Despite a forecast of blizzard-like conditions across most of the Midwest, good friend Nick Coheley and myself made the 10 hour trek to southern Iowa to begin scouting for the 2019-20 deer season. For the past 4 years I have been applying for preference points to hunt the state of Iowa as a non-resident, and having finally built up enough points I am confident I will be able to obtain a coveted Iowa bow tag later this year. After driving through the night, and pushing snow down Interstate 80, we made it to our resting place near the Iowa/Missouri border. Having an 80 acre farm leased just a few miles south into Missouri, I wanted to check a camera I had left from our previous trip, and put out fresh feed to help the deer make it through the winter. Checking the camera proved that many deer were using the area, and would be looking forward to the corn, protein feed, and protein blocks I would be leaving. Although I had a few thousand photos to sort through, it appeared that none of the mature bucks from earlier in the season were using the farm, but there were a couple younger deer with potential in the years to come.
After spending a portion of the morning on the Missouri farm we decided to head back north into Iowa and check out some of the areas that were on my radar. This past spring I was able to gain access to a new parcel, and I knew I wanted to check this piece out. With a fresh snow I was amazed at the amount of fresh deer tracks and beds already scattered throughout the landscape. This particular piece is a perfect mix of overgrown pasture, cropland, and oak ridges; having everything needed to grow and hold trophy caliber deer. Surprisingly about an hour into our walk, once reaching the middle of the property, we found a standing bean field of maybe 15 acres in size. Judging by the runways pouring into the field, I can only assume a number of 30-40 deer that must be hitting this field each night, and surely is a place I will anticipate walking in March for shed antlers. After spending the next several hours scanning the property in a grid, we stumbled upon several impressive rub lines, pinch points, and creek crossings, all of which I stored in my onX hunt app for the fall. We also jumped up numerous deer, including 9 bucks, with a few of these in the 120-130 inch range.
Being a short weekend trip, I simply wasn't able to spend as much time on this property scouting as I would have liked.
We left a trail camera up along the back-side of the standing bean field, and have plans of returning back in March around the time of the Iowa Deer classic to start back where we left off. However, in short, the property has everything I am looking for when it comes to hunting big Midwestern deer, and although I hope to find a few more places to hunt before October rolls around; this is a very good starting point. Be sure to check back throughout the year and follow my story of "Breaking Iowa".