February 22, 2023
Although he’s a serious deer hunter, Sean Thompson of Southeast Iowa has been getting serious about waterfowl hunting. About a week before Iowa’s first gun season for deer, Sean was out scouting for geese when he saw a giant buck.
“I knew he was pretty nice, and I was glassing him from the road,” Sean says.
The buck was in a field feeding off in the distance, so Sean checked with the farmer who owned the field to make sure he could hunt it. It didn’t seem like there was much cover in the field, so it was a surprise to see the buck out there. It wasn’t until Sean walked out into the field to place a cell camera that he realized there was more than enough cover to hold a big deer.
“I got the first and only picture of him a week later,” Sean says. “He looked nice, and I figured he as 170- or 180-class buck.”
When the opening day of the late muzzleloader season rolled around, Sean was sitting on the field with anticipation that the buck would show up. With the field loaded up with deer, the big buck finally made his appearance, and Sean had the buck at 75 yards. Unfortunately, it was six minutes after legal shooting time had ended, so he had to pass on the opportunity.
The very next day Sean was back in the same spot, but no deer came out to feed. Unfazed by not seeing any deer on his second hunt, Sean returned for the third straight day to the same spot.
There were over 50 deer in the picked cornfield that evening. About 15 minutes before legal shooting light ended, the big buck appeared. “I was set up in a grass waterway, but I wasn’t quite in range of the buck,” Sean says. “So I had to belly crawl 15 to 20 yards to get a better shot.”
Sean took his time and squeezed off a shot at 150 yards.
“I knew I had hit him,” Sean says. “Because I heard the bullet make impact. The field cleared after the shot.”
As Sean walked back to his truck, snow began to fall. With a big snowstorm about to hit, Sean worried that the blood trail would be ruined. Sitting in his truck, Sean called his friend Cole Nilson to tell him the good news. While debating what to do next, Sean drove his truck out to the spot where the buck was standing and found the deer only 65 yards from where it was shot.
Sean’s great late season muzzleloader buck ended up gross green scoring 207 inches. While looking at the buck when they got it out of the field, Cole told Sean, “Your buck is going to go over 200 inches!”