DEERTRAILS 6: Young woman’s hunting patience pays off

Deer hunters often set times when they plan to leave a tree stand, saying to themselves “I’ll stay here until noon,” or some such deal.     
When it comes to gun deer hunting, those deals get broken for good cause, being cold, hungry, no deer are moving, or just plain tired.
Stephanie Arneson, 30, of Barneveld in Iowa County, began deer hunting in 2012, when she says her husband, Hayden Arneson, 28, got her into the activity. She registered a couple bucks and a doe, but nothing since 2015 when she shot her last deer. That was until she made a deal with herself from her tree stand on a cold, snowy Saturday morning, the season opener.
“I gave myself a pep talk, after seeing a spike buck and a doe,” Stephanie said. “My deal was I was staying 15 more minutes. It was 9:45 a.m. I was freezing cold, but agreed to stay for another 15 minutes.”
Stephanie didn’t break her 15-minute deal. A deer did and now she’s looking for a taxidermist.
“It wasn’t a minute later that the buck came walking up into an open area to my left,” she said. “He was there a few seconds, 30 yards away. I knew I had to shoot and not give him time to make his next move.”
It was one quick, accurate, well-planned shot. The deer ran about 40 yards, stopped and fell over. Stephanie texted Hayden and he came down from his tree stand and over to greet and congratulate his wife.
“He’s was a wee bit jealous, but quite proud of me,” she said.
The Arnesons gave it a little time before walking over to the deer.     
“There are 13 points on the buck. It has a good deal of mass. We estimated it is three or four years old. I cried when I saw the deer, I admit that,” she said.
The Arnesons were hunting on a relative’s private land a short distance from where they live in Iowa County.
A DNR field warden, David Youngquist, happened by looking for a reported injured doe when he saw the large buck Stephanie had taken at 9:46 Saturday morning. After checking to make sure the guns were all unloaded, Youngquist took several photographs of Stephanie with the deer before leaving.
Hayden is skinning and cutting up the deer, which they will eat, maybe getting some specialty items made.
"I’m getting a shoulder mount done and hanging it on the wall someplace, Stephanie said.
“It’s been a blast. Now I’m ready to help the guys get a deer if they need help driving the woods later in the season,” she added. “Otherwise, I’m done with cold weather.”

Jerry Davis writes daily DeerTrails 11 times during the nine-day, gun deer season. This is the sixth column. You may contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 608-924-1112