Lucky in Illinois

Editor’s note: This was sent to LSON by friend Glen Commander.

I found a 3880-acre tract of public hunting ground in Northern Illinois, 18 miles south of the Wisconsin border.

The property is predominantly hardwood timber with STEEP ravines. There is some corn, alfalfa, and clover fields along the top of the bluff. The west side of the property borders the Mississippi River; north, south, and east boundaries border crops and scattered timber.

I found the spot I wanted to hang my stand by zooming in on Google Earth — a steep pinch point between two ravines.

The first four days we had heavy rain, then on Sunday the fifth day, the rain let up enough for me to walk in, find a tree where I thought might be the spot I had picked out, hang my stand around noon and leave.

I walked in to a trail intersection that was (according to a sign) 1.2 miles from the truck. After I hung my stand, I counted 853 steps back to the intersection, which would allow me to find my stand in the dark without the use of a flashlight. The sixth day, I made it to my stand about 40 minutes before daylight, got settled in and was waiting on first light to see where I may have shooting lanes. At this time, I didn’t know where the deer might come from or where they would go, but the old roadbed I had my stand on was littered with scrapes and huge rubs!

The wind was blowing strong out of the south (off me to the deer). Minutes before my sight pins lit up enough for me to shoot, I heard a buck in the steep ravine in front of me let out a roaring grunt! I grabbed my bow and noticed I didn’t have enough light to shoot or see branches that may hinder my shooting ability, when a doe came trotting up the hill and stopped to urinate at 25 yards. She took off heading north and the biggest buck I have ever seen in my entire hunting career stopped to smell where the doe had stopped!

I was HANDCUFFED by darkness and couldn’t make myself release an arrow. I sat back down after he left out chasing the doe. About 5 minutes later (I have 3 doe tags in my pocket) I saw a doe coming down the hill from the direction the big buck left out — didn’t shoot her because I thought she might have the big buck with her … wrong … lone doe …missed opportunity!

Another mature doe came by heading the opposite direction … same scenario! Minutes later, I spotted a huge deer coming down the hill toward me from the direction the big buck left out. I grabbed my bow (he was downwind) and the buck stopped in the same spot the doe had urinated.

I looked at him with bino’s (5 1Ž2 year old 8 point) and he wasn’t the buck I had seen earlier, so I decided to pass on him. I felt like an absolute idiot about 1 1/2 hours later when I hadn’t seen another deer. The wind picked up even stronger by 8 a.m. and I heard a stick snap to my right — a mature doe walked out at 10 yards.

I grabbed my bow and was getting ready to put an arrow through her blood pumper when she picked her head up and looked back down the hill where she came from. Curiosity made me stop to see what she was looking at — that’s when I saw the buck in the attached pictures coming up the ridge. I didn’t have my glasses on and thought he was a 10-point with forked 2’s that would score around 140 inches. I decided then I would kill this buck; it was after I got him on the ground and picked his rack up out of the brush when I lost my COOL! If I had of had my glasses on, I might not have been able to make the perfect shot! I was absolutely surprised at the mass this buck carried.

It took me 4 1/2 hours to drag him to the intersection, then walk back to the truck, go to town, buy a wheeled cart and come back to finish getting him out of the woods!!

This is my best buck to date!

The first buck of the morning was at-least 6 years old and most likely would have scored 200+!