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Jack Jansen’s 16-pointer

January 15, 2009

Illinois hunting and fishing

Trophy Tidbits

Scorable Points: 16

Kill Date: Jan. 15, 2009

County: Shelby

Season: Bow

The last day of archery season proved to be a somewhat bittersweet one for Effingham bow hunter Jack Jansen.

Granted, it was certainly much more sweet than bitter, but a bit bittersweet nonetheless.

The sweet came when Jansen bagged the biggest buck of his nearly 30-year hunting career — after almost four years of tracking down his prized trophy.

“I was overwhelmed there for a while after we found him,” Jansen said of the 220-inch gross green scored non-typical he arrowed Jan. 15 on his Shelby County land.

“I just couldn’t believe it happened. Words can’t describe the feelings I had when we found him.”

The bitter came when Jansen realized his long hunt was finally over.

“It just felt awesome, but then again it was kinda sad because I’ve been chasing this deer for four years and was like, ‘Wow, the chase is over,’” Jansen said. “Now I guess it’s time to find a new one.”

Jansen’s journey began in the fall of 2005 when he took trail-cam pictures of the big buck. Not long after, the 42-year old affectionately nicknamed the deer — which has 16 scorable points —  “Forky” because of its forked G-2’s on both sides.

Jansen, who co-owns an amusement company and office coffee service, took more pictures but never saw the buck hunting in 2006.

The next year, Jansen had the deer in his sights at 25 yards only to just miss as his arrow hit a branch. He came closer three days into 2008 when he grazed the buck in the same field, and from the same stand, where the prize was finally taken down.

This past season Jansen had seen the deer four or five times — all after gun season. The last time before the kill came Jan. 13 when he was just out for a drive.

“I saw him standing in my standing beans, close to my tree stand, and that kinda made me sick,” Jansen said.

Wicked winds kept Jansen from hunting Wednesday, Jan. 14. But even single digit temperatures couldn’t keep Jansen from hunting on the final day of the season.

“(I thought) Today’s my best chance, “ Jansen said. “I just had to go and luckily it worked out. It was a little chilly, but I dressed for it.”

At about 2:45 p.m. Jansen stepped into his tree stand. About two hours passed before the deer entered the picture.

“He came in on a string,” Jansen said. “I had other deer in the beans feeding and he just kept coming and kept coming, getting closer. He was the second closest deer. He was (still) a little ways away.”

The hunter ranged the buck at 46 yards.

“I thought, ‘Man that’s pushing it. I know I can make that shot, I practice enough,’” recalled Jansen. “I practice a lot between 40 and 60 (yards), just because I feel it’s better to practice that far out.”

Jansen ranged the buck three different times, just to make sure he was at 46 yards.

“I put my sight pin on 46 and just drew back, took a deep breath and let it go,” he said. “I thought it was a good hit. He ran about 80 yards or so and stopped, like ‘what the heck happened?’ He ran out in the middle of the field and looked over to the right, because that was the closest cover. “

The buck began walking slower and slower as if he was hurt badly and Jansen could see through binoculars that he did catch the deer a little back of the rib cage.

“I sat up there for a little while, then got down and made some phone calls,” the bow hunter said.

Jansen called two friends that came over to help retrieve the buck.

“The last place I saw him, he wasn’t 50 yards from there,” Jansen said of finding the large deer. “That was kind of a thrill to see him laying there. I knew he was big, but I didn’t think he was 200.”

The 220-inch buck surpassed Jansen’s previous best bow hunting best of 161 gross. He has a few 140 to 150-inch deer to his credit, with his largest overall being a 171-incher shot with a muzzleloader.

“It was just unbelievable,” Jansen said of the final chapter to his most recent hunting saga.

Illinois hunting and fishing

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