Illinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
RulesIllinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
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Marc Anthony of Goodfield owns and operates Look Alive Taxidermy and Non Typical Hunter magazine. Anthony grew up in central Illinois and spent eight years as a commercial pilot before giving that up to spend more time with his wife Jan and three children, Victoria, Drake and Elesa. Anthony hunted on and off as a child but started seriously at age 30 and focuses on bowhunting for deer and turkeys. He's arrowed four bucks that meet the Boone and Crockett Club (net) standards and 20 Pope and Young Club qualifiers. Anthony is on the Pro Staff for Muzzy broadheads, Bear Archery, Vital Gear, Natural Predator, Non Typical Hunter and several other companies. He also is a member of the Outdoor writers Association of America, OWAA.

 

Non-typical Hunter

A Web log by Marc Anthony

Back to West Central IL.

May 19, 2010 at 08:53 AM

Back in 1990, I found myself hunting west central Illinois. In those days, a person could knock on a door and easily get permission to hunt. That’s what I did! In return, I would buy a smoked ham glazed with all sorts of goodies and give it to the farmer at the end of the season to show my appreciation. It was a gesture that kept good tidings between us. I did that for several years until I heard several farmers say “Oh, that’s just junk, scrub ground, you can do whatever you want with it”. I thought to myself; “Junk”? Really? So I talked to a few more farmers and they said they would sell that ground to me for $400.00 an acre. Of course, those days are long gone and one thing for certain, they know it’s not junk now!

My last west central Illinois hunt was about 9 years ago. I always thought if I knew what I know now, I could have really done well over there. Although I got a few nice bucks there, I really didn’t know what I was doing, enough to be consistent anyway. As fate would have it, I’m going to find my way back there this fall. I picked up a farm over there and I’m anxious to start the scouting process. Sometimes we get complacent by hunting the same grounds over and over again, so I’m looking forward to getting to know the place and figuring out where the big boys are hiding, if there are any. There is no guarantee for monster deer in west central Illinois, unlike what the out-of-staters think. If anything, it very well may be more difficult because of the added pressure. One thing for sure, you can bet I’ll hammer every doe I can if I deem it necessary! Some people may not understand this but where I’ve been hunting, does are extremely rare. I love to hunt does for several reasons. First, they offer the opportunity for the hunter to keep their shooting skills polished. Second, it provides a means to keep the herd in check, which thus offers a better buck hunt and third, it allows us, as hunters, to do our part in managing Illinois’ deer herd. One thing for sure, it definitely won’t go to waste in my home! I’ll even be happy to donate it to some of the shelters.

What I like the best about this set-up is the fact that I get to start fresh again. I get to explore and examine, make mistakes and discoveries, reenact several possible scenarios and so forth. Now that’s a real hunt in my book! It’s for those reasons why I enjoy going out-of-state each year as it forces me to hunt! The only negative aspect of leaving the state is the fact that I don’t have the time for a thorough scout. Most of it has to be done over the internet, which works good but it just doesn’t give me the data I need from the soil itself. So hit or miss, it’s western, Illinois for me.

One thing for sure, I’m not giving up on my little 2 acre honey holes over here or the larger tracts I’ve been hunting, I’m just going to be selective. I know where some real bruisers are living over here in central Illinois but I think they may have the possibility of becoming booners, so I’m not going to go after them this year. If someone else gets to them before I do, more power to them, I wish them well!

To all of those who are getting pumped for the next season, you really need to know that now is the time to get out and make your discoveries! Have no surprises come fall. Know where they live, expect what they’ll do and then just lay back about a month before opening day. From that point, catch them off guard and beat them at their own game!

Oh boy! I can’t wait!

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