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Brayden & Rob Mazur’s 26-pointer

November 23, 2009

Illinois hunting and fishing

Trophy Tidbits

Scorable Points: 26

Kill Date: Nov. 23, 2009

County: Kankakee

Season: Bow

It’s a lifetime dream for most deer hunters, but for 12-year-old Brayden Mazur, the dream of a 26-point trophy will soon be hanging at his Momence home.

But his big deer didn’t come without plenty of help from his father, Rob. More about that later.

The story starts on opening day of the Illinois firearm deer season.

“Dad, there’s a big buck coming right at us,” Brayden whispered to Rob Mazur late on Nov. 20 after a long day in a tree stand near Momence.

“Brayden had spotted that buck about 400 yards away. It was the biggest deer I’ve ever seen,” said Rob Mazur who knew the big buck has claimed this bit of private land for the past two years.

Mazur and sons, Brayden and 9-year-old Kobey, were in a stand facing west at the edge of a woods. Below them Mazur had set up a 3D deer target hoping to lure a buck into range. The practice is unusual but not illegal according to Illinois Conservation Police Sgt. Mark Simon.

“Brayden and Kobey were so excited that they were shaking the tree stand,” Mazur said. “Guys you’ve gotta take a deep breath and relax,” Rob whispered.

As the buck neared, Mazur prompted Brayden to “take your safety off, if it looks like he’s coming right at us.”

The buck started to turn away but then “he spotted the decoy target and he came right at us,” Mazur said. “He even passed within a few yards of our truck and gave it a look before coming in.”

Brayden took his shot at 70 yards with his 20-gauge shotgun, scoring a neck hit that dropped the buck. “We waited a half-hour and saw no movement before we started moving in,” Mazur said. “He jumped up and ran into the woods.”

Mazur tracked the deer for about an hour before darkness made the search impossible. A long search over the next 72 hours was needed to recover the deer. Here is father Rob Mazur’s account of what took place:

“I decided it would be best for us to back out and wait a few hours or possibly until morning. I spoke with a couple of friends and we all decided it would be best to wait until morning to track the deer, as we were not certain of the shot placement. While tracking the deer the following morning, we began to see fresh blood and once again bumped him. One of my friends actually had the buck cornered in a horse pasture because the buck could not jump the fence. After a quick few seconds, my friend decide it would be in his best interest to let the buck out of the corner. The buck ran down the fence line and out of shooting range.

“My boys and I were very upset about not being able to get the deer and the fact that we might have wounded the animal instead of getting a clean harvest.  We prayed about it for the next couple days.  Asking God to heal the animal or give us guidance as to what we should do.  He did just that, on Monday morning, Nov. 23 (almost 72 hours later) I called a friend and told him that I couldn’t let it finish the way it did and that I felt like I was letting my son down. He understood and agreed to help, we decided to go take one more look. After about two hours of seaching the area where we last saw the big buck, my friend finally spotted him laying in a ditch near the woods where we last saw him. He told me he was still alive!  I stalked the buck from about 60 yards away, got with 10 yards and arrowed him to finish the hunt.”

After that the Mazurs took the rack to measurer Ray Holohan.

“Right now all we have is a green score on the antlers,” Mazur said.

“God has led me to hunt with my boys and allowed us to share a lot of good quality time together,” said Mazur, who has only been hunting for the past five years.

“This was Brayden’s second season deer hunting. Last year he didn’t even see a deer.”

Illinois hunting and fishing

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