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Justin Neilson’s “Crab Claw” 8 point

November 23, 2010

Illinois hunting and fishing Illinois hunting and fishing

Trophy Tidbits

Scorable Points: 8

Kill Date: 11-20-10

County: Union

Season: Shotgun

There was one buck that stood out from the rest of the deer on my trail cameras this year, and I nicknamed him “The crab claw buck”. 

He was a big 8 that had lots of mass, with long G2’s and his G3’s forked with his main beams toward the end. I knew he would not score much, but was definitely mature buck that needed to be pulled out of the gene pool on the farm.  I told several friends and family about this deer and how he was the one I was after. Every time I was in the stand during bow season, I had the crab claw buck in the back of my mind, hoping he would come out before dusk.  Mid-week before shotgun season I checked the trail cam once more and I had 3 more pictures of this deer and knew where I was going to sit during shotgun season. 

The fog was thick November 20th and I had seen only one doe that morning out of the stand.  I had yet to see any deer out of this particular stand in the evening, so I moved to the other side of the farm.  Not expecting much that evening, due to the warmer temperatures, I climbed the ladder stand in the middle of a cut bean field in a group of oak trees, tore up with deer sign. I bumped a doe on the way in and grunted a spike buck in about 3:30. 

A respectable 7 pointer came out of a trail near a pond surrounded by a thicket about 4:00 pm.  About 4:30pm I caught some movement around a 100 yards away on the same trail where the 7 pointer came out, and it was a dandy buck: the kind you don’t have to look at through your binoculars from 100 yards to know he’s a shooter.  He came out to the edge of the field and I pulled up my 12-gauge.  I didn’t have a clear shot so I waited for a couple minutes.  The deer then jumped the fence and vanished in honeysuckle. 

I quickly grabbed my grunt call and did a series of grunts.  I had seen a white tail and thought I scared him off by grunting too much.  Discouraged, I searched the honeysuckle for 4 to 5 minutes hoping this deer would appear.  A couple minutes later I caught movement in my shooting lane and sure enough this buck was making a B-line straight for me.  I pulled my gun up and at 30 yards he turned broadside. 

The Hornady SST did its job and dropped the buck where he stood.  It didn’t dawn on me til after I got the buck back to the truck that it was the “crab claw” buck that I had been after.  I didn’t expect to set up over a half of a mile away from my trail cam and get a shot at him.  He had a 20-1/2” spread with 25 to 26 main beams.  Seems like it almost never happens but, it feels great when you get to harvest the deer you’ve had on trail camera all season.

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