Illinois Dream Buck

Zim

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Joined
Dec 4, 2011
Messages
853
Location
LaPorte, IN
After losing virtually my entire deer season to a severe case of Covid last year, I can’t describe how great it was just to be in a tree this fall. I spent the peak rut 2020 quarantined on a cot in my Kodiak 10'x10' tent. Getting out just once to go to the ER for oxygen. It was so awesome just to be outside to watch the leaves change and take in the views. On November 3rd I took a nice 140” Illinois buck with my first Illinois tag. Then on November 16th, after 32 years of bow hunting, my dream buck finally paid me a visit.

That morning I overslept an hour and had to rush just to get to my stand at dawn 6:15 am. That may have actually helped me. Wind was light and variable. I always move around between trees and areas to keep my setup clean. This buck may have been patrolling and scented me had I been there longer. Will never know. Was set up in a telephone pole tree 22’ high with a primary bedding area marsh to my back. Facing a thick briar filled clear cut. With timber, lots of rubs/scrapes beyond that 30 yards. Forty minutes later at 6:55 am this buck walks out of the marsh to my right 30 yards and I freeze. He was downwind but not completely. I had about a 15 degree advantage. My next pacer checkup at Central DuPage the cardio nurse is probably going to ask me what I was doing 11/16/21 at 6:55 am.

The buck stared me down for about 20 seconds, but I did not budge. To my surprise, he then just put his head down and proceeded across the clear cut. When he went behind a shrub, I was able to stay seated and pivot my legs to the right, in position to draw. 8” Tree was too thin to stand up and not shake. Buck walked up a trail I had ranged the evening before at 25 yards. My only chance would be to draw now, before the trail split, because if he took the right trail I would only see his rump. My mode shifted to stone cold and I held the 20 yard pin a bit high, rock steady at release. (My 30 yard pin had bent the day before pulling it through some briars) The pop sound on impact was right, but he bounded off before I could see the arrow. It was not an easy shot. I had to squat down to send arrow under an overhanging branch. And the buck’s bottom 1/3rd of his torso was covered by grass. Despite my confidence, I stayed on stand for 2 1/2 hours, giving him time.

At 9:30 I climbed down and began searching. Found no arrow and zero blood for an hour of searching, so began a grid search. Not ten minutes into it, looked up and saw an image I thought was a mirage. A bow hunter’s dream.

Most folks who looked at him estimate him at 190”. I have no idea because I’ve never shot anything close to this caliber. Will find out in January when I’ll have him measured by P&Y. Was very fortunate to buy the last real Illinois lifetime hunting license back in 2006. Finally paid off when I bailed on the state and moved here to Indiana two years ago. Otherwise I could not have even bought a 2nd archery buck tag this year, much less for only $26. Noticed this buck was blind on the driver’s side. Probably helped to prevent him from seeing me in that toothpick tree. No long armin in the photo.
 

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SD_Prairie_Goat

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Mar 18, 2019
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1,307
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SE SD
Wow, what a buck! Congrats. Many of us would dream of ever getting a shot at a buck of that class
 
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michsteelguy

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Joined
Aug 15, 2014
Messages
207
Location
S.E. Michigan
Congrats on getting that dream buck! Being able to hang a bruiser on the wall is a great accomplishment and having that memory forever is a blessing. Sending u hi-5!
 
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TheGreek

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Joined
Apr 14, 2017
Messages
340
Location
Chicago
Took buck in southern part of state. An overlooked County. I got rack in spare bedroom now and don't even look at it or touch it. It's so foreign to me like it's not real. Out of my league.
I gotta ask, public or private? Hell of a buck either way.
 

Zim

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Joined
Dec 4, 2011
Messages
853
Location
LaPorte, IN
So even though your now a non res you can buy two tags at resident price?
Yup. I actually got the last one like that ILDNR sold in July 2006, for $190. So I get all the same rights & privileges as a resident for life. Includes lotteries too. They changed the LL after that, making it only valid if you lived within the state. I did end up living in St. Charles for 13 years (2006-2019), so didn't need the resident feature until two years ago. Best investment I ever made. Had plenty of bad ones.
 

nick87

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Joined
Dec 12, 2014
Messages
6,281
Location
Northern Illinois
Yup. I actually got the last one like that ILDNR sold in July 2006, for $190. So I get all the same rights & privileges as a resident for life. Includes lotteries too. They changed the LL after that, making it only valid if you lived within the state. I did end up living in St. Charles for 13 years (2006-2019), so didn't need the resident feature until two years ago. Best investment I ever made. Had plenty of bad ones.
Good to know, I received mine as my high school graduation gift in 2005.
 

BradA

Active member
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
322
I have never shot a whitetail but if I do I want it to look like that! Congratulations
 
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