February 13, 2023
Iowa native Jeremy King is no stranger to hunting giant bucks during the state’s late muzzleloader season, but this year was particularly special. He’s chased whitetails for nearly 30 years and has amassed an impressive collection of big bucks.
Shortly after sunrise on Jan. 5, 2023, Jeremy dropped the hammer on his .50 caliber Savage smokeless muzzleloader on the largest 10-pointer he’s ever seen; and what will likely be one of the top 10-pointers in the state from this past season.
“I love chasing a specific buck,” Jeremy says. “No matter the weapon, matching wits with the craftiest big game animal on the continent is a very satisfying pursuit. Although, it seldom ends in success, but I’m good with that. There are often complications that influence the outcome such as weather, neighboring hunting pressure, short seasons and even early shedding.”
If he could request the ideal weather for this time of year, Jeremy would ask for the coldest and most miserable weather Mother Nature can produce.
“I often hunt open food sources, and this time of year the deer pile onto bean and cornfields,” he explains. “Every once in a while, when I can find standing crops, that’s usually a slam dunk. When it warms up, things can get pretty tough.”
A decade prior, Jeremy had located a giant that would have pushed the upper 190s thanks to impressive double brows and other character points, and he had him dead to rights. The deer showed up exactly where he was supposed to, but he was missing an antler. In December.
“Every year we see early shed bucks. But with the cold snap we experienced early December this season, there seemed to be more than usual,” he says.
Right as Iowa’s shotgun seasons wrapped up, Jeremy was making his regular morning scouting run when he witnessed the giant 10-pointer with a group of does run onto a piece of ag land that he had permission to hunt.
“The second I laid eyes on that buck, I knew he was going to be my complete focus for the remainder of the season, or I’d eat the tag,” Jeremy continues. “It was the biggest typical I’ve ever seen on the hoof, and I was absolutely committed.
“The weather was good and cold for a few days, but he never showed up. I was beginning to wonder if he even lived nearby, or if it was freak encounter. Eventually, I found him again several days later, and I readjusted to hopefully intercept him. The deer seemed as though he hadn’t experienced any intelligent pressure, and his habits were largely based on what the weather was doing. The colder the temps, the sooner he’d get out of his bed and head to the beanfield I was hunting. If it was warmer, he seemed lazier. I just hoped the buck wouldn’t shed out early, leaving me in a familiar scenario.”
Jeremy gave maximum effort for over a week without any new information, and he only had one other sighting while he was hunting.
“If I were to be honest, work and family obligations—as well as human interference—began to complicate the experience. I wasn’t about to quit, but with a little over a week of season remaining, it wasn’t looking too good. The deer was seemingly MIA as unseasonably warm weather set in. I all but wrote the buck off when a surprise appearance recaptured my focus.
“For some reason, the big buck and a group of about 20 other deer had relocated half a mile from where I originally saw him—still on property I could hunt,” he says. “I’m guessing the group got bumped by another hunter somewhere. Hard to say. But I had a short window because I knew generally where he liked to bed down. And if he made it back in there, it would be hard to draw him out again since it was so warm.”
The following morning, his plan came together perfectly, and Jeremy made a perfect 90-yard shot that dropped the giant in his tracks.
“I couldn’t believe it. With every step I took, he seemed to grow bigger and bigger,” Jeremy recalls. “This buck was literally everything I dreamed he could be. I am absolutely thrilled with this deer! I feel like a lifetime of hunting prepared me to hunt a buck like this, and it’s so satisfying to have a plan come together the way it did.”
The mainframe 10-pointer unofficially green scores at 187 3/8—just shy of the 190-inch mark. There are two tines barely missing the 15-inch mark, his G3s are well over 12 inches and he carries multiple 5 7/8-inch mass measurements. He also sports one 3-inch kicker on his right G2—all contributing to his impressive frame.
But who’s keeping track?
“One of the reasons I don’t score many of my deer is because I feel like it can rob the buck of his true character,” Jeremy continues. “But I had to know where this one ranked, and he’s nothing short of impressive. Not many 10-pointers get this big, and to say I’m proud to have him is an understatement.”
Jeremy is a great friend of mine, and he dedicates a large portion of his time ensuring others have quality outdoor experiences. He’s going to get on my case for saying this, but there is nobody that deserves a deer like this more than him. Congrats, my friend. You earned it!