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My First Guided Hunt

By Tom Lester

I am sure I am like most of you; I have always wanted to go on a guided hunt. Last year I turned 40 and I decided to give myself a birthday present. My first guided hunt. After watching countless hunting movies I narrowed down my choices to Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois.
The research had just begun. I looked up many websites and made quite a few phone calls trying to decide which place would be the best fit for me. After talking to Tom Indrebo of Bluff Country Outfitters on the phone I decided to make the 3-hour drive to meet him and see if this was place I was looking for.
The whole drive over I was really excited. Some of my favorite authors and hunting show hosts have all hunted with Bluff Country Outfitters. The idea of hunting from a stand that Gary Clancy, Pat Reeve, Greg Miller and Steve Bartyalla had hunted in was incredible.
As soon as you meet Tom and walk in his house you are in awe of his knowledge of whitetails and the incredible mounts and sheds you cannot stop looking at. Then Tom walked me through the bunkhouses and shower area to show me exactly what to expect if I decided to hunt there. Again there were mounts and sheds everywhere you looked.  That got you excited at the proposition of hunting there. After talking to Tom for a couple hours and seeing what he has to offer, it was an easy decision and I booked my hunt.
Now the hardest part, the long wait until my hunt. I kept looking at their website for trail cam pics of the bucks I would soon be after. I also called Tom a few times during the late summer and early fall to hear about all the bucks he had been seeing. As I turned the page on the calendar each month my anticipation grew.
A few weeks before my hunt Tom let me come down for a weekend and try to harvest a doe for my Earn A Buck sticker. It was the middle of October and as you all know not the easiest time to arrow a deer. Saturday morning and evening I saw some does, but they were all out of range. Sunday morning I had a button buck come within 15 yards of my stand. Even though I knew there was my sticker I could not shoot him knowing the potential he could have.
That evening Tom put me by a pond since it was very hot. After a short sit a young doe was heading from the pond down a path right towards my shooting lane. I stood up and drew back and just before she got where I wanted her she laid down. I watched her for over an hour and was starting to get a little nervous thinking about that sticker.
She finally got up stepped into the lane and I made my best shot ever. She went 10 yards and fell over. I felt an unbelievable excitement come over me from the harvest and relief about getting my earn a buck sticker. Even though it was a doe, it was one of my greatest hunting experiences ever.


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