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You don't always get the deer you want

Whether it be old friends, or new, there is nothing like getting together to go hunting.

Vince and I had sent several email messages and talked a couple of times before he arrived to go hunting. He had just over a week's vacation and a lot of determination to get one of our tasty Iowa deer.

He had no idea what to expect, having never met me personally or hunted in the area. I also had no idea how much help he would need.

It can spoil a person's hunt if they get lost the first day and spend the rest of the week looking for their truck or signs of civilization. My farm is not that big, but I have seen more than one person so lost, we were having serious doubts about their survival. Neither of us needed to have any concerns.

Vince arrived on Thursday afternoon, and we immediately took a leisurely drive around the farm. Passing from pasture to timber, up and down hills, and crossing a few creeks usually disorients people. Vince knew exactly where we were at all times. I was impressed. He could find his way in and out of the woods and knew where he wanted to hunt. It did not take him long to figure out there were plenty of deer and we would be there to help as little or as much as he wanted.

Friday morning, Vince headed out before daylight to a tree stand he thought looked promising on the reconnoitering trip the afternoon before. He found the stand in the darkness and set up for the hunt. Before long, several deer were moving in the area and a big buck was chasing a doe within range. I know the dilemma. Does a person take a pretty nice deer on the first day of a long anticipated hunt or wait for what might be the deer of a lifetime? Vince made the same choice I would and have made almost every year. If a person tags out early, what does a person do after that?

On Saturday, Damon and I helped set up a couple more stands. From one particular stand, Vince saw two deer that could have been the deer a person only sees once in their life. Unfortunately, they were well out of range but confirmed he had made the right decision in passing on the buck that was just big.

Over the next week, deer came and went. Big bucks, small bucks, and several does owe their lives to the fact more than one trophy was living in the area. Vince had the opportunity to see several huge bucks but only the young ones would come into range. By the time Friday night rolled around, with no venison in the cooler, Vince decided to be a lot less choosy.

I have been in that position also. I have hunted one particular deer unsuccessfully for the entire bow season and decided on the last day to take the next deer that walks by. I readily concurred with Vince's plan as even a small deer is better than no deer at all when he gets home and invites friends over for a venison dinner.

Saturday morning was cold and clear. Vince climbed into his stand high in an oak tree next to the cedar pasture. The sounds around in the timber behind him told deer were moving in the darkness. At shooting light, several deer could be seen in running around the cedar pasture but nothing huge. An hour or so of rattling and grunting produced no wall hangers. When a medium-sized buck responded to the call, Vince decided it was time to end his hunt. A clean shot, clear through the buck, dropped him where he was hit.

It was not the deer he had hoped for, but the wife and children will not go hungry this winter. He had a great week of hunting and we had the opportunity to make a new friend. There will be other hunting seasons to go after the "big one" and by that time we will be old friends from having had the experiences this year.

Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.