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Mitch Dohman’s 12-pointer

November 22, 2001

Illinois Outdoors

Trophy Tidbits

Scorable Points: 12

Kill Date: Nov. 22, 2001

County: Livingston

Season: Bow

EDITOR’S NOTE: Here’s a story from Mitch Dohman of Chatsworth.

It was Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 22, 2001, and my father, Gary, and I were headed out to our hunting area. We hunt together on many occasions, but Thanksgiving morning is a tradition for us. I don’t think we have missed that day in the 10 years I have been hunting. Thanksgiving weekend is always bow season in Illinois. Shotgun season is the weekend before. Typically, the rut is running during this time period and I like to hit it hard on my few days off work.

When we arrived at our hunting area after the 15-minute drive, we gathered up our stuff and take off on our quarter-mile walk across the open field. When we got to the woods we said our usual “good lucks” and went our own directions. Our stands are only about 120 yards apart, and we see the same deer on many occasions. My dad actually shot a nice buck a couple of years ago just two minutes after I had pulled back on it. We were in our stand a good 30 minutes before shooting light. With the heavy clouds, it was more like 40 minutes before shooting light.

I hung up my bow and fanny pack and settled in my stand for what I thought was going to be a routine morning. There was a south-southwest wind blowing and my stand faces the east. My back is to a cornfield that is about 10 yards away. After about 20 minutes, a nice little 6- or 8-pointer came in to about 25 yards from the north. I figured he walked right by dad to get to me. It was still a little too dark for a shot, so I didn’t even stand up. I just sat motionless and watched him work his way south and out of sight.

Another 15 minutes passed and a spotted another small buck coming from the north on a trail that would pass my stand at 30 yards. It was light enough that I can get a shot off, so I grabbed my bow and started to stand up. I got about half way up and my stand let out a loud pop—not that loud, but loud enough! the buck stopped and watched to see what made the noise and decided he didn’t like what he didn’t see. I made a few soft grunts to try to relax him, but he headed down the creek bank and to the east until I lost sight of him. I hung my bow while muttering a few choice words and sat back down, making a small adjustment in the way my weight is situated on the stand to avoid another pop. The pop is predictable and I just didn’t think of it before.

A few minutes later I heard something coming my way from the south. It was stepping on about every other stick in the path, so I figured it was the small buck coming back to see who was grunting and why. I just kept studying the area in that direction. About a minute later I spotted what was making the noise—and it sure wasn’t that little buck. This deer was about 50 yards out when I finally saw him. I wasted no time in standing up and grabbing my bow, while thinking that the stand was going to pop and send him running.

I got stood up with no pops and turned and readied myself. At 20 yards he stepped behind a little cover and I pulled my bow back, picked my spot and followed him to the opening. I let out a little grunt and he stopped at 15 yards.

Before I could blink an eye, I sent the arrow in his direction and got a perfect hit. He let out a loud and long grunt as he ran. He ran down the creek bank and back up the other side and then went back to the south. I then watched him collapse and roll down the creek bank not 50 yards from my stand. Then the nerves let loose on me. I started shaking and couldn’t hardly control my excitement. After what seemed like 10 minutes, actually about a minute, I gave Dad a shout on the radio. I told him what happened and he asked if the buck was big. All I could muster up was, “I think so.”

I gathered up my stuff and climbed down and went to make sure that the deer was still lying where he was supposed to be. Sure enough, he was there. I radioed Dad back and told him I had located my buck and that I was running to town for the video camera and digital camera. He said he would wait in his stand to see if anything else came by since there was still plenty of good hunting time that morning. I think I made it across that field in about 2 minutes. I was so pumped.

When I arrived home I had to go and wake up my wife to give her the good news. She said “Good,” and rolled back over to sleep. So I called my buddy, Wayne, to tell him to meet back out where I hunt. We arrived at the same time, and he had his dad with him. He was there for a hunt and actually came back in real early. I jumped in the back of Wayne’s truck and we headed across the field. Dad met up with us at the deer. We were all so pumped, and it was great.

Wayne started inspecting the buck and noticed the tip of the brow tine was broke off and he thought it was fresh. So we went to the top of the creek bank and we found where he had ran into a small tree that stopped him dead in his tracks. And of course, he left the tip of his antler buried in the tree.

This was truly a Thanksgiving that I had something to be thankful for. To make it even better, it was just over 20 years since Dad had shot his biggest buck on Thanksgiving morning also.

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