After waiting years for her chance, a young woman finally got to take her long-awaited shot at hunting whitetail deer.
The moment comes after her father held the family record for the biggest buck. It seems the torch has been passed from father to daughter after she took down a 215-inch buck during her debut hunt.
The tradition of deer hunting is a cherished, long-standing past time families experience together. For the Rude family, that’s exactly the case.
Rude’s Love For Sport Begins With Trap Shooting
Growing up in the rugged, rural backwoods of Ankeny, Iowa, Brooklynne Rude grew up around the sport, Outdoor Life explains. She watched her father, Brock, and her two brothers come home from deer camp, post-hunt. She would help them process the meat. Even though she had yet to catch the hunting bug, she quickly grew an appreciation for it.
Later, when she became a teenager, she got her toes wet when Rude would go to her grandparent’s farm, where she often enjoyed a trap-shooting session every Sunday.
“It was fun to compete against my brother Mitchell, who was very good at trap shooting,” Rude says. “This was the time of my life when I first became really interested in firearms and shooting, which ignited my desire to go deer hunting.”
After years as an observer, Rude was ready to go all-in and become a hunter. But despite her eagerness to begin, the deer camp prohibited any girls from participating in the hunt.
Eagerness To Hunt Remains Despite Setback
She didn’t let the momentary hiccup keep her from working towards her goal of hunting whitetails. If anything, it only added to her motivation. In addition, Rude’s boyfriend also supported her interest in hunting whitetails.
“It was actually my boyfriend’s interest in deer hunting that finally got me into the woods this year,” says Rude. “He mentioned that he really wanted to try deer hunting this year, and I said that I did too.”
In preparation for the upcoming deer season, the couple completed their hunter’s safety course. Then they began preparing for Iowa’s second regular gun season, which started Saturday, Dec. 12. Together, they bonded over buying gear together and practicing with their deer rifles.
After searching, Rude and Knapp found a small piece of land to hunt, not too far from home. In addition, the property already had an elevated blind where they could sit on opening day.
On the eve of Rude’s debut hunt, six inches of snow fell on the frigid farmland. Despite the inclement weather Rude and Knapp trudged through the snow to the blind. However, disappointment grew after all they saw were a few does walking by.
Their luck shifted on the second day of their hunt. After the couple returned to the blind after lunch, two hours later, the deer started moving.
Knapp pulled out his trusty fawn call and, to their excitement, a cluster of deer emerged and walked right to the blind. All told, there were nine does and a four-point in the pack.
“I was being patient waiting for a big doe,” Rude says. “I saw some young does and, finally, a big adult doe came by just 20 yards away.”
Rude cinched a double-lung shot that dropped the doe after she ran about 40 yards.
“This was my very first deer ever, and I was super excited and shaking,” Rude says. “We didn’t know how to field dress a deer, so my dad and brother Mitchell came to help and show us how to do it.”
Two days later, Rude went hunting again; this time, she opted to go alone.
While doing her best to keep quiet as she walked, she spotted a big buck about 175 yards away, feeding in the beanfield on adjoining property.
“I was only about 15 yards from the blind when I spotted the buck, but I didn’t want to keep moving and chance spooking it, so I sat right down on the ground,” Rude says. “I watched him for a few minutes and then decided to use a tube call to make an estrous doe bleat.”
However, the buck took off into the woods after throwing up his head and looked in her direction. Rude climbed into the blind, and Knapp joined her soon after.
Rude would get another chance at the buck when 45 minutes later, Knapp spotted the same buck about 150 yards away, headed in their direction.
Knapp told Rude to shoot once in sight, but she wasn’t comfortable taking the shot. After losing sight of the deer, they heard something, and the buck appeared in front of their blind just 70 yards away in a small opening in the woods.
Getting down on her knees so she could shoot through the window of the blind, she placed the crosshairs of her scope on the buck’s vitals. As she filled her lungs up with one long deep breath, she exhaled, then gently pulled the trigger.
Immediately, the buck bolted before piling up just 30 yards from where she shot.
“I was shaking so bad I couldn’t control it,” Rude says. “We stayed in the blind for as long as I could stand it, and about eight minutes later we climbed down to go look at the buck.”
When they found the deer, all they could do was stand in awe. According to her dad, rude’s buck had 28 points, a 23-inch inside spread, and a green score of 215 inches.
“I thought it was funny, because I had told my dad, ‘I’m going to laugh so hard when I shoot a monster buck because you guys won’t let me go to deer camp,'” Rude says.
“I was able to prove myself as a deer hunter, and this has been an experience that I’ll cherish forever.”