CEDRA RAPIDS, Iowa — The first buck Nick Long shot with his bow and arrow had long tines — really long tines.
Four of the trophy buck’s tines measured over a foot, with the two longest exceeding 14 inches.
The Cedar Rapids archer shot the buck Nov. 5 in southeast Iowa during what he called a perfect hunt.
As his ambush site, Long selected a tree overlooking the intersection of two major deer trails in an alfalfa field between strips of timber. With his portable, climbing-style tree stand, he was able to position himself to take advantage of prevailing wind and weather conditions.
Hunting during the rut, the annual deer mating season, Long said the buck followed a doe toward his tree stand. Less than a minute elapsed from the time he first saw the buck until he released his arrow, Long estimated.
“That’s a good thing — not much time to get nervous or to think about the shot,” he said.
The buck walked past Long, presenting a nearly broadside shot at a distance of 18 yards.
“I didn’t even know it was a monster buck. When I’m lining up my sights, I am focusing on the kill zone,” just behind the buck’s front shoulder, Long said.
“Bull’s eye. I knew I put a good hit on him,” the archer said.
Just how good was not apparent until he saw the buck go down less than 50 yards from the tree stand.
Long used his cellphone to call his dad, Gary Long of Cedar Rapids, who was hunting nearby. While his dad fetched the pickup, Long, dispensing with the archer’s traditional wait between shot and recovery, climbed down and claimed his deer. “I knew it was dead,” he said.
The buck’s 13-point non-typical rack was independently green scored by Gary Long, who came up with 183 5/8 inches, and by Marion taxidermist Jim Kindig, who came up with 183 7/8 inches.
Though the rack far exceeds the 155-inch minimum for inclusion in the Pope and Young bow-kill trophy registry, it won’t quite make Boone and Crockett, which has a 195-inch minimum standard for non-typical whitetail antlers.
“It was cool to know you did everything right. They couldn’t smell me or see me, and I made a good shot,” said Long, who credits his dad with teaching him the fine points of bow hunting.
Six days later, Long’s dad and mentor shot an 11-point buck on the 11th day of the 11th month of 2011.
“It’s been a good year,” Long, 27, said.