Windy Ridge OutfittingIowa
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I was happy with every aspect of this hunt, other than the treestand locations. The properties Nick has are prime land in the most amazing whitetail habitat in the world. Every day the guides and tagged out hunters would tell us about the huge bucks they saw during the day while driving around. The problem is that none of the hunters were seeing these deer. I hunted for 6 days and never saw a deer between 9:00 and 4:00. It is obvious the treestand locations were not in the right spots for cruising / chasing bucks. Many of the stands were located on the edge of food plots. During the peak of the rut stands need to be between bedding areas where bucks cruise looking for does. 8 of us in camp, 5 killed deer. One deer was 2.5, the other 4 were all 3.5 year old bucks (nothing over 135"). I know Nick was not happy with us shooting younger deer, but none of us were seeing mature deer. The deer I killed was the ONLY 3.5 year old buck I saw all week. I killed it out of my own treestand that I hung that morning, because I saw bucks chasing back off the field the previous evening.
I didn't bring up this issue with Nick because there was nothing to be done about it. You can't go in and hang stands and cut shooting lanes and expect to kill deer any time soon after all that disturbance. It needs to be done pre-season, and done in the right spots.
I would love to go hunt these properties again, but the only way I would do so would be if I was allowed to scout late winter, pick stand locations, and hunt on my own with my stand in November. I have no doubt that if I had unrestricted access to move around the property where I killed my deer, I would kill a giant.
The one other thing I was disappointed about was the numbers of gun hunters hunting the properties. This year there will be 50 gun hunters coming to Windy Ridge. I know they have a lot of land, but that is a large number of gun hunters, and could definitely be a factor in the lack of mature deer sightings.
Iowa is amazing, and I can't wait to go back.
Was the outfitter notified of problems? - NO
None to date. If you are the outfitter please email us.
The first 4 days the weather was perfect. Cold nights and in the low 50s during the day. We had one windy/rainy day, but other than that it was good.