Iowa’s tag lottery determined whether Taylor Byers or her husband, Caleb, would be behind the trigger when the 2019 muzzleloader season opened on Oct. 12.
Both applied for tags, but only she drew one. That meant he would be filming her in their quest for a buck they’d nicknamed Dakota.
“We’d gotten trail camera photos of this buck for five years. We named him Dakota due to his living in an area that resembled the Dakotas, where you’d pheasant hunt,” Taylor told John Phillips, who’s writing the story for Rack magazine.
A portion of the nearly 100 acres the couple hunts is planted in alfalfa. A tree-studded ditch connects it to CRP ground, where Dakota spent his days. They’d erected a tower blind next to the ditch.
Worried a pre-dawn approach might spook the deer they hoped to see, Taylor and Caleb waited until the afternoon before going to the tower, a very wise move.
While does and fawns came to feed on the alfalfa soon after the couple was aloft, the Byers kept an eye on the ditch. But the buck at the top of their list surprised them.
“Instead of coming from the CRP ground where he’d been bedding previously, Dakota came from directly behind us, out of a standing soybean field on the neighboring property,” Taylor said.
Husband and wife had to shift positions in order for her to shoot. Her opportunity came when the whitetail was only 60 yards away from the blind.
The retreating Dakota managed to keep his feet for only half a football field.
“Caleb and I did a lot of high-fiving, hugging and saying, ‘Oh, my gosh, look what just happened!’” Taylor grinned.
Caleb filmed the whole ordeal. The hunt will soon be available through Drury Outdoors’ Deer Cast (episode 41 of “Dream Season Live”). The deer hasn’t been officially measured yet.
— Read Recent Blog! Goofy Comes of Age: Quaker Boy Calls’ pro-staffer Greg Gershon shot a buck in 2019 that had been on his radar for four years.