Persistence pays off

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Proud of a successful hunt for this specific deer, Tasia Hulin was able to take this nice 4 x 4 buck on Nov. 20. She had observed this buck on Oct. 1 but was never able to get close enough or have the deer meander close enough until this past week. That all changed on Nov. 20, when Tasia used a calling technique called ‘rattling’ to lure the buck close enough to investigate. Tasia shot the buck with her crossbow arrow at 10 yards.

Lady hunters are justly proud of their accomplishments. They are one of the fastest growing segments of the hunting community nationwide, and locally, Tasia Hulin proves once again that she has what it takes to be in the right place at the right time to take an excellent buck deer. Her story involved lots of observation of this specific deer, passing on many other deer, and hoping to play her hand just right to take this animal. Her dedication to the task of hunting a specific deer is to be commended. It is not often a hunter can be so choosy. Chance, good luck and proper timing are just a few of the factors that may lead to getting the deer one chooses to take.

Tasia’s story is one of overcoming obstacles most of us will never have to face. About 15 years ago, Tasia suffered severe injuries from an accident that involved a broken back. Doctors knew it was going to be difficult to help her. Surgeons at Shriners Hospital made what would seem like an impossible task possible. The success by the medical team and the tenacity of Tasia’s positive attitude were hallmarks of her spirit to overcome, and overcome she did. She is able to walk again, live life again, and also enjoy the passion she has for hunting.

Because of her prior injuries, she has utilized a crossbow for deer hunting, although she hopes to build up again to the use of a regular compound bow. In the meantime, hunting season for deer opened on Oct. 1, and Tasia was in the forest watching and waiting. She was pleased with what she observed when the big buck showed himself. Now the question was how to outsmart a smart buck. It is not easy.

All through October and most of November, she paid her dues by being outside and hoping for the right opportunity. On Nov. 20, she mimicked the clinking sounds of two bucks fighting with clashing antlers to get the attention of this big buck. Curiosity got the best of this buck. He committed to seeing what was going on in his territory. The clashing antlers of other bucks were not to be tolerated as he approached. What he did not know is that Tasia was waiting patiently in the forest with her crossbow at the ready. When the big boy got to 10 yards, she squeezed the trigger to send a crossbow arrow through the heart of this buck.

Congratulations Tasia for a hunting task performed well and with the utmost persistence. Persistence pays off.

Becoming an Outdoors Woman program, also known by the acronym BOW, has been offered by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for many years. It is popular, and its ranks fill up fast as women want to learn more about all aspects of outdoor adventures. Then, they can pick a few or just one to specialize in as they pursue an outdoor lifestyle of fishing, hunting or a host of other activities. Being exposed to all the possibilities and mentored along those pathways is just the spark they’re looking for.

BOW is an international program aimed primarily at women. It is open to anyone aged 18 or older to learn outdoor skills usually associated with hunting and fishing, but useful for many other outdoor pursuits. Goals include trying something you have never done before and using that time to learn. Improving skills is part of these goals. Learning a completely new skill is another, and finding like-minded individuals is another where lifelong new friendships can develop.

A BOW workshop is already in the planning stages for 2022. The date is Fri. May 20 through Sun. May 22 at Wesley Woods Camp and Retreat Center near Indianola. Lodging is available in shared bunk-style lodges and shared bathrooms. Workshop fees include all sessions, program materials and demonstration equipment and meals. Registration will open in January of 2022. Questions can be addressed to Rachel Alliss at 515-729-6037 or Rachel.Alliss@dnr.iowa.gov. You can also check out Facebook page Becoming an Outdoors Woman – Iowa to connect with other women who have already attended a workshop.

Observations from my treestand added another page to my memory bank. Earlier this week, I ventured to the forest to climb into a tree stand and begin the long wait for deer to pass by. Well, what I wanted to have happen and what actually happened were two different things. All hunters can dream and speculate about chance encounters along the setup of nearby deer trails. Yes, doing all the correct things is basic. However, the deer and their random movements may or may not coincide with a hunter’s wishes or plans.

So it was that the deer I did observe were too far away from my tree. Binocular use was the only way those deer were going to get “close.” Still it was good to know that deer were moving nearby. What made the evening tree stand special was watching nine wild turkeys walk along a grassy trail and lots and lots of Robins.

In fact, I estimate several hundred robins kept frittering through the adjacent tree tops. Woodpeckers scampered along tree bark poking for insects. A huge immature bald eagle circled high overhead. Two rooster pheasants took off and flew along field grass tops with full cackling cock crow calling the entire way. Several large flocks of Canada Geese honked overhead as they flew past the tree tops. Their goose music honking calls were set against the orange warm light of a setting sun. It was nature at her best.

And I also discovered that busy beavers had taken a liking to the cottonwood tree cluster where another tree stand I have is located. I may return in the future to find my treestand collapsed along with a newly fallen tree, and after a long walk out to return to my vehicle, three deer were waiting near my truck! Obviously, they ran away as soon as I rounded the last corner. Poof, they were gone. It is fun to be humbled by unpredictable deer.

Gun season for deer opens next weekend. About 60 percent of gun deer hunters choose season one to hunt for whitetails, and the remaining 40 percent chose the longer time frame of deer gun season number two to attempt to take nice doe or buck deer. In either case, safety is paramount so that firearm accidents do not happen at all. However, each year there seems to be an incident or two or three where an injury results from the anticipation and excitement of deer hunting. Conservation officers prefer not to have to respond to those types of calls, but if the call comes, they respond, talk to the parties involved, gather evidence and discuss safety again with a hunter group that knows the rules. They just thought that an accident or incident would not happen to them. Tyson Brown, our local State Game Warden, can be reached at 641-751-5246.

As of this week, Iowa deer hunters had responded to the required harvest survey reporting program showing Iowans had taken over 26,250 deer so far. It is an easy citizen science participation program. It adds to the database of information about deer harvests across our state. At this point, hunters have taken statewide 9,263 doe deer, 438 fawn doe deer, 15,442 antlered bucks, 1,275 button bucks and 102 shed antlered bucks. Marshall County hunters have reported 34 doe deer, 85 antlered deer, three button bucks and one shed antlered buck for a total of 123 deer. All these numbers will change significantly during the next three weeks as gun deer seasons pick up in a big way. By the time all deer seasons end in January of 2022, over 100,000 deer harvests will have taken place. That number, 100,000, is in line with what biologists have determined as a harvest level that will not impede the remaining deer population from recovery during 2022.

The system and model of conservation in North America holds to the principle of wise use via regulation and law, guided by science. Fair chase is one of those guideposts that allows for the sportsman or woman to be respected in our communities.

Here is my wish to you over this Thanksgiving weekend: take the time to give thanks for the bounty of natural resources that inspires so many of our citizens to enjoy every aspect of the great outdoors. It is healthy for your mind and body to participate in outdoor activities in and around local, county, and state lands.

Garry Brandenburg is the retired director of the Marshall County Conservation Board. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a BS degree in Fish & Wildlife Biology.

Contact him at:

P.O. Box 96

Albion, IA 50005


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