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Iowa late muzzleloader

Gellar

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I enjoyed Duckhunt's live early muzzleloader so here we go for the Iowa late muzzleloader.

Location: Allamakee County, Iowa a mix of public and private
Species: whitetail
Weapon:.50 caliber t/c prohunter
Season dates: Dec 21-Jan 10

Day 1
Normally I like it really cold for late muzzleloader but that is not happening this year! I have been glassing fields for about two weeks trying to find a pattern. Thursday I discovered 3 bucks that were in a vulnerable location, cut beans with hay strips and terraces. Unfortunately I couldn't tell if they were bucks I would be interested in on Thursday. The weekend came and that brought out 2nd season shotgun hunters. Saturday I found a buck that I saw last year but hadn't seen yet this year on a remote piece of Mississippi river bottom public land. It's a 35 minute drive so I wouldn't have time to get there after work. A northwest wind played perfect for where the 3 bucks were feeding Thursday. After work I got dressed and sat on a terrace by about 3:30. The deer came out about 4:45 when I was scouting. After a half hour sitting the fog rolls in and I can only see about 150 yards. With the low ceiling and fog/mist it is getting dark fast. When I begin doubting my plan I spot a back on the skyline. When he lifts his head the binos confirm its a buck, but I can't tell his size. 5 minutes pass and he is not moving, but is looking behind him. 2 deer crest the hill, 1 is an 8 point basket rack and the other is 120" 8 pointer. I still don't know about the first buck. The basket rack moves toward the mystery buck and it looks up. A solid 10 about as wide as his ears and good mass. I am not sure if he is a shooter so I wait for him to come closer. I'm in the prone position ready to put the hammer down if he comes closer. He never does and the fog and dark make me retreat to home.

Tomorrow I have to work late until 4:30. That doesn't leave enough time to hunt but I am going to glass a large crp field with young white pines. Deer love those soft needles, or so I hope.
 

1_pointer

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Indiana
This'll be fun for me to follow as that is the season in IA that I'd be most interested in trying someday. Good luck!
 

duckhunt

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Newhartford Iowa
Good luck to you. I will be up your way next week with my archery tag in my pocket. With this warm weather I would also like to get out in my boat for some walleye fishin.
 

Gellar

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Good luck to you. I will be up your way next week with my archery tag in my pocket. With this warm weather I would also like to get out in my boat for some walleye fishin.

Last week they were getting the perch and a few walleye at Lynxville, but the river is at about 621 today. It is supposed to crest today, I have not seen a boat out of Harpers all week. A New Albin man caught an estimated 114 pound lake sturgeon in pool 9 about two weeks ago.
 

Gellar

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Day 2 is in the books. I had to work late so I only glassed from my truck. Northeast iowa is the "Driftless Region" which means the glaciers missed us some 400,000 years ago. It is very different than the rest of Iowa. We have deep valleys and river bluffs, on top of the bluffs are long, narrow fields good for glassing since the deer usually come out at the end furthest from the road. I found several deer that I think we're does. The fog has been brutal the last week and the sun hasn't been out in December but it is still unseasonably warm. 35 for daytime highs. Tomorrow I will see what the wind is doing and decide on my attack from there. It is supposed to rain so I will most likely be in a ground blind. This is one of the fields I glass from earlier in the fall. You can see the fog coming off the Mississippi River in the background.
12194891_906303839452779_952573655221989597_o.jpg
 

duckhunt

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Newhartford Iowa
Oh how I love those ridge top views. The fishing reports suck so I think I will Be out with the bow next week. Its been raining here in waterloo all morning, Im sure you are getting the same thing. Good luck on your hunt.
 

Gellar

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If anyone watched the news today I'm sure you heard about the crazy weather we had. It felt more like spring turkey season. Fog, rain, lightning, thunder. When I arrived to my blind it was about 70 yards visibility. I wish I had a video of when the fog lifted, it was a matter of seconds. I did manage to see 1 small buck. I will be out of town for a few days so hopefully when I return we have cold and snow, the colder the weather the hotter action during late muzzleloader! Here is the blind I sat in tonight, A cut corn field surrounded by timber. The IA DNR has ag leases on many of their hunting areas, usually the farmer has to leave 10% of the crop for the critters.
 

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DoubleTrouble

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Good luck!!!! I let the gun bark second morning. This weather in Iowa has been crazy.




 
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duckhunt

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Newhartford Iowa
Nice buck double trouble. Geller looks like its cooling off. Snow in my area this afternoon and you should be getting some in the next few days. Things should start getting good.
 

Gellar

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The weather Late Muzzleloader hunters have been wanting is finally here, I wish I could have hunted all day, but this afternoon will have to suffice. Traveling to a jobsite for work this morning we saw several nice bucks out feeding and hopefully they will be hitting the food at last light again.
 

Gellar

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By 1:30 yesterday afternoon I was the only one left in the office and I could not take it any longer. It was time to go! While I was warming the truck I glanced onto the almighty Facebook. Randy had posted a picture of his truck dashboard thermometer reading -20 and he was questioning his state of mind. I to began to question my state of mind as I drove to Yellow River State Forest to glass, the roads were not bad, but we had about 4 inches of new snow and the weatherman said it would continue to snow and switch to sleet as the afternoon turned to evening. Running through hunting spots in my head I decided to glass a few clear cuts that had been logged two years before and were beginning to regenerate. This proved to be a good idea as it was not 5 minutes in when three doe were spotted feeding on the new growth. However, it did not take long to realize that I had drastically underdressed and could not take it any longer. I headed home to get more clothes. I decided that for the rest of the afternoon I would hunt a field that is bordered by public land timber. Hopefully the deer would like my plan! At 4:30 the deer began to stage at the edge of the timber. a large, cautious doe and her two yearlings were the first to come out. They walked within 50 yards and continued to feed in the storm. Movement caught my attention inside the timber, but with the snow and fading light I could not tell whether it was a buck or a doe. My binoculars quickly confirmed that it was a small 6 point buck, but he was looking over his shoulder like something was following him. The bucks are back together in bachelor groups after the rut and I thought it would be another buck. Sure enough another buck emerged from the woods, with only his right side visible I quickly confirmed 6 large points. Without a shot, the gun stayed down and the binoculars stayed up. When the buck turned his head in my direction showing the rest of his antlers, I had seen all there was to see. With the right antler extending beyond his ears, I tried with all my might to make the left side appear through the snow. Both bucks fed in front of me as did several other doe, 12 total. By 5:30 it was way past legal shooting time and I snuck back to the truck, bumping a couple "mystery" deer on the way. I will hunt this spot again, but next time, probably tomorrow night, I will cut the distance from the feeding area to the bedding area catching them in between. I know there are bigger deer that come out after dark. The rest of the week looks good for the weather so I will be hunting after work. Thursday I will be hunting all day as my dad will be joining me to try to take his first muzzleloader deer. He bought a T/C Triumph to burn his Colorado Elk points with on next Fall and wants to practice.

If anyone that is reading this has plans for an Iowa whitetail hunt feel free to ask me for information. I do not hunt exclusively public land, but I have a pretty good handle on many spots and can possibly point you in the right direction.
 

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Gellar

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I will cut to the chase for people like me who don't like to read the entire post to see what happened. No deer have been harmed in the making of this thread! I hunted Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon and all day Friday. My dad bought a muzzleloader for a self Christmas present and I have been showing him the ropes of the smokepole and trying to find a doe for him. He got a really nice buck during gun season so only has a doe tag left. Wednesday I saw a good buck but other hunters messed him up, but that is what makes public land fun! Friday, we were waiting for 7 doe to feed into range but they went the other direction when they had a decision to make! I wont be hunting Sunday or Monday beCause I am in Green Bay for the Packers v Vikings game Sunday night :) Go Pack Go!
 

Gellar

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12496267_10101978727311705_8497514224091338954_o.jpg


Finally a little cold, 9 degrees, for the low. In all honesty I wish that was the high temp, but I can't do anything about that. This guy showed up at about 4:15 with a few friends. I put the binos on him and he is a borderline deer. I have him at 3.5 years old and 135" after careful study he is a split brow 9 pointer. I am not a trophy hunter but this deer has a lot of potential with 1 or 2 more years. So I decided I wasn't going to shoot him unless he came within 25 yards and I would try with the .44 caliber black powder pistol I had holstered on my Hip. He browsed between 80 and 100 yards teasing me until he disappeared behind the old hay bales I was hiding between out of sight. After a short lull in the action and wondering if I had seen what I was going to see for the night a doe came into view, followed by two fawns. Not far behind them was the spike and one horn buck I have seen numerous times. When they were directly in front about 30 yards the 9 pointer reappeared. He came right to the other deer and I lowered the hammer on the pistol. Pinning the bead sight on his shoulder I squeezed the trigger and a cloud of smoke filled the air. The deer trotted off with tails high in the air. They continued out of sight and I was doubting my shot. Dark was coming on fast so I looked where the deer was standing on the shot, but could not find red blood. Knowing which trail he took into the woods I followed in hopes of blood, but none I could find. It was a clean miss.
 

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