It’s no secret that Iowa hunters have taken tons of trophy bone. The Hawkeye State is well-known for growing monster deer, and many non-residents often have to wait years to get an opportunity to go after an Iowa giant.
It’s become so common to hear about another big Iowa buck on the ground that many hunters have become jaded to the overwhelming deer hunting success Iowans are blessed with year in and year out.
You may be tempted to shrug your shoulders and whisper “big deal” about another Iowa deer hunting success story. But what sets this particular tale apart from others is what the Average Joe hunter had to overcome to make his contribution to Iowa deer hunting lore.
On Sept. 22, 2016, truck driver Robert Mims of Oskaloosa, Iowa, was chaining down a load when he fell. He didn’t know it at the time, but the right-handed bowhunter had broken his left elbow.
A month later, Mims was in excruciating pain. The elbow had become infected, prompting a visit to the emergency room. Mims had surgery Oct. 22. He worried that his hunting season was over before it got started.
For two weeks, Mims could do little more than admire the photos his game cameras had captured of several shooter bucks. One of them, a 10-pointer, made Mims’ heart skip a beat. Several times the buck made a beeline through a 4-acre hardwoods parcel nestled between ag fields and pasture land in Monroe County. Mims noticed that each time the buck came through was about 6 pm.
As the November rut commenced, Mims knew that his opportunity at taking the giant was quickly dwindling.
“I was telling my best friend that it was now or never,” Mims said. “I turned down my draw weight to 65 pounds and practiced pulling my bow back a couple times. I had a lot of pain, but I knew I could deal with it.”
On the afternoon of Nov. 6, Mims scaled an oak with his climbing stand and got into position. In less than an hour, several nice bucks sauntered by. At just after 6, he heard a limb break behind him, and a familiar face appeared. The punctual buck Mims had been waiting for was making its rounds.
Mims ranged the deer at a whopping 55 yards: an exceedingly long shot, especially for an injured hunter. But the buck was moving away from the hunter, prompting that little voice in Mims’ head to tell him, once again, it was now or never?
“I grunted through the pain of pulling the bow back, and then I grunted at him to stop him,” Mims explained. “He immediately stopped and looked my way, and my arrow hit him.”
Although the buck was hit a little farther back than Mims preferred, his arrow had severed a main artery, and the deer quickly expired. The 11-pointer grossed an even 178 inches, and is proof that sometimes you’ve got to take chances to taste success.