31. White-tailed Deer---Iowa
The whitetail is easily the most recognized big game animal in North America. But
it wasn’t always so. In 1900 there were only 500,000 deer in the country, but once
game laws and hunting licenses were established, using hunter dollars to manage them
brought numbers to over 30 million today. The whitetail is very adaptable and this
is reflected in its feeding habits, browsing and grazing on many kinds of twigs,
grasses, shrubs, fungi, nuts, and leaves. In many areas whitetail numbers have increased
to the point where hunters have difficulty keeping them in check. They are also now
commonly found in towns and cities where they spread Lyme disease, cause auto collisions,
and eat gardens and shrubs, leading to much public outcry. Hunting deer in West Virginia
is a huge job creator and brings over $230 million a year into the state’s economy.
This 152 inch buck was taken in November 2009 in Iowa a few months after a major
surgery. I rattled him in the second morning, but he stopped to the right of my ladder
stand where, because of pain on right chest from a previous surgery, I could not
draw my bow. After a few minutes he moved on and I gave an aggressive call to him.
He turned and walked behind my stand on the left side where I could shoot and the
28-yard shot was good. I was very ill at the time and in retrospect, probably should
not have been bowhunting. But I’m so glad I went and this great buck was the result.