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Polk County produces Buck of the Year!!

It was a cold, frosty morning when I slipped my kayak into the marsh on Jan. 19. I was heading for a treestand set up on the edge of the marsh.

I could walk through the woods to get there, but figured the more stealthy ap-proach would be by water. As I slid through the water I found myself thinking about what a beautiful morning it was and how it would be a good day for duck hunting. A cold front had just passed and probably brought in some new birds.

I hadn’t done much duck hunting thus far because I couldn’t get my mind off the big buck I had been seeing on my trail cam-era photos.

Every chance I had I was deer hunt-ing. It all started three years ago when I saw a big buck running across a small pasture in 2011.

In the spring of 2012 I found an awe-some shed antler that I almost couldn’t be-lieve came from around here. Then I set up a couple of stands in the area with feeders.

My father, Ron Allen, also hunts with me, and we set up a stand and feeder for him also. We were getting trail camera pho-tos at his stand as well.

Shortly after that I started getting pic-tures of a great 10-point. Most of the photos were coming from where I had a double ladder stand set up for my wife, Tracy. How-ever, we only got one photo of him during daylight hours, and he was with a doe.

Tracy and I spent a lot of time in the stand looking for this buck. We live close by and can be in the stand within an hour of leaving our house.

During the 2012-13 season we never got a glimpse of “Tracy’s deer” as we started to call him. I did manage to get my first deer with a bow from the ground when I arrowed a nice doe during archery season on a spot and stalk hunt.

Along with Tracy’s stand, I had a climber and a lock-on stand that I use. The lock-on stand was set on the edge of the marsh in a travel area.

In October, during the 2013 archery season, I was in this stand when I looked up and saw the tips of antlers moving through the palmettos. It was the big buck we were calling “Tracy’s deer!” He was coming along the edge of the marsh and looking very big!

I was not sure of the range, because I didn’t have my range finder. I practice a lot at 50 yards in my backyard – not that I want to shoot that far – but I find it makes a 30-yard shot seem easy.

I shoot a Matthews Z7 that Tracy got me for my birthday, and I figured I should be able to nail him at 50 yards.

He looked that close. Maybe it was just because he was so big. The arrow left the bow looking so pretty, but then it dropped right in front of him!

The deer didn’t spook. Instead, he just turned around and came back in front of me. I nocked another arrow, figuring it was about 50 yards again, because I have missed at that range despite all of my practice.

It turned out he was 70 yards away. My second arrow dropped right under him, and he just walked away back where he had come.

I felt sick! You know the feeling when you are thinking, “I should have done this or that.” Whatever. I missed!

Shortly after that happened I did some more scouting and came to an area where I could smell the pine sap in the air as I walked in because there were so many trees rubbed down.

The deer was definitely spending a lot of time here. I figured it was his core area and knew I had to be careful not to spook him. I always watched the wind whenever I hunted this area by setting up a small chair blind.

The first time I sat there in the early morning it was barely cracking dawn, and I caught a whiff of deer. There is no mistaking that odor. I could not see him, but I could smell him. He was that close! It was just too thick in there to see him.

The area I hunt is private property in Polk County. I have been blessed to have a friend and good hunting buddy, Tim Torg-ersen, who lets me hunt on his land. Tim doesn’t deer hunt much, but if a duck or dove comes by in range, they are in trouble. He is a good shot.

On this wonderfully-cold Jan. 19 morn-ing, I had gotten up plenty early to hunt and tried to get Tracy up to join me. She doesn’t like mornings as much as I do and told me it was too cold for her to go.

I didn’t argue with her because I want-ed to go to the lock-on stand where I had missed the big buck instead of sitting in the double ladder stand with her.

It was cold with no wind. I was sitting in the stand at about 7:30 a.m. with the steam from my breath rising straight up when a nice young buck come in on my right from behind me.

I am not a trophy hunter. I am a deer hunter. But when you know a buck like “Tracy’s buck” walks in the woods you are hunting, you can quickly turn into a “trophy hunter.” That is why I let the youngster keep walking.

Then, at about 8:05 a.m., I saw the “big ‘un” coming in on the same trail as the smaller buck had used.

When I first saw him he was just five yards away (GULP!). I let him walk past me before I picked up the .270 Ruger and shot him at 15 yards.

I have killed quite a few deer in my time, but never anything like this monster! It was a very rewarding hunt and the perfect end to three years of chasing this particular buck.

The big 10-point has such long main beams and is very symmetrical. He scored 149-1/8 inches gross and had only 2-7/8 inches of deductions to score 146-2/8 inch-es net. I still can’t believe this deer came from this area!

In closing, I’d like to thank my friend Tim for letting me hunt and for being my friend. I would also like to thank my wife, Tracy, for sleeping in! Just kidding. I really thank her for hunting with me and allowing me to hunt all the time.

Thank you Lord!