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Brook Stanbary’s 21-pointer

November 16, 2007

Illinois Outdoors

Trophy Tidbits

Scorable Points: 21

Kill Date: Nov. 16, 2007

County: Putnam

Season: Shotgun

Brook Stanbary is making the most of his last hunting season in Putnam County.

Sometime in January of 2007 he and his family will be moving to Australia, courtesy of his wife Mary’s transfer through Caterpillar Inc.

But in advance of his trip, Stanbary has been hunting plenty. And all that time in the timber paid off on Nov. 16, 2007 when Stanbary shot this 21-pointer at about 4 p.m. in northwest Putnam County. He was hunting with a 20-gauge shotgun and shot the buck at roughly 35 yards.

During one passing glance to his right, Stanbary spotted a huge buck just 35 yards away. “He had come up over a ridge and was staring at me. I had the gun at the base of the stand and I knew it was now or never,” Stanbary said. “Big deer like that can be gone in a split second.”

So Stanbary reached for his 20-gauge shotgun, shot once and then hoped for the best. The buck ran just 75 yards before crashing down. “You look back at a situation like that and play it back and if I had been two seconds later looking that way he’d probably have been gone and I’d never have known he was there,” Stanbary said.

“My father-in-law (Jim Real) spotted this buck in the morning but was unable to get a shot. In the afternoon, I had the opportunity to hunt a stand near that location. The buck was kind of a ghost. I just looked up and he was standing broadside at 35 yards looking up at me. Thankfully the wind was to my advantage and it gave me time to make the shot. I made a good shot and the buck didn’t go far.”

Luke Steen of Wolf Hollow Archery in Rome green-scored the buck at 223 2/8 inches (gross) and 216 5/8 (net).

Stanbary said he had found sheds from the buck two years ago while mushroom hunting.

Ironically, Stanbary was hunting the same stand from which his father-in-law had shot a nice 11-pointer that same morning.

“The area is hunted hard, but the deer have a lot of refuge in Lake Thunderbird,” Stanbary said. “And my father-in-law really manages for deer. He’s put in a lot of food plots.”

The same 300-acre farm produced a big 17-pointer two years ago and Stanbary has had 10- and 11-pointers mounted from the last two gun seasons. But this year’s buck was bigger by far than all those.

“You look back at a situation like that and play it back and if I had been two seconds later he’d probably have been gone and I’d have never known he was there,” Stanbary said. “You’d like to say it’s your skill and hunting instincts, but it was plan blind luck. He made a mistake and I was there to cash in on it.”

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