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Brad Johnson’s 10-pointer

November 23, 2009

Illinois hunting and fishing

Trophy Tidbits

Scorable Points: 10

Kill Date: Nov. 23, 2009

County: Warren

Season: Bow

EDITOR’S NOTE: Here in the words of Elmwood bowhunter Brad Johnson is the story of his hunt for a 10-point Warren County buck.

I am relatively new to bowhunting. I started to get interested in it a few years ago when a co-worker of mine started telling me his stories and I saw how crazy it made him when deer season started. I didn’t really act on my interest until December 2008 when my brother-in-law put an old, borrowed bow in my hands. I went out several times, but didn’t have much luck.

I shot at and missed a doe one evening and another time I was sitting in a fencerow when a smaller 6-point buck came up behind me, I drew back too fast and the arrow popped off its rest (plus I was shaking from the adrenaline). That buck just stood there. I tried unsuccessfully to get the arrow back up on the rest, but I had to let the bowstring back in and that was when the buck decided to skedaddle. 

Those two experiences were enough to get me hooked. This past summer I purchased my own bow and other hunting essentials and began practicing for this fall. In October, I harvested my first doe. I felt more prepared and “the shakes” were not nearly as bad as last year. 

This past week, I decided to use some vacation time to do some work on the farm where I grew up and that evening I decided it was too nice out not to go try for another deer. There is a tree-lined finger that I planted a small food plot next to this summer (not that it mattered with all of the corn still there) and I decided to try that spot. I had seen a decent buck there a couple of times and he was consistently leaving a scrape close to my stand.

I rattled, waited 30 minutes, grunted, waited some more and was getting restless and decided to stand up and look around. That is when I spotted him. There was a gentle south wind and he was coming up a grass waterway from the west-southwest. He was cruising right along and when he got close to the area where I was sitting he could have followed one of three deer trails, but he kept going in a straight line. 

I drew back and got my sights lined up through an opening in the trees and waited for him to walk into my sights. When he was almost there, I made a sharp noise to make him stop and look. As soon as he did, I released for a 40 yard shot that felt really good. I could tell that the arrow was still in him when he turned around and sprinted around a corner and to the south. I had heard a “pop” sound when the arrow hit which did make me a little nervous about where I may have hit him. 

I decided rather than go looking for him right away that I would go back up to the house, eat supper and give my brother-in-law time to come and help me track and retrieve my buck. When we headed back out to look for him, the blood trail was sparse, which made me worry a little bit more, but it progressively got better and about 150 yards away, we found him.

I had hit him right in the sweet spot and got both lungs. I know he is not a monster like some of the bucks I have seen on the Prairie State Outdoors website, but I am pretty proud of my buck. The taxidermist guessed that his rack would score in the 130’s and complemented me on the nice even and symmetrical points. 

Once I got home and was ready to settle in, I layed in bed playing it over and over in my mind and it seemed so surreal. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience, and I am sure that I am now hooked on bowhunting.

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