Last-Second Stand Switch Delivers Bruiser Iowa Buck [Big Buck ALERT]

When a carefully laid plan goes awry in southern Iowa, HuntStand is there to help guide a very successful Plan B.

by Mark Melotik

HuntStand Pro Contributor MORE FROM Mark

When a carefully laid plan goes awry in southern Iowa, HuntStand is there to help guide a very successful Plan B.

Hunting time is precious; the HuntStand Hunting app was developed to help you make the most of each and every minute. A great case in point? The story of Week Seven Big Buck ALERT winner Brian Kennedy, 32, of Iowa. When a rutting non-target buck blocked his path to his chosen stand, Kennedy’s HuntStand app pointed him to a new stand, where he would soon encounter the buck that would help him nail down a weekly win in our Big Buck ALERT contest. For his efforts Kennedy scores an ALPS OutdoorZ Bino Harness X with Vital X rangefinder pocket; the weekly win also makes him eligible for our Grand Prize Drawing: A choice of either a sweet new binocular, OR a cutting-edge riflescope, from hunting optics specialist Leupold (contest details below). Enter now (DEADLINE THIS WEEK) to join the fun!

Here’s Kennedy’s exciting story in his own words:

“On November 13, 2018, I headed out at noon to hunt southern Iowa, after working the night shift. I had seen a lot of deer activity on my way home from work, and figured it was going to be a great day to hunt. I had checked the HuntStand app the night before and saw the wind was going to be good for a couple of my stands. The temperature was about 30 degrees with a light northwest wind; a sunny day and great hunting weather. Before going out, to ensure the wind wasn’t going to change mid-hunt, I double-checked ScoutLook and my ScentCone, and found I would have a steady northwest wind for my entire hunt.Week7Two900“On the way to my stand, I stopped to open a gate and saw a buck tending a doe on a ridge in the pasture ahead of me, about 150 yards to the west. I watched for a bit and glassed the pair, and determined the buck was a medium-sized 8-point that I wasn’t interested in. The problem was, the deer were between me and the stand I had intended to hunt, and I didn’t want to spook them from the area. Decision time. I had two more stands with favorable wind to the northwest of me, and opted for one of them instead. The original stand I planned to hunt is a hotbed for rut activity, but there had been an old fat 8-point hanging around another stand, and I figured I would try my luck at seeing him again. I had just missed opportunities at him twice this past fall, and hoped today was the day.

“I parked, made it to my stand and settled in, planning for an all-afternoon hunt. The stand I chose is in a valley between two timbered hills, near a large ditch between two pastures and heavy with deer traffic. The two-man stand in a large old oak tree is just off the mouth of a ditch inlet that I had set up to take my son along, when he wasn’t in school. I’ve killed a couple of bucks and does in the area and knew it would be good for activity.Week7Three900“I was in the stand for about 20 minutes and had given a few grunts to see if any bucks were cruising the area. I looked to the northwest along the north-south fenceline and saw two does milling around, grazing on acorns and leaves. I watched them for a bit at about 45 yards, and they eventually drifted off to the north. Then I glimpsed a buck far to the northwest across the creek. I started grunting and he took notice and began coming in. He came to where the does had been along the fence, and I saw he was a young 6-point.

“The lack of undergrowth at my stand site meant I needed to wait until the 6-point was out of sight, to continue grunting. I watched the small buck graze with a few does further out across the creek; then I heard movement on the other side of my tree. At first, I assumed it was a cow due to the heavy footsteps. I leaned back to glance around the tree and instead saw the side of a nice mature buck and half its rack. He didn’t look like the largest buck I’d caught on camera to date, but a nice buck regardless.

“At this point the larger buck was about 10 yards away on my blind side with no shot and limited visibility; I could not determine which way he was headed. Still, I readied my bow and release and waited to see if he would present a shot. With the buck so close I knew I’d need to make a shot decision quickly.

“I drew as soon as the buck came into view just below me; a quick glance at about 12 yards and I knew he was a shooter. I waited for him to present a shot as he stayed focused on the smaller buck; as he turned to walk around a tree I released my arrow and got good penetration on a right-side quartering-away shot. I knew I’d hit vitals but didn’t get the expected reaction. He ran a short distance and stopped, still watching the little buck.Week7One 900“The buck then jumped the fence to the north and went out of sight down the hill, toward the ditch and pasture. I waited a bit before climbing down, questioning if I’d hit him as well as I thought…but soon found him about 150 yards to the northeast of my stand.

“Upon inspection, I realized this was a visiting buck that I hadn’t captured on camera at all. I also realized he was wider and bigger-bodied than I had originally thought. The entire encounter had lasted only about 30 seconds from the time I heard him until he ran over the hill. While he wasn’t the buck I had hoped to see, he would have been a top-three hit-list buck, had I known he was even in the area! He was recovered at 2:10 p.m., only about two hours into my hunting day!

“2018 has been yet another year that HuntStand has come through for me, helping plan successful hunts. Thanks again Team HuntStand for a great hunting tool!”

To enter the ScoutLook 2018 Big Buck ALERT contest, simply send us a few clear, high-res. digital photos (three to five) of your 2018 buck (accepted NOW THROUGH DEC. 15) along with a brief story of your hunt that explains how the HuntStand app played a part.

Be sure to tell us if your buck was known to you or a newcomer, then describe the area where your stand sits, or where the encounter took place, as well as the fateful day’s wind and weather conditions, and of course, the blow-by-blow account of the exciting action as it unfolded. Include your full name, age, successful hunt date and state, weapon used, and also be sure to include your mailing address. Your e-mail subject line should read: Big Buck Alert! Send your photo(s) and requested info to: [email protected]2018Bino X+VitalX 900Team HuntStand will choose 12 weekly winners that we will share with the extensive HuntStand community; EACH weekly winner will receive BOTH the Bino Harness X (valued at $49.99) AND Vital X rangefinder pocket (valued at $19.99) from ALPS OutdoorZ (see above).LeupoldTioga900In addition, at the end of the 12 weeks, all weekly winners will be placed in a drawing for our Grand Prize. The Winner will GET THEIR CHOICE of a Leupold BX-2 Tioga HD 8X42 binocular (shown above, a $389.99 value) OR a Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40 CDS riflescope (see below), a $389.99 value.  LeupoldVX-FreeProfile900Good luck out there this fall from all of us here at Team HuntStand, and let us know when (and how) you score!



HuntStand is the #1 hunting and land management app in the country. It combines advanced mapping tools with powerful map layers to allow users to create and share the best hunting maps possible.