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Bill Brown’s 23-pointer

November 08, 1999

Illinois Outdoors

Trophy Tidbits

Scorable Points: 25

Kill Date: Nov. 8, 1999

County: Fulton

Season: Bow

Another record for Peoria area

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was printed Jan. 26, 2000 in the Peoria Journal Star.

PEKIN—Rack up another state-record whitetail deer for the Peoria area.

After being scored over the weekend, Pekin attorney Bill Brown’s unique Fulton County buck has emerged as the latest chart-topper bagged by a local hunter. The deer’s non-typical rack scored an impressive 251 6/8 inches to easily surpass the old mark—a 245 5/8-inch Vermilion County buck Robert Chestnut killed in 1981. (NOTE: Brown’s buck was later supplanted as state record).

“Right now it stands as a state record,” said Tim Walmsley of Fowler, who scored the buck. “The only thing that could change that is if either (of two national record-keeping groups) don’t agree with how we scored the buck.”

Official acceptance of the scoring should come within a month from the Pope & Young Club but will take up to six months from the Boone & Crockett Club. Walmsley, who consulted with several scorers before rendering a final judgment on the rack, does not anticipate any problems.

(NOTE: Brown never had the deer scored by a Pope & Young Club panel, so it stands at 251 6/8.)

That being the case, Peoria-area hunters will hold state records in three of the four major deer hunting categories. Mel Johnson’s 1965 Peoria County buck still tops the archery typical list and Richard Pauli’s 1983 Peoria County monster leads the firearm non-typical rankings.

A typical deer is one whose antlers are nearly symmetrical. Non-typical deer often have more antler points, but they are irregular in form. Browns 25-pointer was very irregular, as the accompanying photo attests.

“And it’s impossible to really capture this deer in a two-dimensional photograph,” said Brown, who bagged his buck in early November.

In addition to a 30-inch outside spread and a 25-inch inside spread, the basic 11-point frame included a whopping 71 inches of irregular points.

“What makes him even more impressive is the velvet-covered drop tines and the way his main beams droop down,” Walmsley said. “It’s mounted beautifully, too.”

Locie Murphy of Bushnell handled the taxidermy work for Brown, who has hung the mount in the entryway to his home.

“It booted my son’s deer out of the spot,” said Brown, who has been bowhunting since 1991. “And he killed his buck during his first weekend of hunting when he was 12.”

So obviously this is a special deer - though not as special as some rumors purport.

“Down at the bowling alley I’ve even heard I turned down an offer of $1 million for the mount,” laughed Brown, 49, who has not received any serious purchase offers. “I told them to find that buyer and it’s sold.”

In the meantime, you’ll have a chance to see the buck at the Illinois Deer & Turkey Classic March 24-26 at the Peoria Civic Center. North American Whitetail magazine also is planning an upcoming story on Brown’s deer.

Pekin attorney awaits judgment on `deer of a lifetime’

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was printed Nov. 12, 1999 in the Peoria Journal Star.

Forget Novocain.  All it took for Bill Brown to ease the pain of a raging toothache was a single arrow.

That arrow, released from his bow Monday morning, dropped a whitetail Brown appropriately called “the deer of a lifetime.”

The Fulton County buck sported a tangled mass of non-typical antlers that green-scored an impressive 243 7/8, which would rank second all-time among non-typical Illinois bow kills. And according to two scorers for the Boone and Crockett club, there’s still a chance after the mandatory 60-day drying period that the rack could overtake the record—a 245 5/8 buck killed in 1981 by Robert Chestnut.

“It’s a tough deer to score and because of that it will probably be scored by a panel (of Boone and Crockett club officials) in two years. So we scored it pretty conservative,” said Tim Walmsley, who measured the deer. “It is hands down the No. 2 (non-typical bowkill) in Illinois and could even be scored No. 1. And it’s very possible that could be the biggest deer killed with a bow in North America this year. It’s awesome.”

At first glance, the huge drop tines on the 23-point rack make it look like two sets of antlers combined. The basic 10-point main frame features six points on one side and four on the other—along with a whopping 75 inches of abnormal points. Most of those drop tines are still covered in velvet and one forked dandy measures almost 13 inches.

“He looks like he’s got a big cage around his head,” Brown said. “When he turned his head in the woods it looked like a Ferris wheel going around.”

That the 49-year-old Pekin hunter got a shot at the big buck is due in part to his achy tooth.

“If I didn’t have to be in the dentist chair later that morning getting my gums cut up, I’d have been working,” said Brown, an attorney at Peoria’s Goldfine & Bowles firm.

Instead, following an unsuccessful Sunday hunt he ventured back into a tree stand Monday. After a few hours, three does bedded down in some nearby brush.

Moments later, the trio jumped up, looked around and took off—giving Brown fair warning that something was approaching. That something turned out to be a buck unlike Brown—or most of us—have ever seen.

“He couldn’t even get through the trees, he was just banging his antlers on everything,” Brown said. “He had to turn his head and twist it and he was still knocking trees.”

With the buck still out of range, Brown bleated on a doe call and turned the big deer—drawing him to within 20 yards.

“I’ve never really had much success calling deer before, but this time it worked,” said Brown, who has been bowhunting since 1991.

Once it came into range, Brown’s arrow found its mark and the buck ran a short distance before collapsing in a nearby bean field. From there, Brown dragged it out, checked it in and headed for the dentist’s chair.

Ironically, his deer was checked in shortly after another Fulton County monster—a 22-point non-typical buck that scored 206 and was killed by Jack Link of Ellisville.

Even more ironically, the two big bucks were killed during an unseasonable heat wave that has slowed deer activity.

“With this heat the deer haven’t been moving in the morning much at all,” agreed Brown, who may soon be joining the resting whitetails. “I’ve told my buddies I may not hunt anymore this year. I’ll just come around camp, drink some beers and give some advice. “

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