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Chuck Vaughan’s 12-pointer

November 13, 2009

Illinois hunting and fishing

Trophy Tidbits

Scorable Points: 12

Kill Date: Nov. 13, 2009

County: ???

Season: Bow

EDITOR’S NOTE: Here in the words of Fairbury bowhunter Chuck Vaughan is the story of his hunt for a 12-point buck.

Friday the 13th is not usually a lucky day, but for me Friday, Nov. 13 was the luckiest in my 16 years of bowhunting.

As daylight broke, I knew I was in for an eventful morning. The weather was clear, calm and the temperatures were in the low 40’s.

Soon after daybreak I was startled by turkeys taking flight from their roost out in front of my stand. Forty-five minutes after daybreak I caught movement back in the nature preserve that borders the private property I hunt. Even after just catching a glimpse of an antler shining in the sun, I knew this was a shooter.

I could also tell the buck was on a mission, cruising at a fast pace, head down coming my direction. My heart started to race as I focused on where I anticipated the buck to be headed. Then I started looking for my opportunity. As the buck headed up a well-used trail, I knew he would present me with a shot. What I was afraid of was that the direction the buck was headed, I knew he was going to get downwind of me.

I started wondering if my years of religiously watching my scent control would finally pay off. Fortunately I had placed some scent wicks prior to getting in my stand that would help cover my downwind side.

As the buck got directly downwind he stopped .... put his nose in the air and I could see him licking his nose vigorously.

It all will come down to this. He paused for only a few seconds and continued up the trail. “Here we go” I thought.

I had three openings. The first one he entered I could not get him stopped. He hit the second opening and I let out a little bit louder grunt. He stopped, but was past the opening.

That left me one last chance. As he approached that opening I belted out a much louder grunt and he stopped right in my shooting lane.

As a million things were running through my mind, my instincts took over and I focused on a spot right behind the shoulder.

I knew the yardage ... 35yards. As I touched off the release I watched the Lumenok light up and the arrow bury right behind the shoulder. The buck whirled and ran about 40 yards right out in front of my stand and piled up.

Then and only then did the emotions hit me and hit me they did. In an instant my knees buckled and the uncontollable shaking started. Even then I really had no idea how big this buck truly was. I gathered myself and got me gear together and made my way down the ladder.

As I approached the fallen giant it was only then I realized that this was by far the largest whitetail I have ever shot. He has been nicknamed the “Heart attack buck” because of my reaction when I saw him. The buck was truly a monarch weighing in at 215 pounds field dressed with 15 points (12 scorable), incredible mass and a huge neck.

Who says Friday the 13th is unlucky? 

Illinois hunting and fishing

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