Hunter who works with disabled veterans takes giant buck

Max Mongrello is a 25-year-old southern man working to make his way in the Midwestern whitetail world. The Georgia native makes his living behind a camera filming hunts. His company, Maximum Exposure Productions, has done work for operations like Midwest Whitetail and Operation Impact 22. 

“Operation Impact 22 takes disabled veterans on the hunt of a lifetime. They hunt for three or four days, and get to see what Iowa whitetail hunting is all about. Many of these veterans are struggling mentally, and this experience is a huge pick me up. So not only do we want them to leave with a trophy buck, but also some helpful advice from guys who have been through it. It’s an unbelievably rewarding thing to be a part of,” Mongrello said. 

When he’s not behind the camera, Mongrello spends his time working to punch his tags on trophy bucks. He did just that on November 26 in Iowa County when he arrowed a 13-point giant that scored 170 7/8. 

“I got on this farm last year for the time and had an encounter with him right away. My partner would have shot him, but he was on the wrong side of the fence. We watched him walk by us only 6 yards away,” Moingrello said. 

The buck showed up on camera just once in the summer, then in October he moved back into the area and was there until the end. 

Mongrello said, “Does have transitioned heavily back to food. They’re hammering cut corn and beans. He came out following a group of four or five does. There were 40 does in the field and he pin-pointed one. And a few little bucks were on her too. When he came in range, I made the shot.”

The number of bucks roaming the Midwest has decreased since many firearms seasons have come and gone. For example, Missouri hunters put the hurt on bucks. MDC reported 197,724 deer killed during the November portion of firearms deer season, Nov. 12-22. Of those, 102,633 were antlered bucks, 16,929 were button bucks, and 78,162 were does. 

There are still plenty of opportunities to wrap your tag on a Midwestern giant, but doing so will likely require adjusting your strategy from thinking anything can happen during the rut, to focusing on travel patterns between feeding and bedding locations. 

At this point, the vast majority of does are past estrous. There are a few does coming into it now, especially younger ones. Bucks are still seeking out any last remaining breeding opportunities, but for the most part, it’s time to start focusing on bed to feed patterns.  

If you’re still holding an unfilled buck tag, you and the monster you’re after probably look similar by now. Kind of haggard, worn down, out of breath and ready for the madness to end.. If you’re not wasting time, meaning you’re out there all day, but haven’t filled a tag, then you have to be running on fumes. But don’t give up, bucks are still out there and they’re coming to food sources regularly.

See you down the trail…

Pic:  Max Mongrello with a giant Iowa buck. 

For more Driftwood Outdoors, check out the podcast on or anywhere podcasts are streamed. 

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