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Iowa Deer Hunting

Iowa Deer Hunting

Iowa Deer Hunts

The State of Iowa in my opinion is the #1 location in the Midwest for harvesting the whitetail buck of a lifetime. Iowa deer hunting continues to amaze me even after being an Iowa deer outfitter for over ten years. Iowa ranks #2 of all States in the Nation in regard to the number of whitetail deer entries in all record books for number of entries. The reason Iowa deer hunting doesn’t rank #1 is simply because of the difficulty for any hunter to obtain an Iowa archery tag. While gun tags in Iowa are easy to get to participate in an Iowa deer hunt, the bow tags in Iowa often times take up to two years to obtain.

As an Iowa deer outfitter I have had to explain why it is hard to obtain an Iowa archery license, while obtaining a firearms or muzzleloader tag in Iowa is relatively easy. Rumor has it that the Iowa Bow Hunters Association has political ties to State Legislation wherein enough pressure has been placed upon the State of Iowa by resident hunters to deter non resident hunting. Prior to the late 1980’s nonresidents weren’t allowed to hunt deer in Iowa because the herd was in a state of rebuilding. By the late 80’s it was deemed large enough to support limited nonresident hunting pressure. A conservative harvest policy - including buck-only hunting for residents in some areas - permitted the numbers to continue to grow until the early 90’s when it was easily the best in the Midwest.

However, Iowa does want Iowa whitetail deer to be harvested to prevent over population and crop destruction. Thus it seems as in an act of negotiation the State of Iowa gives out gun tags to non resident Iowa deer hunting in order to maintain herd populations, while possibly being a little too strict on awarding archery tags to non residents in an effort to pacify resident hunters.

Whatever the reason may be while the citizens and business owners of Iowa are some of the most wonderful people I quite frankly have ever met, I myself find it semi unconstitutional to see any State in the United States of America upholding prejudice against non residents. Think of a like parable. If I, as a nonresident, wanted to open a chain of restaraunts in Iowa the State of Iowa would have no problem with it. However, if I, as a non resident wanted to go harvest an deer on an Iowa Deer Hunt my rights seem to be somehow violated. Legislation like this has been challenged and lobbied for in other States, wherein those States did open up deer hunting to non residents without any prejudice.

Therefore to chase this ghost of Iowa deer hunting a little further when it comes to archery tags, Iowa is a State that doesn’t have much of a an annual revenue surrounding tourism. The State of Iowa nor perhaps some of its business owners have failed to realize that by restricting non resident archery tags they are preventing millions of dollars from entering the State thereby penalizing business growth.

I have said all that to say this, Iowa ranks #2 in the Nation for number of entries in the record books. Iowa deer hunting has achieved this without allowing a high number of archery hunters to access the State. THAT SHOULD TELL YOU THAT IOWA DEER HUNTING IS NOTHING SHORT OF AMAZING. THEY HAVE ALLOWED LESS HUNTERS IN THE WOODS BUT STILL “JOCKY” FOR BEING KNOWN AS THE #1 STATE IN THE NATION FOR DEERHUNTING. Iowa deer hunting is without doubt astounding.

If I had suggestions for going on an Iowa deer hunt with a bow, it would be to purchase a preference point for $50 in the month of May the year prior to you wanting to archery hunt it. Then the next year try and draw the archery Iowa deer tag. IN THE MEANTIME GO ENJOY YOURSELF IN ANOTHER STATE LIKE MISSOURI, ILLINOIS, OR KANSAS. Iowa archery hunting is worth the wait, but it’s a shame a wait must occur.

Unlike Iowa deer hunts with a bow, the gun tags for Iowa are relatively easy to get. Pretty much apply and its yours most of the time, however you will most often times not draw two years in a row even for a gun tag. Therefore when deer hunting in Iowa with a gun know your probably will draw a tag every other year.

Let this not be a reflection upon Iowa DNR as their administration is without doubt courteous, professional, and is the best DNR system in all 5 States I have seen. Field agents like Kyle Jenson in Zone 5 have always been polite, professional, and used common sense. I have never seen an Iowa field agent that was arrogant or had some pias law enforcement attitude. While I respect the laws of the land it’s always much nicer to have them imposed by someone that treats you with respect like Iowa DNR Field Staff is trained to do. It is with that spirit they carry out the mission. Now don’t mistake kindness for weakness as Iowa DNR agents will make sure the game laws are enforced and imposed. They just have a tactfulness of themselves that makes visiting with them pleasant.

Richard Bishop, the former Iowa Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Bureau Chief, about the management strategy behind Iowa’s trophy deer hunting. “We recognized back in the early 80’s that most of our hunters were not interested in trophy bucks,” Bishop said. “They simply wanted to shoot deer. The late Lee Gladfelter was the deer biologist at the time and we decided that the best way to satisfy everyone was to keep the deer numbers fairly high so that there was enough does to permit an aggressive any-sex harvest.
“What we found was an interesting benefit. With the healthy deer numbers, Iowa was also producing lots of bucks. This led to a situation where even after every hunter that wanted a buck had shot one there were still many left over to grow a year older. Without making it a specific priority we put into affect a statewide trophy buck program.

“From that framework we have tried to maintain the trophy quality of our buck herd by focusing on keeping a large enough number of does that the overall herd could sustain the pressure we are putting on it each year without the buck numbers falling off. Even now, with today’s greater emphasis on buck hunting, we still harvest less than half of our antlered bucks every year. That leaves plenty of bucks to grow older.”

I grew up in Iowa and have lived there and hunted there on and off my entire life. While I grew up hunting pheasants and ducks (the deer numbers were still low when I was a boy) I was an opportunist like everyone else and jumped on the deer bandwagon once it started gaining momentum. I’ve hunted several parts of the state for deer and I still feel that, aside from maybe certain parts of Kansas and Texas and a few isolated pockets in the western plains of Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Colorado, Iowa remains among the best places to tag a trophy buck in the United States.

Pressure from farmers, the Farm Bureau and insurance companies caused the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to liberalize the antlerless harvest in the mid-90’s to bring the numbers down in some key areas. And combined with a growing focus on shooting bucks, the numbers of trophy deer has stabilized at a level somewhat below what was enjoyed during the heyday. It may not be as good as it once was, but it is still pretty darn good. And the state’s current management plan is geared toward keeping it that way.

I was recently asked by a hunter if I felt like I had ever seen a whitetail deer that I felt was the new world record. Silently I began to reflect upon all my years of being a whitetail deer outfitter and just a whitetail deer hunter. The answer is yes. I feel I have seen several bucks that would qualify for the new world record whitetail buck. However, on each occasion it was a buck seen in Iowa. Iowa deer hunting is simply THE place to pursue the largest whitetail deer on the North American Continent. Gone are the days of the Canadian deer due to predators and winters that have killed vast numbers of deer reducing their whitetail population to one of the lowest in the history of Canada.

Whitetail hunters are now realizing to pursue the biggest whitetail deer existing it is the Midwestern United States their travels must take them. As a Iowa deer outfitter as well as a whitetail deer outfitter of 4 other States I can simply tell you that the highest concentration of Boone and Crockett Bucks is in Zone 5 of Iowa. To go a an Iowa deer hunt is nothing short of humbling. Despite the fact I own IMB Outfitters and the majority of my management during the year occurs in Missouri I simply never miss going up and watching the Iowa firearms season unfold. To the best of my descriptions, as I watch the hunters go out in the morning to their hunt locations and pace the Iowa lodge floors relentlessly waiting for guides to return with hunters. Why? It’s like opening up Christmas presents as a young child. I am marveled and impatient to see just what deer are harvested on our Iowa deer hunts.

For example, last year I watched Ryan Dreher (a guide at IMB) return with a hunter one evening last year. As he dropped the tailgate on the truck a monsterous whitetail was laid before my eyes. The animal was so large I literally couldn’t guess his gross score, despite the fact I am an official scorer. After a thorough measurement of the Iowa deer’s antlers the animal scored over 196 inches. Minutes later a buck came into the driveway scoring 184. Iowa deer hunts with IMB Outfitters just simply continue to produce bucks that are beyond belief. Iowa deer hunting can spoil a hunter very quickly. Want another example? Last year I had a hunter that hunted for deer in Iowa and stayed the entire day in his tree stand. He reported seeing over 90 deer that day. When you go on an Iowa deer hunt with the correct Iowa deer outfitter just know this, “The sky is the limit.”

How do I get an Iowa deer tag? The application period for nonresidents is from May 1 to May 6, 2010. Application material will be updated each April. The odds are getting an Iowa deer tag are reported by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources we have found to be far too conservative as Iowa deer hunting reports the odds for a nonresident to draw an either sex tag have been roughly 50% to almost 100 % in most units and a bit lower in the most popular areas. Bonus points are given to hunters not successful in the draw so everyone will draw the tag at least every other year – at least in theory. License fees have gone up again to $550 the highest of any midwestern state. It was a move that has sparked plenty of controversy and no small amount of anger from neighboring states. Studies done over the past 7 years by IMB Outfitters showed different results. IMB Outfitter’s hunters results on obtaining an Iowa deer tag to hunt with the following weapons are as follows:

1. Firearms Season The first time an applicant applies for a gun tag in Iowa to hunt Iowa deer are reported by IMB Outfitters as somewhere around 91%. This could be because we hunt in Zone 5, which is the greatest of all zone available to hunt for deer in Iowa.
2. Archery Season The first time an applicant applies for a archery tag in Iowa to hunt Iowa deer are reported by IMB Outfitters as somewhere around 3% or less. It almost always take a preference point for any hunt to hope to draw an archery tag. This means if you want to archery hunt Iowa you need a preference point to head for Zone 5 and experience the best Iowa deer hunting in the entire State. With one preference point a non resident has around a 85% chance at obtaining a deer tag for Iowa. With two preference points I have never seen a non resident be denied an Iowa archery deer tag.
3. Late Muzzleloader Season The first time an applicant t applies for a muzzleloader tag in Iowa to hunt Iowa deer in accordance to studies done by IMB Outfitters we have determined the hunter has around a 94% chance of getting the tag. With a preference point we have never seen a muzzleloader hunter be denied an Iowa muzzleloader tag.

NOTE: When applying for Iowa deer hunting tags let it be noted that a group of hunters may apply as “a group”. This means that all the hunters will draw tags or none will draw tags. When you don’t draw an Iowa tag of any type you and everyone in the group that applied with you gets a preference point.

Is their anyway to get an Iowa deer tag if you were drawn the year prior. There is a “catch”. Many people try and seek shortcuts. I have watched what I called, “hopeful piggybacking.” This means a hunter may possess multiple Iowa preference points. Then that hunter will apply as a group with a few friends who have no preference points thinking the group will draw tags based upon the “group leaders” preference points. This is not a successful approach to obtaining an Iowa deer tag. What occurs is the opposite. The group leader will be drug down by those in the group who don’t possess preference points.

The Iowa deer tag process is so tough that it has promoted poaching, although poaching is NEVER justified. Hunter’s who have traveled to Iowa for an Iowa deer hunt get so spoiled by success and the number of huge whitetail bucks they see that they soon begin to look for shortcuts to hunting. They soon discover Iowa allows “party hunting”. Despite Iowa State Law defines “party hunting as follows.”

Resident and nonresident deer hunters with a valid deer hunting license may hunt with and assist other deer hunters only in the season specified on their license. Party unting is only allowed in seasons where shotguns are permitted and the hunter has a
license where a shotgun is a legal method of take. However the hunter who harvests the buck must be in the presence of the hunter who is tagging the buck. Simply put, if you and a buddy are hunting and one of you has a buck tag, while the other possess’s only a doe tag either one of you can shoot a buck. NOW CHECK THIS OUT.

This year I had a hunter call the office wishing to book an Iowa deer hunt. Prior to receiving his deposit I explained the Iowa deer hunting process and tag obtainment surrounding it. He argued and stated he had hunted Iowa as a non resident for 8 years and taken a buck nearly every year. He claimed the outfitter would simply tag the buck for him, but that the Outfitter was nowhere near him while hunting nor was the outfitter even hunting deer in Iowa. THIS IS ILLEGAL! IN FACT THE ACT OF THIS IF YOU TRANSPORT THE DEER ACROSS STATE LINES FALLS UNDER FEDERAL LAW AS THE LACY ACT. A visit from a federal game warden regarding this issue will not be a pleasant experience. And believe me several Iowa outfitters are doing this, and being caught all the time by Iowa DNR. Like I said Iowa DNR Representatives are some of the most pleasant I’ve met, however they know exactly what is going on in the timber and it will be a matter of time before activities like these are curtailed. You would be amazed at just what Iowa Field Agents are aware of. Not only are acts like these unethical, but they are being monitored and noted for future arrest and prosecution.

Even being an Iowa Landowner will give you not special priviledges to tag obtainment. Some hunters have purchased ground in Iowa and claim to be an Iowa resident when they really live in another State. Iowa DNR is quickly sorting out “who’s been naughty and nice” and trust me brother it is my belief that those that have tried to manipulate Iowa State Laws are in for an awakening. Trust me the days of living in an East Coast State with your family and really living in your home State, but buying ground in Iowa and declaring Iowa residency will soon be coming to an end.

To conclude tagging matter surrounding Iowa deer tag I will say that when any State so blatantly discourages non resident deer hunting, in turn that State reaps levels of poaching above average. In the case of this issues real estate sales have been negatively affected. The truth is Iowa is missing out on billions of dollars of revenue each year.

Iowa does offer some public hunting but the truth is that if you really want to have a TRUE Iowa deer hunting experience you need to hookup with the right Iowa deer outfitter. As I have stated Iowa have given birth to many “hill billy hunts or mom and pop deer hunts”. Don’t waste your money and time on these. IMB Outfitters may be the most established Iowa deer outfitter in the entire State. With over 10 years of experience and possession of the finest ground in Zone 5, you simply can’t go wrong with IMB Outfitters on your Iowa deer hunt. REMEMBER YOUR ONLY GONNA GET A GUN TAG EVERY OTHER YEAR IN IOWA, AND ARCHERY TAGS ARE BECOMING NEAR EXTINCT (sarcasm) SO DON’T WASTE YOUR IOWA DEER HUNT WITH THE WRONG Iowa deer outfitter.

The history of Iowa deer hunting is unique indeed. According to leading authority Larry Stone, According to Stone, deer were abundant in the state's early days and likely peaked at a herd of about 400,000 animals in 1850. Unfortunately, massive habitat damage and unregulated hunting extirpated the species in just 50 years. Gradually deer began trickling into Iowa from Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Missouri. Others were stocked or escaped from captive herds. By the 1940s, deer remained scarce, but were increasing which would lead to great iowa deer hunts.
Older Iowans never saw deer when they were children. Deer gradually increased, and the first modern hunting season was held in 1953, when 4,004 animals were harvested. The state's management plan was developed to allow the herd to gradually increase. They expanded their range to fill in gaps where the animals were absent and gradually beefed up their population density. In 1974 hunters harvested a record 17,990 animals, and that inched up to about 20,000 by the early 1980s. Then, phenomenal growth occurred. The harvest rose 10 times in the next 24 years. Iowa deer hunts were beginning to give birth to a new era.
But as the herd grew, so did complaints from farmers and urban gardeners griping about damage to crops, trees, and vegetables. Insurance companies chimed in, citing the alarming cost of vehicle-deer collisions. Even worse was the human toll, with nearly two people killed each year in Iowa year from these accidents.

In response to complaints, and with an eye on deer research, which was shaping the way biologist controlled herds while increasing the number of large bucks, the IDNR mounted its current management plan. The plan, in a nutshell, calls for expanding the harvest of does, reducing the harvest of young bucks, and opening urban fringe areas and parks to hunting to reduce damage.

"Back when I started deer hunting in Iowa in the 1970s, I didn't have to worry about filling the freezer because I hardly saw a deer," said hunter Dave Novak. "That's really changed."
Novak hunts on private property close to an urban area that once was off-limits to hunters. "The landowner had planted hundreds of tree seedlings, and became more and more frustrated as increasing numbers of deer decimated her investment and work. She read up on deer management and lets me hunt, but only wants me to harvest does," he said.

Heck, however, mainly hunts on the private land of an owner who also wants to control deer numbers. "When this suburban season first opened the deer were virtually tame," he said. "It was hardly a challenge to hunt them; in four years, that's really changed. Enough deer have been shot that the others are now wary and behave just like their counterparts out on a public hunting area. I need to be more careful about concealment and scent."

Novak also noticed that the deer are more wary. His answer was to mount a scope on his Traditions muzzleloader. "I'm comfortable taking a deer out to about 100 yards, and that usually puts me in range of plenty of does," he said.
During the decades the Iowa deer hunting herd has exploded, firearm and bow technology has also advanced. Regulations have changed to give Hawkeye State hunters' opportunities to hunt that they wouldn't have imagined a generation ago.

For example, in 1980 most Iowa deer hunters used Foster slugs in a shotgun designed for pheasants. The combination of no sights, a loose barrel, and the modest accuracy of these old style slugs limited the range to 40 or 50 yards.
In 1987 the IDNR legalized the use of rifled barrels in shotguns. "We examined the issue carefully at several meetings and determined that the new barrels would enable hunters to more accurately harvest deer at greater range without reducing safety," said Marion Patterson, who served on the IDNR Commission and voted for the change.

In 1985 Tony Knight began selling his revolutionary MK 85 muzzleloader, which was made in Centerville. More reliable and accurate than side-locks, the new firearm let hunters reach out and harvest deer at 125 yards. More modern guns and bullets now nearly match the ballistics of some popular centerfire rifles, and give hunters outstanding hunting opportunities. The combination of improved muzzleloading firearms and the establishing of special seasons has resulted in whole new hunting experience. "I love hunting with my frontloader, because I can enjoy October's warm sun and colorful leaves and then have a completely different experience during the snowy late December season," said Novak.

In 1997 handguns were legalized for deer hunting. "I'm not seeing a real upsurge in people buying handguns for deer hunting, but the new law gives hunters the option to used these specialized firearms," said Schrantz, who manages the Cedar Rapids Fin and Feather Store.
Rick White serves on the pro staff for Hunters Specialties, an Iowa based manufacturer of hunting accessories and calls. He spends much of each fall hunting a variety of game across the United States and Canada. "I think we have the very best deer hunting right here in Iowa, but I'm a little worried about the future.

"The DNR is feeling increasing pressure from farmers, gardeners, and insurance companies to reduce the deer herd. Hunters need to make their voice herd so the DNR can maintain excellent populations of healthy deer," he continued.
White is also worried about another potential political threat: non-resident tags. "Many people would like to increase the number of non-resident tags in an effort to reduce deer numbers and encourage tourism. This happened several years ago in Illinois. It resulted in high-income nonresidents leasing big blocks of land for their exclusive use. Resident hunters who had access to that land for years were excluded. That could happen in Iowa," he cautioned. White thinks that the current level of non-resident tags is just about right.
Hunters in western Iowa have a slim possibility of encountering an Iowa novelty: mule deer. They are legal game, but are very scarce. "Once in a while someone reports seeing a deer during the hunting season that runs funny, and it's probably a mulie," said Suchy.

The golden age of Iowa deer hunting will continue this fall with Iowas best deer hunting taking place in extreme South Central Iowa. Whether hunting whitetails from an October tree stand, conducting a drive through a woodlot during the shotgun season, or shuffling through winter snow, deer hunters will have a long season to look forward to. They will be able to buy numerous tags use a wide array of firearms and bows to pursue their quarry.

Although Iowa deer tags will be plentiful, Schrantz, Heck, Novak, White, and Suchy offer similar advice to Iowa hunters: Plan ahead. "Last season nearly all tags sold," said White. Some hunters procrastinated and weren't able to buy tags for their favorite season."
The fall Iowa deer hunting guidebook will be distributed by the IDNR in August. It lists seasons and tags. Summer is a great time to begin planning fall and winter hunts, and wise hunters buy their tags as soon as they go on sale.

According to Iowa State University the following facts regarding Iowa deer hunting and or behavior thereof include:

Iowa deer-vehicle collisions often are difficult to avoid. A deer unexpectedly jumps out onto the
road, and the driver must either swerve or hit the deer. Many times the deer is hit regardless of
the driver’s decision. In 1995, Iowa reported 11,167 collisions caused by animals on the road,
approximately 9 percent of all traffic collisions in the state. Nearly all of these animal vehicle collisions were caused by deer.

Deer whistles, devices purported to alert deer of a vehicle do not work. Several studies have
shown that deer do not pay any attention to the sound made by the whistles. However, if installing a deer whistle on your car makes you more alert and aware of deer, it could possibly help you avoid an accident.

Iowa Deer hunting is an important management tool as well as a recreational activity in Iowa. Since deer have few remaining natural predators (coyotes may prey upon fawns in Iowa), hunting serves as the major source of mortality. Some people feel hunting is inhumane; however,
Iowa’s deer herd could grow at an annual rate of 20 to 40 percent if it was not regulated by
hunting. This would result in a doubling of the population every three years. Increased herd
densities resulting from such a population explosion would result in huge economic losses
for landowners. Iowa’s remaining natural landscapes also would be changed due to
excessive browsing before natural processes began to regulate deer populations. In 1996, more than 175,500 Iowa deer hunters pursued Iowa deer during the shotgun, archery, and muzzleloader seasons. These hunters spent an average of $200 each for food, firearms and bows, clothing, travel, and other items associated with Iowa deer hunting, contributing more than $30 million to Iowas economy. This added income, combined with the damage prevented by reducing Iowa deer numbers, makes Iowa deer hunting very important.

Scenes of Iowa deer emerging from the woodlands at dusk to feed in corn and soybean fields are
common throughout the state. In fact, 56 percent of Iowa farmers in a 1991 survey experienced crop damage from Iowa deer. Although deer sometimes are blamed for knocking down cornstalks, most of the damage they cause to agricultural crops involves eating the plants. Deer use agricultural fields throughout the year, but activity peaks at specific times in the growing season. As might be expected, damage to row crops often is the worst at field edges near protective woody cover.

Steffen, Litchfield and other deer management experts emphasize that the progressive attitude of Iowa's deer hunters has played a significant role in developing Iowa's world-class population of trophy whitetail bucks. Iowa's hunters have bought into the philosophy of passing up small bucks, shooting does for venison and harvesting only older, mature bucks. IDNR research management biologist Willie Suchy noted that passing up small bucks increases their trophy potential in two ways: "(Passing a small buck) allows a yearling or 2-year-old buck to survive their first couple hunting seasons," said Suchy. "That not only allows him to develop a larger rack, but it also makes him more cautious and spooky around hunters. A buck that has the ability to stay away from hunters improves his chances of living longer and developing an even larger rack."




Fifteen-year-old Tony Lovstuen of Albia, Iowa, is a very fortunate young hunter. On Sept. 29, Tony was out on a special muzzleloader youth hunt with his dad, Doug, when he killed what appears to be the highest scoring white-tailed buck ever taken by a hunter. Tony was hunting in southern Iowa, just outside Monroe City. It's an area with a big reputation for producing trophy whitetails, but nothing like the buck Tony harvested.

In fact, a lot of serious deer hunters don't know it, but Iowa has produced more Boone and Crockett Club record book deer than any other state: 615 in all. Georgia is so far down that list that only the most optimistic and provincial hunters in our state could even call themselves "trophy" hunters.

The Midwest and South Central Canada are where it's at for big deer. A giant buck in the Peach State wouldn't even warrant a glance in Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin or Ohio. Just a couple of years back, a young Ohio bow hunter named Mike Beatty killed a 304-6/8 nontypical whitetail that has sat atop the heap of hunter kills since that time.

But that's about to change with Tony Lovstuen's buck. Lovstuen's giant nontypical green scored a massive 322-4/8 points on the Boone and Crockett Club measuring system. The buck was estimated to have been between 7 and 8 years old and weighed better than 200 pounds. Tony's buck will undergo a 60-day drying period before being officially judged by a Boone and Crockett scorer. At that time, it's likely that it will score a little less than it green-scored.

Nevertheless, it's almost certain to be the biggest ever harvested by a hunter. That means the Boone and Crockett folks will want to "panel score" the rack and send it before a review committee at the next Boone and Crockett conference. What Tony Lovstuen can be fairly assured of at this point is that he has taken the biggest whitetail ever killed by a hunter, the biggest ever killed by a muzzleloader and one of the most famous deer of all time.

You see, Lovstuen's deer was a star before Tony ever put the sights on him. Live photos of the deer and its shed antlers were featured in North America Whitetail a few years ago and videotape of the deer has been circulating for some time. Zach claims the video was taken by a person who heard about the trophy, went to the area where the buck had been seen and then got very, very lucky with the camera. According to the artist, the deer was free-ranging and was probably taken in an area with small farms of about 200 acres.

All that remained was for some hunter to get lucky enough to put the sights on him and pull the trigger. Tony Lovstuen was that hunter. Not only will this deer make Tony Lovstuen famous among serious whitetail hunters, but it just make him and his family a little bit wealthier, as well. The Lovstuens have been unavailable for comment since Tony took the big buck and are apparently negotiating with a number of media sources to sell the exclusive rights to the story.

Gordon Whittington, editor of North American Whitetail, was in Iowa to speak with the Lovstuens earlier this week and says he "expects to have the paperwork giving North American Whitetail the exclusive rights to the story by Friday morning." If that happens, you could be reading the full story there in just a few months. Meanwhile, the Lovstuens are being very closed-mouth about it all.

Will the Lovstuen buck be a new world record? Yes, at least among muzzleloader kills. According to the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association, the highest scoring nontypical ever taken by a muzzleloader scored 259-7/8, a far cry from Lovstuen's buck. But although Lovstuen's deer is the biggest ever taken by a hunter using any type of weapon, it's not the largest whitetail in the record books. That title belongs to the "Missouri Monarch," a 333-7/8 buck found dead on the side of a road in 1982 near St. Louis.

In fact, Lovstuen's buck will rank third all-time. Second place belongs to the legendary "Hole in the Horn," another deer found dead, this time in Ohio way back in 1940. Still, it's an enormous whitetail, and it was taken by a very young hunter. Hopefully, the story and the young man who pulled the trigger can bring credit to the sport.


Extraordinary tine length; holding the Iowa typical record, the Bills buck has 4 tines over 13" in length, the longest is 14 4/8". Harvested in 1974 in Hamilton County, Iowa, the Bills buck is one of the best 5x5s in the world.


Taking a world-record buck is hard under any circumstances. Doing so with a 45-pound recurve and wooden arrows is even more remarkable.
Such was the situation in 1962, when then-34-year-old Lloyd Goad shot his 14-pointer in southern Iowa. At the time, the deer was the top bow typical of the modern era, at 197 6/8 net Pope & Young points, and he’d wear the crown for three years.

Lloyd died on Dec. 20, 1993, and remarkably little has been written about his great whitetail. The following was taken from his handwritten account of the historic hunt.
“I started hunting squirrels with a neighbor when I was about 14 years old,” Lloyd wrote. “Kenny was several years older than me. All of his close hunting buddies had been called off to service during World War II, but he was unable to go because of a heart condition. He was one of the finest hunters I ever knew.”
After getting married, Lloyd found a new hunting partner in his wife’s brother, Donald. They enjoyed many trips to hunt small game near the Des Moines River, in an area that later became part of Red Rock Lake.

Around 1953, the Conservation Commission opened a special deer season with a limited number of permits for a two-day shotgun hunt. It was a new experience for both men.

“Gradually our enthusiasm for deer hunting in Iowa spread,” Lloyd wrote. “We didn’t fill our tags each year, but for about six or seven years we had some very rewarding hunts.

“During the late ’50s, more and more shotgun hunters began to invade our territory,” he noted. “About that time, several of the original bowhunters in our area brought in the biggest bucks I’d ever seen! I decided the challenge of bowhunting for deer was something I wanted to try.

“Midway through the 50-day 1961 bowhunting season, I purchased some hunting equipment from the closest archery dealer around, a man named Elwood Stafford, who lived in Albia, Iowa,” Lloyd noted. “I bought myself a 45-pound York Crescent recurve bow and some cedar shafts tipped with Hill’s Hornet broadheads.

“Being a veteran bowhunter himself, Elwood was very helpful in showing me some of the fundamentals of bowhunting,” Lloyd noted. “I knew I should do a lot of practicing, so I acquired several bales of straw from a farmer. I placed them against the lube room wall of the service station (which Lloyd ran), along with several layers of cardboard.

“The longest distance I could get from the target without running the risk of having someone walk in front of an arrow was about 40 feet. Studying this distance from a gun hunter’s perspective, I said to myself, ‘This’ll be a cinch!’ But the many scars on the cement block wall were grim reminders of the misses and broken arrows that resulted from my first few practice sessions. After several days, though, I began to get the feel of a decent release, and I started shooting some reasonable groupings.”
With less than two weeks left in the 1961 season, Lloyd headed for the Monroe County woods. Hunting on the ground, he got a shot at a button buck — but the arrow sailed about four inches over the deer’s shoulder. Days later, Lloyd missed a forkhorn walking broadside at about 20 yards. That arrow deflected off a tree limb.

Although disappointed, Lloyd was now hooked on bowhunting. “Those two misses gave me more of a thrill than practically all of my shotgun kills,” he wrote.

Lloyd then had two more misses during the early weeks of the 1962 season. Little could he know that his next shot — only his fifth at a wild deer — would bring down one of the greatest typicals of all time.

“When the last day of the ’62 archery season appeared on the calendar wall at the service station — Dec. 2, 1962 — I was still without a deer,” Lloyd wrote. “I resolved to take the entire day off and hunt all day long, if necessary.

“The day began pretty much like any other — up early, a good-luck wish from my wife, Loretta, and I started on the 18-mile ride to my stand with the windows and vents open on my pickup to help rid my clothes of all household odors. Before heading into the woods, I applied a liberal dose of buck lure on the sleeves and legs of my camouflage suit and a little extra on my cap for good measure.

“To a large degree, the good fortune I was about to experience was due largely to several outings I had shared with a good friend named Paul Pearson,” Lloyd wrote. “Paul had been one of the best wolf hunters in southern Iowa during his younger years, and he taught me a lot about reading the woods and looking for deer sign — especially about trails and crossings. Since most bowhunters hunted on the ground in those days, my preferred method was to set up near a major trail not far from a little-used road crossing. You could get there quickly and quietly without spreading a lot of scent in the woods, and I found that deer liked to use these trails.

“When I reached the area I intended to hunt, I met a hunting buddy, Bob DeMoss, who planned to do some squirrel hunting in the same general area. I also ran into two other bowhunters. One had shot a doe the evening before, and he was back to look for it. He planned to continue his search in an area just north of where I wanted to hunt. His friend said he would cover a trail to the west, in case something was chased out.
“Bob decided to hunt squirrels in the timber on some state forest land just south of me across a dirt road. So I decided to hunt a well-used trail not far from the road — pretty much in the middle of all this activity — in hopes that something might happen.”

Lloyd quietly slipped into a small, triangular patch of woods near the right-angle intersection of two dirt roads. He took a stand next to a large elm not far from a fencerow that ran from one road to the other.

Hunting conditions were perfect. The area was cloaked in a heavy mist, the kind big bucks love to sneak around in. Lloyd barely had time to pick his spot before he heard a noise coming from toward the road.

“I took a peak around the elm, and there he came — slipping through the wild plum sprouts and sumac bushes with his head down. He had so many points on his head that I couldn’t distinguish his antlers from the limbs of the bushes. My heart started pounding so hard I thought he must be deaf not to hear it,” Lloyd recalled.

“He walked up to the fence and stopped behind some brush not 20 feet away. I was behind the tree, and he couldn’t see me trembling. I could have taken a shot through a small opening in the brush at that time, but the experience of four previous misses had taught me that it was simply too risky. I waited.

“He just sort of melted over the fence with no effort. My bow was already in position, and all I had to do was pull it back. When I did, he stopped and looked straight at me at a distance of 18 steps. He was already beginning to whirl around and go back into the brush as I released.”
Lloyd waited a half-hour and then eased back to the truck. He met Bob a few minutes later and showed him the buck’s enormous tracks in the road crossing. Lloyd returned four hours later with friends, and they soon found the buck. Hit in a leg artery, he’d gone less than 150 yards.
“He carried 14 points and weighed 224 pounds field dressed,” Lloyd beamed. “I couldn’t have planned a more perfect ending to any season!”
This trophy had an almost perfectly symmetrical 7x7 rack, and at 197 6/8 typical, he was an easy archery world record. His mark fell three years later, when Mel Johnson arrowed his 204 4/8-inch typical in Illinois. That buck remains No. 1 in P&Y.

In 1986, Curt Van Lith arrowed a huge 11-pointer in Minnesota, tying Lloyd’s buck for No. 2 in P&Y. Their deer still share that spot, though they figure to drop with confirmation of the 203 3/8-inch Hubert “Tiggy” Collins buck, taken in Saskatchewan last fall. (See the February and August issues.)

Lloyd kept bowhunting for many seasons after downing his Iowa record. He was often asked how it felt to have to settle for shooting bucks smaller than one he’d already taken.

“Every deer is a new experience,” Lloyd would reply. “And every shot is a challenge. Not every deer will make the top of the record book, but they all make my book — bowhunting pleasure!”


282 0/8 Non-Typical
The Raveling is currently second on to the Louvenstein Buck for the Iowa State Record Non-Typical. Known as old "Rag Horn," this awesome non-typical was taken in Iowa in 1973. Three drop tines and more make this truly a legend of the whitetail world.


Jeffrey Whisker’s first bow kill turned out to be the buck of a lifetime. Whisker is a rural postman in eastern Iowa and had seen this giant several times the winter before he arrowed the buck. Instead of turning around in a farmer’s driveway and exposing himself to a dangerous blind hill, Whisker drove on past to the top of the hill and turned there. “I could see him bedded in a thicket from the top of hill,” Whisker said. “He was there a half-dozen times that winter. The next year I went out and bought a bow, a release and some arrows and began to practice with the intention of trying to take the buck.

“I started hunting him right from the start of the season. In mid-October, I was on stand in a tiny wood lot surrounded by standing corn near where I’d seen him when he came past at close range. I could hardly draw my bow, but managed to make a good shot. I could hear him crash into the corn as he made his death run. When I went after him I found a hallway of corn mowed down with the giant buck at the end of it.”

"I was driving out to hunt when I saw the monster about 80 yards from the road,” said Clarken. “I went back into town and got my friend and his video camera. We shot several minutes of film before the buck ran off. My hunting area was nearby, so I was full of anticipation as I made my way to my best stand. I didn't see the buck again until one week later, even though I hunted the area every day."

On November 12 Russ saw the giant, wide-racked buck following a doe up the ridge directly toward his stand. For no apparent reason the doe got spooky while the buck was still 20 yards away, screened from Clarken by limbs. Knowing that all was not well, the buck began plowing into a thicket, still not offering a shot. Though Russ grunted several times the big buck continued plowing deeper into the cover.
Oddly, it was a gobbler walking through the dry leaves that had spooked the doe. The same steady footfalls finally drew the curious buck out of the brush. After identifying the source of the sound, the brute angled away from Russ, sticking to open woods. At a range of 25 yards Clarken's arrow perfectly centered his heart. With a net nontypical score of 236 7/8 points, the buck is the standing Iowa state record nontypical.


258 2/8 inches Taken in Louisa County by Lyle E. Spitznogle in 1982 was the 2nd largest buck to be taken to date in the State of Iowa deer hunting. Funny story that a pair of hunters shot at this buck actually fought over who had shot it. The buck was killed as the result of a deer drive. While I respect the animals size I simply am not a fan of deer drives. While legal and respected by some hunters, I want a more personal hunt. A hunt wherein I position myself within weapon distance of a buck I know is working the area, or perhaps even just one I suspect is working the area. I guess you sometimes just take them any way you can get them, even at the expense of cussing, and fighting at the end of a deer drive.

Irregardless, Iowa deer hunting is producing the biggest bucks in the United States without a doubt. While I would never recommend as an Iowa deer outfitter to one of my hunters to follow suit, I simply won’t shoot a buck on an Iowa deer hunt unless he’s an absolute monster. I simply know what lurks in within the woodlines of Zone 5 of Iowa…………………………………………..the best deer hunting in the World is will be found on a quality Iowa deer hunt with IMB Outfitters.

Darrin Bradley

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