After three long years of waiting, South Dakota bowhunter Al Kraus finally drew a treasured Iowa archer tag. Kraus owns Black Hills Archery in Rapid City, South Dakota, so drawing the tag and finding time to hunt is no small feat with his schedule. One of his valued customers invited Kraus to hunt his southern Iowa farm and Al was joined by Realtree’s David Blanton, complete with a film crew. Bbz3_3

Needless to say the hunt was memorable. Kraus passed a 150-inch class buck the first day. On day three he watched a “great 5×5” from 500 yards away, but the buck’s focus on a hot doe was even more powerful than the sound of Kraus’ rattling antlers. On day four Kraus passed on a 140-class whitetail.

On day five Kraus decided to stay in the same stand all day after checking weather forecasts. By late afternoon he wondered if he had made the right decision reminded by his growling stomach. At approximately 5 p.m. his cameraman whispered “big buck across the river” and the growling stomach took a backseat.

The buck waded the river toward Kraus’ stand and it looked like the buck was about to give him a 20-yard shot, when the buck switched gears and waded upstream. The giant jumped up on the bank approximately 60 yards away to snort-wheeze at a small buck and Kraus got aggressive on his grunt tube to lure the giant back. It worked. The buck wheeled and came back straight at the tree. At 10 yards Kraus grunted and the buck stopped slightly towards him, but with enough room for a vital shot. After an hour wait for insurance and to be joined by friends, Kraus recovered the buck from the river.

“All that was sticking out of the water was the tip of his left main beam. I can honestly say when I lifted that rack out of the water I was totally overtaken by emotion.”

Can you blame him? The buck gross scored 203 inches.