Kamryn Vogel wanted to shoot but couldn’t get a good sight line on the monstrous buck standing in the shoulder-high Eagle Seed soybeans growing in the fertile Iowa soil.
At 10 years old and already with a few deer under her belt from previous seasons, Vogel was ready to do something. Sitting there in the blind with her dad, Josh, and him telling her to wait while he watched and hoped for a good shot, was irritating.
By Alan Clemons, Managing Editor
Hey, she’s 10 years old. She’s in the fifth grade. It was the opening day of Iowa’s youth season. Any hunter would be antsy hoping for a good, broadside shot at a smidge over 100 yards. Right?
“I was nervous and happy,” Kamryn said. “It was hard. I wanted to shoot it right away.”
Josh, anxiously watching the buck feeding amid the beans, knew a chance for a shot was near. A gap between the beans and adjacent corn field would be the best opportunity, but only if the buck stepped into the opening.
“We did a lot of work at the farm this year,” said Josh, who lives with his family in northeast Iowa near the Mississippi River. “We were in a 5-acre food plot and had put in a new tower blind over the food plot out of an old windmill. It’s convenient for our kids … I have five, and two of them hunt. This is the third season for Kamryn.
Josh runs multiple cameras on the property and had seen the big buck, and others, but didn’t check his cameras too often. He didn’t want to bump the deer, despite all the forage, and was reluctant to check the camera’s photo cards. But he had seen enough of the photos and the buck’s routine — about 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., almost like clockwork — to figure out his travel route and bedding areas. He also had seen the buck last season, too, but never got a shot.
“Every photo of him was the same time and I knew where he was coming from, and it took him probably 90 minutes to get to the beans,” he said. “We got into the stand by 5 p.m., and by about 5:30 or 6 o’clock we were watching does coming out of bedding area into the beans.” (Editor’s note: This story has been updated to accurately reflect that this hunt took place in the evening.)
A big 8-point buck walked out amid the does but Kamryn wanted to wait. She had a similar buck from the 2012 season and Josh had told her a bigger one was a possibility. Then, he arrived.
“He came out behind the big 8 and was coming into the field. We have the Eagle Seed beans and they’re probably 5 feet tall, so we couldn’t see much of him or a clean broadside look at him. So I filmed him for about 45 minutes before he started walking toward the corn.
“Kamryn had calmed down after shaking for about 10-15 minutes. When he started walking he was about 100 yards away, too, or a little closer, and she’s comfortable with that shot. The direction he was going would take him toward a little opening but it was a tough shot. I got her set up in the window and I was watching through the other window through my binoculars.”
Kamryn was set up with a Thompson/Center Encore muzzleloader, with two Triple 7 pellets and a 250-grain Hornady STS bullet. It’s Josh’s old muzzleloader — he bought a new Pro Hunter — and she’s accustomed to shooting the smokepole.
When the buck stepped into the opening and hesitated, Kamryn pushed the trigger.
“All I could see was white out, but I heard the crack. I knew she had hit it,” Josh said. “But the problem was I didn’t know which direction the buck ran because of the corn on one side and the beans on the other. She went crazy and I went crazy after the shot. We decided to wait until the next morning to look for it.”
After a morning duck hunt, which Kamryn wasn’t crazy about since she was eager to search for her deer, Josh called a few friends and they started looking. They didn’t find any blood but found the spot where the buck had been standing and then jetted away. The group began searching in the corn at first and, for two long hours, didn’t find anything.
“I was starting to get concerned but I knew she hit it,” Josh said. “Then I began wondering if the deer had run toward us into the beans. I saw a little knockdown trail into the beans but thought it might be a different deer. We hadn’t found anything in the corn, though, so I started backtracking toward the stand.
“About 15 yards or so, I caught a whiff of a deer. About 15 more yards I saw a round-out circle where it had bedded down. A few yards away, I found the deer.”
The Hornady hit the point of the buck’s shoulder, went through and lodged in a backside rib. After high-fives and hugs, and lots of smiles and photos, they returned home.
Josh said the buck scored, unofficially, 206 5/8 and weighed about 225 pounds. It has at least 17 scoreable points on a high-tined nontypical rack.
“I told her she might not get a bigger one than that,” he said. “But she just likes going. Our family has hunted, fished and trapped for as long as I can remember.”
Kamryn said she likes “pretty much all of it” when it comes to hunting and being outdoors. Of course, she told her school friends about the hunt, too.
“We went to my grandma’s house and showed them all, too,” she said.