I have gun hunted with Joel Artis / Buffalo County Outfitters twice now in Zone 5, Iowa. Each hunt was awesome. The first hunt I saw the largest living bucks of my life. One which would have been an easy Boone and Crocket buck, another was darn close! The second hunt I saw multiple shooter bucks, one which easily would have scored in the 150's. I have yet to pull the trigger as I haven't had a clear shot within my effective range. I already have booked with Joel for 2024 and 2026 anticipating drawing Iowa tags again! I come from central New York State and I have been very blessed to hunt whitetail in five states. My hunts with Buffalo County Outfitters have been been some of the best. Each time I saw multiple bucks every day, many that far surpass what I can typically expect to see in my home state. Multiple times when discussing the days hunt with Joel I have told him the bucks I'd seen that day would have made me a rock star back in my home state. Joel's the real deal, he's one of the best outfitters I have had the opportunity to hunt with. Check out his Facebook page, this man is working on his properties almost every day. Joel's total efforts are focused on putting you in the best place for the best opportunity. Each sit is planned around prevailing wind directions, bedding and food sources. If the wind suddenly changes Joel will move you. Other outfitters I've hunted with will assign you a stand for the duration of the hunt, not Joel. I can't wait to go back, this is the best whitetail hunting opportunity I have ever experienced. If you have other questions please ask Joel for my contact information.
Bernie K from New York State
Had a tremendous hunt with BCO on their Iowa properties. Myself and hunting partner arrive early on October 31 for our hunt scheduled November 1-6. We checked into Country cabins resort, in Chariton, and got settled in. We called Joel, and let him know we had arrived. He asked if we wanted to start hunting early, to which we of course said 'yes'. We drove ourselves to the farm Joel wanted us to hunt, based on wind and weather conditions. I will say, Joel has completely intimate knowledge about damn near every square yard of his properties, and works tirelessly to make these properties even better. If you follow the BCO page on Facebook, you'll get an idea about the work he puts in, which seems like it is constant.
Joel sent us 'pins' used with the OnX app, that showed us our stand sites, and entrance/exit routes. Everyone planning on hunting with BCO should familiarize themselves with using the OnX app. We made it to the farm, found our stands, and immediately both had a lot of deer activity. After about an hour of sitting, I blind grunted a couple of times. Almost immediately, a really good 4×4 buck came out of the timber, about 100 yards from me, and stared in my direction. He headed directly towards me, through the bean field I was facing. He was a 140-150" class buck, and I was an hour in to the hunt. He milled around about 20 yards in front of me, never offering a great shot angle, to my relief, because I was really on the fence about ending the hunt so soon. He lost interest, and moved off.
The above is just one example of one afternoon, during a great week at BCO. We did have a guide, Chad, who also stayed at Country cabins, and would go over details, with us in the evenings, about the next days hunting plan. This hunt could best be described as 'semi-guided', but that's most whitetail hunting anyway. The weather during our week was perfect. Lows in the high teens with highs in the low/mid 40s.
The properties are amazing. All one has to do is look at them, and you immediately know you are in whitetail deer nirvana.
A typical day went like this: Up and ready to go, lunch packed, head out your stand, get situated, and sit all day. One day I moved at midday, as was the plan for that day. Plan to sit for 10+ hours. There were 4 hunters in camp that week, and we all did all day sits for the most part. The stands were mostly Lone Wolf Alpha's, along with some ladder stands. They were all rock solid, and VERY clearly 'cat-eyed', to find in the dark. In a typical day, I saw between 5-12 bucks, and 20-25 does. I saw several bucks over 140", and had a great encounter with a beautiful 150+" buck, that would have went home with me, had it not been for one branch, that blocked a shot as he worked a scrape, 25 yards from me on the 2nd to last morning. Such is whitetail bowhunting.... I returned to that stand on the last morning.... And after watching several deer in front of me, for approximately half an hour, I caught movement out of the corner of my eye, as a buck (which I thought was the buck from the morning before) skirted around behind me. I only glanced at his rack, as I frantically looked for a shooting window in front of him. I found one, and drilled him perfectly, as he passed through it, about 30 yards away. However, this is also meant to be a cautionary tale. It was not the buck I believed it to be. It was, in fact a 125" up and comer. My excitement got the better of me. Don't let this happen to you! It was completely my fault. Joel was very understanding... But don't do what I did!
Joel puts on a world class whitetail hunt, at a very reasonable price. The habitat/ farms are unbelievable. I am re booked for 2027.... The soonest I could possibly hope to draw that zone in Iowa, as a non resident. Thanks again for a great hunt Joel, see you in '27!
Mike M from ND