The first of October. The rut is weeks away, and the afternoons are warm. But there’s color in the leaves, and up in Iowa, bow season is finally open. Those first few days are among the best times of the year to kill a mature buck, too, as it’s often the last time you’ll see him on his feet in the daylight until the rut.
After four years of applying, I finally drew an Iowa tag this season. I was stoked to have the opportunity, particularly because I’d be hunting Lee and Tiffany Lakosky’s farm. I was Midwest-bound on Monday, Oct. 1, and drove through the night until I reached Salem, Iowa, early Tuesday afternoon. If you’ve ever watched The Crush, then you know Lee and Tiffany may have some of the best deer hunting in the country.
The first afternoon was hot, with temperatures up in the mid-70s. I didn’t see any mature bucks, but the sheer number of deer we saw was unbelievable. I was a long way from Georgia.
This isn’t a great spot by coincidence. Few people work harder and are more dedicated to whitetail hunting than Lee Lakosky.
“For Lee, deer hunting is not something he thinks about when October rolls around; he is planning and strategizing all year around, every walking minute of the day. He is always doing something that will make his deer herd healthier,” says Tiffany.
I got to see this first hand myself while hunting with Lee and Tiffany. He’s a phenomenal caretaker of his deer, with a name for every buck on camera. I really look up to him.
We sat out the next morning’s hunt to check cameras and look at a stand where Lee had been seeing several good bucks. This was over a clover field that deer would cross en route to a standing bean field. We didn’t sit the stand that afternoon due to a bad wind, but made plans to hunt it the next morning, since we could access the spot in the dark and, hopefully, have the wind in our favor as the deer returned from the bean field. It seemed like a good scenario.
One of many trail camera photos the Lakoskys had of Tyler’s buck.Marc Womack and I settled in the stand a good 30 minutes before daylight just to make sure we did not bust anything going in. Marc is the owner and producer of Sub7, which produces The Crush. Sure enough, the first deer we saw was a nice 145-inch 8-pointer coming across the field. He stopped right in front of our stand, and I ranged him at 45 yards. He was broadside, and I settled my pin. I must’ve held a touch too low, though, as the arrow sailed right underneath him. Clean miss.
I was disgusted, but Lee assured me there were more bucks in the area and recommended we sit in the same tree that afternoon. The weather turned warmer, though, and we didn’t see but one deer.
The next morning was a different story. The weather turned off chilly, in the upper-30s. We hunted the same stand and had a few does come in to our field first thing. I was watching them when suddenly, I caught a glimpse of what appeared to be a giant buck easing my way from the beans. He stood behind a cluster of trees before stepping into the field. I ranged him at 50 yards, grunted to stop him and took the shot. The hit was perfect. We found him piled up 80 yards away.
When I shot, I didn’t realize just how big the deer was. I was more worried about making a good shot at that long range. But this deer’s tine length was amazing, anchored by 14-inch G2s. He is my biggest buck to date with a gun or bow, scoring at 170 inches.
Three days later, my dad hunted the same tree. The 145-inch 8-pointer—the same buck I missed—walked by him, and he killed it. These hunts will be featured next summer on Realtree Outdoors andThe Crush with Lee and Tiffany on the Outdoor Channel.