Des Moines bowhunter Brady Snyder doesn't always budget for taxidermy, but when he does, he prefers paying double.
That's what happened in 2019 anyway, when he let the air out of a couple of world-class whitetails, a 174-incher during a local urban management hunt and an even bigger one during Iowa's regular bow season. The larger scored 183 and change.
"My brother, Bryan, and I had one trail camera picture of the big buck - Buster - in 2018, and Bryan actually saw it," Brady told Josh Honeycutt, who's writing the story for Rack magazine. "Bryan and I had bowhunted the area for six or seven years, passing on several bucks in hopes of seeing more mature deer. It's hard to shoot a 190 if you're taking them at 160."
Brady's face-to-face with Buster came Nov. 2, nearly two months after he arrowed the 2019 season's first buck.
The chilly northwest wind was blowing between 10 and 15 mph as he sat in his treestand, watching a combine sucking up cobs.
"I remember smelling the fresh-cut corn," he said. "I also remember smelling the exhaust from the combine, thinking it might ruin my chances of seeing Buster. The overwhelming sound from the machine running made it difficult to hear anything else."
Since deer traffic was slow, Brady tried rattling around 10:30. The clashing attracted a couple of young bucks, but not the deer he'd hoped to see.
Just before noon, he got down and moved closer to where he'd retrieved trail cam photos of Buster, a ridge between harvested corn and soybean fields.
Almost immediately, he spotted a young 5x5 walking through the timber. Soon afterward, he saw four does. Behind the fifth nanny, a rack came into view.
"As soon as I saw the buck, I let out a snort-wheeze, and it immediately snort-wheezed right back at me," Brady said. "When I followed up with a more immature-sounding snort-wheeze, Buster turned toward me and started thrashing sumac."
After watching the deer rake bushes for five minutes, Brady sounded a third snort-wheeze, and that sealed the deal. He wound up getting an 18-yard shot at the 6 1/2-year-old deer topping his wish list.
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