Deer hunters who move to Iowa are probably immune to buyer’s remorse. Just ask Drake Lamb, whose smile hasn’t faded since the day he unpacked his bags.
If anything, his grin grew a little wider in 2019.
Drake is a cameraman for “Midwest Whitetail,” “Chasing November” and “Spring Thunder.” Last season, he also became a self-filmer.
Soon after moving to southern Iowa, he began looking for places to hunt. He wound up gaining permission to prowl five properties.
In late October, he retrieved a photo of a Monroe County giant the neighbors had been hunting.
“I had to learn the property as I hunted it, which was just a few times. Once I knew the buck was there, I was very picky when I hunted and checked cameras,” Drake told Josh Honeycutt, who’s writing the story for Rack magazine.
He hunted the property where the big buck hung out only twice in the early days of bow season. Meanwhile, a scrape next to primo bedding area became the mature whitetail’s personal parlor.
Drake used his bow tag on another deer from another property. He saved his muzzleloader tag for this buck.
On a nearly freezing Dec. 29, Drake walked into the misting rain toward the CRP in which he suspected the buck was bedding. He remained on the ground, in a band of trees, where he could see most of the grassy field on one side of a ditch, as well as the cut cornfield on the other.
This was his third time to hunt the place in 2019, his first with a gun.
Around 3:30 p.m., several shots rang out from the neighboring property. Drake thought about going home at one point, but he wasn’t eager to end the hunt he’d been anticipating since bow season.
That was a wise decision.
Less than an hour later, he spotted the buck of his dreams 500 yards into the CRP. That’s a long way out, but it was coming.
“I was scrambling around, trying to get the camera on the deer and my gun ready,” he said.
Everything went as planned. A chest-shot toppled the deer immediately, though it got back up and ran a few more yards.
Drake believes the lack of hunting pressure (on his side of the property line) was the only reason he saw this whitetail in range during shooting hours.
“I only hunted the edges of the property,” he said. “I never once went up into the bedding area on that farm. The less impact on those sanctuaries, the better. I didn’t want this deer to know I was hunting it.”
The 6 1/2-year-old has been rough-scored at 185 inches.
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