read Tom, and congratulations to Joel. Would you say that looking back on this year was a lot different for rut action mainly due to the weather? Our groups big buck sightings were definitely down. Just seemed like lack of movement because the deer were there they just didn’t seem to move much. What’s your professional opinion?

    • Sorry Ryan, I am just seeing this post now?

      I’ve been a little disappointed the last couple years to be honest with you. The warm falls surely do not help with deer movement…but I think these warm falls are something we are going to have to deal with more in the future. More than anything else, these warmer fall hunting seasons are suppressing daytime movement.

      Also, something I’ve been thinking more about lately. It used to be, that in general I was the only one putting in substantial food plots for deer in my area each year. As food plots get more popular and hunters get better at growing them, the amount of food in the fall increases which also lessens daytime movement because there are more food sources available deer have to look less and move less to get their full daily amount of calories. When I was the only one putting in food plots they had to use my food sources and hunting was great. I saw this type of scenario a lot when I used to hunt big timber in northern Wisconsin…when corn piles (baiting) was less popular daytime activity was much better than when baiting became more popular. Less easy food like corn piles meant better movement. I didn’t bait but when the baiting became popular the hunting got worse. I also fear that southern Iowa has many illegal corn piles leading to the same thing…but that’s just a hunch or gut feeling.

      First and foremost though I think these warm falls don’t help.

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