posted on August 13, 2012 06:48
By Mike Handley
A friend in North Carolina bowhunts Kansas every year for the price of his non-resident license and the gasoline required for the long drive. He’s a contractor; owns his own construction business.
He gained access to prime land by bartering his carpentry skills for keys to gates.
Paul Hein, a high school football coach in Blue Grass, Iowa, took a page from that same playbook.
Two decades have passed since Paul, who also teaches welding, befriended a farmer willing to trade fall mornings for much needed welding and machinery repairs. The big payoff came last season.
When his coaching responsibilities ended last fall, Paul was in the woods every evening after school. On Nov. 16, he was 18 feet up and in the crotch of an oak tree by 3:20 p.m.
He started off by grunting and rattling. He’d selected a stand 30 yards south of an unpicked cornfield and about 70 to 100 yards from some bedding areas.
At 5 p.m., Paul heard something to his right and saw a small buck heading his way. It was acting spooky and kept looking back over its shoulder. Figuring another deer was behind it, Paul stood. A minute or two later, a monstrous buck appeared, looking for a fight.
The thick-necked whitetail was easily pushing 300 pounds, and the rack looked like it had an extra beam.
“The big guy came in like, ‘I own the place ... What’s going on?’ He was in a slow, aggressive walk right in front of me, 20 yards out at the most,” Paul said. “When the arrow hit, it made that sound like you’re shooting a watermelon.”
At 216 4/8 inches (without the spread), Paul’s 25-pointer is No. 6 among Iowa Irregulars felled by compound bow. His story, told by Gita Smith, will appear this fall in Rack magazine.