Very few hunters ever see a buck that is 6 ½ years old, let alone harvest one. But Travis See did both this season. He and his brother took their first two camera photos of the great whitetail in 2019. At the time, the buck was a 10-pointer in the main frame. In 2020 the deer came back and was an even bigger 12 point with some trash. In 2021, the deer became a ghost and the brothers only saw it once during the hunting season. But when this past shedding season rolled around, they got confirmation that the buck had survived another fall and winter.
“In the spring of 2022, I found his shelter on the left side,” See told F&S. “Then two months later, half a mile away, my father found the right side while planting soybeans. At that point, I knew we could determine his safe zone and home range.” The Sees’ hunting property is ideal Iowa whitetail habitat, consisting of agri land, timber, CRP, a creek and lots of thick, bad cover. There was every reason to think the dollar would still be around in the fall, and it was.
The morning of November 12, 2022 was cold with 20-25 mph winds from the northwest making it feel even colder. Travis walked up to his breakfast stand and saw a couple of turkeys and just one deer to start the morning. He also heard pheasants calling in the distance, but it was said to be a slow landing by Iowa standards in the middle.
The afternoon, on the other hand, was a different story. Check out about 10 turnovers, a couple of baskets and a solid 145-inch 8-point drive through the area around his stand. He also noticed his figure no. 3, but didn’t hit him. It worked in his favor, though, because just moments later, after nearly 100 days of hunting over three seasons targeting this specific buck, he finally had the encounter he’d been waiting for so long.
“He was 80 yards away working along a main trail, pointing to a point and sniffing,” See said. “I knew he was going to hit a Y and either come in front of me through a gap, and I’d have him between 5 and 30 yards, or he’d get behind me where I had a shooting lane that he’d give a 30 yarder. shot. Either way, I knew I just had to relax and let him close the gap.”
As the buck moved slowly down the fairway and into range, See drew his bow, set the stakes and made the 23-yard shot. The shot looked good and the deer tore and disappeared after 70 yards or so. Shih waited half an hour, came down from his stand and found bright red, bubbling blood on the ground. He recovered the giant dollar not far from where he had lost sight of it.
See’s father and brother soon joined him to celebrate. “There’s a lot of time and energy that goes into family farming, archery and land management,” See said. “This hunt was close to picture perfect. Harvesting a buck of this caliber on the land we’ve worked so hard to own and maintain makes it even more memorable and rewarding.”
He credits his success to reading the wind, using good access roads and not overhunting a spot. He also controlled the cameras and shot with a purpose and tried to do things strategically and meticulously. Above all, he had enough patience and perseverance. “Quick success builds ego,” he said. “Slow success builds character. And hard work pays off.” In this case, it paid off with an absolute monster of a typical Iowa whitetail. See buck green won 194 3/8 B&C.