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Jeff Campagna’s 16-pointer

November 01, 2009

Illinois hunting and fishing

Trophy Tidbits

Scorable Points: 16

Kill Date: Nov. 1, 2009

County: Warren

Season: Bow

In the picture above, Jeff Campagna (right) of Moline kneels with the trophy buck he arrowed in Warren County. Also pictured are friends Dan Nordstrom (r. to l.) of Orion, Dan Coons of Taylor Ridge and Chuck Fiser of Aledo

Campagna, 55, started bowhunting 10 years ago credits Nordstrom for getting him started.

“A good friend, Dan Nordstrom, said that I should try bow hunting, so I did,’’ Campagna told Bob Groene. “And that took me over. I truly enjoy shooting and hunting with guns; and I do a lot of that, but I much prefer bow hunting.’‘

In the years since, Campagna has worked hard to improve the quality of deer on the property he hunts. For instance, he now passes up shots at 140-inch bucks.

But when this big 16-pointer came into range on Nov. 1, there was no question of whether or not to shoot.

“It was evening and I caught some movement, so I looked closer,’’ he said. “Almost immediately I thought I was looking at the biggest buck I had even seen! He was less than 100 yards away and coming straight toward me!’‘

The buck worked some scrapes and approached Campagna.

“When I went to full draw, I started telling myself that I needed to calm down and focus. I had to remove all other thoughts from my mind — and control my excitement.

“I knew he would keep coming to check the scrapes not far from my stand. My heart was pounding like it was coming out of my chest!

“When he got to about 25 yards I had to stop looking at his antlers — they were the biggest I’d ever seen. He stopped at a scrape, but was facing me, so I couldn’t shoot.

“I had to wait till he walked away. Finally he took three steps, but stopped with his vitals behind a small tree.’‘

That forced Campagna to let his bow down after holding at full draw for nearly three minutes. Then when the buck started to walk, Campagna struggled to draw again.

“I had to reach and lean over a limb to aim and draw, and, while I was trying to do that without making any noise, I saw my hunting life flash in front of me — he might walk away unscathed!’‘

“He was at about twenty yards when I was able to see a good shot opportunity and release the arrow. I saw the hit and he ran off.’‘

The buck he shot weighed about 230 pounds field dressed, had 16 scorable points, a 22-inch spread and green-scored 191 1/2 inches while netting in the low 170s.

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