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Back From IL, Story, pics and videos (Update pg 8)

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Back From IL, Story, pics and videos (Update pg 8)

Old 11-18-2008, 09:08 PM
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Rob/PA Bowyer's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 1998
Location: Hughesville, PA USA
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Default Back From IL, Story, pics and videos (Update pg 8)

I’m not sure where to start other than the beginning. I apologize ahead of time as this will be a long read. I spent 11 days getting to and from IL from Pa and each day is filled with something I’m sure I’ll want to share with ya’ll.

Thursday morning I was on the road bright and early, 6:00 am to be exact. There was no other reason to really start out earlier but had I known what Chicago would bring, I would have considered it. I hit Chicago at the worst possible time plus the fact of not one but two broken down semis had all the traffic either stopped or at an unsteady crawl. It took approx 2 hours to get from one side of Chicago to the other. My plan was to meet up with GregH to swap stories, meet and greet and share dinner. I have to applaud GregH for his patience as I was easily 2 hours behind because of Chicago but low and behold after numerous phone calls and texts I made it. I met Greg at Chillis and I already told him prior to my arrival that dinner was on me. I truly appreciated him waiting.

Greg, thank you sir for a wonderful time at Chilli’s . I had a great time, it was very much a pleasure to finally meet you, shake your hand, listen to your stories, share mine and pick each other’s brains. I hope it won’t be too damn long until we can do it again. It will come as no surprise that at the end of this story when I say, I’m coming back next year.
As it grew late, I could have sat and talked with Greg for hours more. Besides, the food was good, the beer was cold and the stories interesting. I finally had to hit the road so I paid our bill, we talked as we walked out to our trucks and I was off to meet up with Dr. Andy. (Thanks again Greg).

It was approx 45 minutes when I arrived at Dr. Andy’s “cabin”. This was the first time I was meeting Dr. Andy and like everyone I’ve had a pleasure to meet here from HNI/Bowhunting.com, Andy is a class act and super guy. I cannot express how appreciative I am that a total stranger, other than from forums was willing to put me up for a couple days of hunting. I was shortly unpacked and Andy and I had a chance to talk. This is one friendship I’m glad I had a chance to strengthen. Andy’s plan for us was simple for the morn. He had two stands hung at the edge of a pasture where some massive sheds were found this previous spring. Massive is an understatement as we roughed scored the mass as 20 inches per side. WOW. The morning didn’t pan out to Andy’s liking so it wasn’t long until we were back at the house changing to hang a few stands for the afternoon. I did manage to see 3 doe skirt the pasture on the far side.
After a delicious breakfast of Andy’s homemade venison sausage, potatoes and eggs we set out for our afternoon stands. The afternoon sit was much more productive. I couldn’t get over the amount of sign be it trails, scraps or rubs, deer were definitely not only abundant in this area but also frequent. My afternoon sit involved sighting several dandy bucks. I wasn’t in the least disappointed. With no shots fired, we found ourselves back in camp. That evening, plans were simple, Todd Graf, owner of Bowhunting.com was coming over to join us for dinner as well as Jfergus07. Todd was first and after knowing Todd online for nearly 10 years, we were able to shake hands for the first time. Todd, it was my extreme pleasure and it’ll happen again. Jim (Jfergus) rolled in slightly later and we all enjoyed Andy’s Medallion Linguini. The back straps from his previous kill done over pasta with Blue cheese sauce, carrots and mushrooms. I must say, MMMMmmm MMMMmm! That coupled with wine, cold beer and great conversation, well the night went by way too fast. The next morning we were in our previous stands. Plenty of deer movement but no shot opportunities presented themselves. That evening, the wind switched and our stands would not have been right so I pulled mine and Andy pulled his for a different sit. I again saw a shooter, an impressive buck but he wasn’t interested in calls no coming to see what’s what. He walked off as if he had some ladies in mind.

Unfortunately that was the extent of my stay with Dr. Andy. The time passed quickly and I feel I made another lifelong friend. Again Andy, what a generous gesture on your part and one I don’t take lightly. I truly appreciate the kindness and your welcome in my PA lodge at anytime. Jim, also what a pleasure to meet, share dinner and camp for a night. Thank you for taking the time to come meet me.

We said our goodbyes and I was off to meet my PA friends for a week’s hunt in NW IL. I arrived in camp late Saturday evening and got to meet and greet those I hadn’t already known. The plan was for the guide to put out the existing guys and then to put us newbie’s out midmorning. As the guide asked, who Rob is, Kurt pointed me out and in an exciting voice the guide said, I want you here! Okay I said that’s where I will sit and then we all laughed. He then assigned everyone to their posts and sent us all off to get ready to head out.

My sit put me towards the bottom of a draw in a very large Walnut tree and next to the adjacent property which consisted of a pasture. I was asked not to shoot into the pasture. The guide looked at me, looked at my stand and said, oh good, an Ol’man stand, you’ll be okay. He was right; I connected it in the very first hole. I was in the stand by 11:30 Sunday morning. My plan was to sit til dark. The first deer showed at 2:00 pm and to be honest, I can’t recall today what it was but in total, I saw 9 bucks that first sit, two of which I considered shooters, or so I thought. Actually, I would have shot this 10 point I filmed below in a heartbeat had he been on the correct side of the pasture fence. He didn’t cross it. At the bottom of the draw there is a small gate, the path in and out of this pasture was incredible not to mention the incredible rubs and scrapes that encompassed my whole area. There were trees rubbed that are bigger than my waist. The owner put the 10 point I videoed below as a 140 class, I came up with 135.

Video of 10 Point

I saw and filmed several small bucks when a dandy (what turned out to be a 9 pointer) came out across the bean field. None of these bucks thus far had been coming to any calls. The 9 point stood as the scrub bucks sparred so I decided to give him a couple grunts. He stood his ground but when I gave him a couple contact calls, he came running but running in directly down wind. Moments later he blew at me but never ran. Several minutes later I watched him walk, yes walk from the wood lot and up the bean field. Below is the video. Notice how the snort wheeze, the grunts all got his attention but it was the contact call bleat I made with my River Valley Deer Flute that made him come. That was the end of the video as it rained the rest of the week and I didn’t take the camera.


I met tkycaller back at my truck after light to swap stories. That night in camp we learned that Q2INWHITETAILS’ brother shot a big 9 point. They’d wait til morning to track it.

Monday mornings’ plans were to head back to that same Walnut tree where I left my stand and to sit all day, dark to dark. Monday morning (my birthday) came way too quickly. All I heard as an alarm clock was the guide yelling out, “4:15 and 22 degrees!” Tkycaller and I were out and in our trees before first light. I saw several bucks and although I wanted to take another birthday buck in the worst way, it wasn’t meant to be for me this year. I sat dark to dark Monday and despite seeing multiple bucks both morning and evening; I never picked up my bow. I did however move up the hill 35 yards to another tree.
Like Monday morning, Tuesdays’ wakeup call came way, way too early. But alas, Denny (tkycaller) and I were up, along with the rest of the crew including Kurt (Q2INWHITETAILS) and out of the lodge early. Again, the plans were to sit dark to dark. It was just after first light when I spotted my first deer, yup a buck and I continued to see buck movement most of the morning. What happened shortly will define me as a bowhunter for the rest of my life. At 8:30ish I noticed a buck working a scrape just across the bean field from me. After a couple grunts and bleats he was on his way to me. (Oh, I think it necessary to mention that I moved up the hill just a bit to another tree which was closer to where I saw all the deer movement the day before, just above me in the Walnut tree.) The buck that came across ended up being the same 9 point from yesterday that came to the bleats. He came directly in beneath the Walnut stand that I was in Sunday and Monday morn. He came up the hill offering me a 20 yard shot and I could not understand why I was not shooting this buck. He would have been my best ever but I never picked up my bow. The buck then hooked a tree and thrashed it with reckless abandonment. With him came a small scrub buck. I was watching this magnificent animal rub and hook this tree when I noticed the little buck skirt. The 9 stopped hooking the tree and looked that way as well. Just like a scolded dog, the 9 point’s demeanor suddenly changed. He looked like he was sulking. I looked to my right and saw a grey old scared face coming. Being from PA I was trained to look between the ears for antlers when suddenly I noticed antlers way out beyond his ears.

(Explicative) I said and turned to grab my bow. The path this monster was taken would put him right underneath me but no, not for me that can’t happen. The large massive war horse of a buck spotted the 9 and turned down hill. I drew immediately and followed the massive 10 point through the woods not 25 yards away. As I followed the buck with my sights, I could not find an opening so I let down. I was then hoping he’d hook that same tree not 21 yards away but to my dismay, he turned down hill. I drew again and when he hit an opening, I gave him a bleat. He turned facing me and I couldn’t shoot. As he relaxed and turned back again, I settled my pin, relaxed and loosed my arrow. In slow motion I watched a perfect arrow sail just over his back. All hell broke loose as all 3 bucks then high tailed it out of there. I stood in awe, in sorrow, in pain and all but in tears. I hung my bow back up, sat down and stared where this incredible buck once stood. My friends, this was a defining moment for me. This is/was by far the largest, oldest most magnificent buck that I not only have seen, but had the opportunity to loose an arrow at. His high tined racked spanned an easy 24” and carried mass to the tips. His face, old and grey, sunken and scared was amazing. I may never in the rest of my life have an opportunity at such a buck. I may shoot larger animals in my years to come but I know in my heart of hearts that this buck described was my buck of a lifetime. I will never forget him; I have his antlers and face embedded in my mind and soul.
The rest of that day I saw bucks but didn’t pick up my bow. I mostly sat wishing I could rewind time, have that shot just one more time. I know what I did, it was all me, it was all mental. The arrow was perfect, it was just on its path to a target that was farther away than what this buck was. The downhill got me. It won. I was 27 feet up a tree, the buck was well down hill and I gave him too much. It was mental, I knew better and yet I sent an arrow high. I will have him haunt me for years to come.

Back at the truck I relived the story to tkycaller and once back at camp, I relived it for everyone. It happens, we’ve all been there but I never thought I’d be there when it was my buck of a lifetime. I have to shake it off and get back on the horse so to speak that next morning. So once again, after an incredible meal the pillows were calling my name. Two full days, dark to dark was taking his toll and tomorrow will be yet another one. Back at camp we learned that Kurt’s brother found his buck that was shot Sunday evening as well as his brothers friend who shot a 150 plus 10 point at last light and that they will be tracking it in the am.

Wednesday morning like the previous too came quick and tkycaller and I were on the road for our tree stands. Again, several bucks showed in the am and it escaped me to say what they were but I know I saw plenty and I also saw some incredible ones. It was 1:00 in the afternoon; I was still in the upper tree when I noticed a buck working that scrape across the bean field. A couple contact calls later and he turned to come in. (Explicative) what a buck. Here comes a 20some wide 140 class 8 point coming to my calls. He walked across the bean field and entered my woods directly under the Walnut tree I should have been in! Unlike all other deer that visited that area, this buck suddenly thought something was wrong and I came to full draw. The buck stood 35 yards but no shot was available and he backed, turned and walked back the way he came. Another almost!
As darkness fell I started to really count the buck sightings. To this point I easily had seen 30 buck sightings and a mere 3 does. I was defiantly in the right spot. Back at camp we learned they never found that 150 plus 10 point and the night was a somber one with condolences over a hearty meal. My 3rd all day sit, my pillow never felt so good.

Thursday morning found me back in the walnut stand. Oh, I forgot to mention, after that 140 8 point walked off, I got down and moved back into the walnut tree at the bottom of the hill. I watched several bucks jump that gate just like the guide said and although I saw many bucks high on Sunday, they seemed back down low so I moved.

This day, I saw 11 different bucks and it started from morning and ended in the evening as another all day sit. I watched the video 10 point from Sunday breed a doe, I watched a monster 150 class 10 walk across the field across the creek, I watched a massive 8 point walk that same field and I wondered if I could move over there Friday morning. Thursday passed with many, many sightings, my first day light breeding show (deer porn) and some incredible bucks. I have never in 27 seasons spotted as many world class animals as I had in the past 5 days. Incredible!

Friday was our last day, technically. We were hinted we could hunt Saturday morn before we head out if we so wished and of course, that was an option. At first light I spotted a buck moving toward the gate. He was very white and quickly he was behind some brush. I must add that I added some aerosol doe estrous scent to the gate and a trail toward my stand. The buck hit that scent, circled like a dog, thrashed a tree/bush and wanted to jump that gate. Any buck jumping that gate from this tree would offer a 35 yard shot. He finally jumped the gate and I came to full draw but unfortunately he moved through my shooting lane. I honestly put 10 points on this buck and I estimated him as a 125-130 class 2.5 year old. As the buck moved into the second shooting lane I bleated, he stopped and I loosed the arrow at 37 yards.

Now I’ve never in my career seen any bucks so wired. At the sound of the shot, this buck whirled into the arrow. I was aiming at his right side and he whirled into the shot and in slow motion I thought the arrow took him straight on but I couldn’t be sure. He bolted from the field and stopped at the edge o the thicket on the other side of the field. He then walked off, crossed the creek and stopped at the edge of the next bean field. He then wagged his tail and walked 300 yards across that field apparently unscathed!

I sat pondering and glassing. I glassed for my arrow and honestly, it looked clean but as light gathered, I could make out redness on my white Blazers as well as wrap. It was 6:30 am when I shot and it was 11:00 when I got down and checked my arrow. It looked like a meat hit, no vitals. Meanwhile I had noticed some crows at the end of the field toward where my buck went and there were no trees there so I considered that those crows were on my fallen deer. I picked up the arrow and walked across to where the buck stopped, aw yes that is some good looking blood. Blood continued across the creek and to the bean field. That is where I stopped as I could see the blood 50 yards off into the field. I decided to call the guide and he told me to wait til he arrived. I informed him he should drive down the road where the buck headed and I’ll walk the blood trail down to him. About a half hour he showed on the road and I headed down across the field towards him following the blood trail. I motioned him down the road farther when he stopped right where I was headed and got out, walked up to the field/fence edge. He hollered out, what’d he look like? I yelled back, he lays there doesn’t he? He yelled back, what’s he look like? I hollered back, he’s a 125 class 10 point. He yells back, no, how about a 120” 8 point. I smiled as I approached him, because of the crows; I knew he laid down here.

I had received a text that Kurt nailed a 150 class 10 point and after we loaded my buck into his truck we headed to meet Kurt. The guide said he knew where this buck would go, that we should back out and not push him, so we did. I regretfully report, that buck was never found.

I have to admit, although I am a little disappointed in the ground shrinking of my IL buck, he is a quite the memory and I have some mighty fine venison to add to what I’ve already collected this year. It’s been a great year and I’m very happy. I just returned several hours ago from delivering my cape, which I did myself for the first time to my taxidermist and picked out his form. That’s two animals that I get to pick up next year, my Halloween buck and now my IL buck.

I also received my new Bowtech Admiral as well as my new Ross Carnivore. Reviews coming shortly. I also brought home last year’s contest mount.
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Old 11-18-2008, 09:09 PM
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Default RE: Back From IL, Story, pics and videos

Holy ****, does that buck have two sides the same shape and points!!!!

Congrats Rob on a fine buck!!!!
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Old 11-18-2008, 09:17 PM
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Default RE: Back From IL, Story, pics and videos

Oh my god its symmetrical!!!!

Sounds like a great time man!
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Old 11-18-2008, 09:24 PM
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Default RE: Back From IL, Story, pics and videos

Good buck Rob! Congrats!
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Old 11-18-2008, 09:26 PM
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Default RE: Back From IL, Story, pics and videos

Ground shrinkage or not, that is a beautiful buck Rob. Great story and congrats!
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Old 11-18-2008, 09:27 PM
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Default RE: Back From IL, Story, pics and videos

Great deer Rob, I'll have to go through and read it tomorrow when I have more time. Looks like a successful trip though.
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Old 11-18-2008, 09:30 PM
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Great story and holy hell it's got 2 sides Congrat's
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Old 11-18-2008, 09:30 PM
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Congrats on a great buck Rob. Sounds like you were into the action hot & heavy.
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Old 11-18-2008, 09:31 PM
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Default RE: Back From IL, Story, pics and videos

Robo, i have been waiting for this report congrats buddy on your first Midwest buck glad you had a great time, the story was awesome. Thanks for putting it all together. OH, i forgot to tell you to give my bud Dr Andy a wedgie from me congrats Rob!!!!!
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Old 11-18-2008, 09:32 PM
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Holy ****, does that buck have two sides the same shape and points!!!!

Congrats Rob on a fine buck!!!!
+1, I was thinking the same thing!!!
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