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Luke Shofner’s first deer

October 13, 2011

Illinois hunting and fishing

Trophy Tidbits

Scorable Points: 10

Kill Date: Oct. 9, 2011

County: Putnam

Season: Youth firearm

Saturday’s hunt - We (my two boys and I) set up on a grassy pasture in which deer use going from one timber to the other and had a couple of small bucks (a 6 point and a spike) show up but really did not offer any shots before dropping down in the creek. This is Ryan’s third year of hunting and Luke’s first. After the deer were out of site Luke says “I would not have shot it anyway”, talking of the 6 point. I know Ryan, having had taken a couple bucks of this caliber would not but being Luke’s very first time I questioned that if the deer offered a shot, he would have taken it as his first deer.
After the mornings hunt I ventured over to where our two man stand was from the previous year. To my surprise, it was still there. I thought that I removed it and it was in my barn. Thinking back, I left it for Sean and Tonia (Nephew/hunting partner and his wife) to hunt the late season and I cut my season short for my second knee surgery last year. My intentions were to get the stand pulled but apparently did not. Based off of last years activity, I wanted to move the stand closer to the creek and put a new stand on top of the hill so I moved the stand towards the creek about 60-65 yards and left for the morning. I returned that afternoon with a new two man stand to cover the other side of where I moved the stand from that am. Once the new stand was up, we sat on a log about 100 yards away until dark. A spike and a fawn had walked by and we could hear others along the field edge but no shots were fired. We went home and had a small fire planned which made for a good time but a late night. Sunday morning we very sleepily returned to the grassy pasture and pretty much took turns napping through the morning. No deer were seen. We returned home from the morning where another nap took place for me, a late lunch, watched some football and some Nascar and returned to the timbers just before 4pm. Although having the area quite stirred from the stand move and the new stand we decided that I would set with Luke and Tanya (my wife) with Ryan in each of the stands. With the moonlit nights and the warm days my expectations were not too high. After a little over an hour had passed and continually convincing Luke that every hedge apple that fell was not a deer , a different noise caught my attention. I stared in the direction of the noise and see a body of a deer in the brush straight ahead. I point it out to Luke and have him get the gun up just in case. The brushy tree that the deer is behind is so thick that I keep losing site then catch movement and then lose site again. After a few minutes have passed I feel that the deer had moved on and considering the layout there is a good chance that it is heading towards the other stand with Tanya and Ryan. I start typing out a text warning of a deer possibly heading their direction but before I finish I look up to see the deer looking right at us. The thick tree makes it so I cannot see any antlers with out lowering my head but I can see from his face down and can tell by the body size that it is a buck. I whisper to Luke;
Me - “don’t move, the deer is right there looking at us”
Luke - “I see it”
Me - “Can you see what it is?”
Luke - “It’s a buck”
Me - “a big one?”
with the gun already resting on the shooting rest and pointed in the general direction of the deer, he slowly lowers his head to look through the scope and replies with a shaky voice.
Luke - “Yes”
I can visibly see him shaking at this point.
Me - “well take him but remember what I said. Calm down and pick a spot on him to aim”
Luke - “OK”
The gun goes off and the deer drops where it stood. As it falls I see the rack for the first time. Two kicks and all is quiet again. In awe I say “Holy **** Luke, you dropped him and that is an awesome deer!”
He holds his hand out to show how badly he is shaking. I hold mine out to show him that I am quite rattled as well.
A quick call to the wife telling of what had transpired and down we go. As we approached the deer I see that it is the 10 point that we have many trail cam pics of but he looks much larger than he did in the pics.
The Putnam County deer dressed out at 225 pounds and has an unofficial gross score of 144 6/8” with a net of 140 1/8”. Not too bad for a first deer if I do say so myself. He may have a challenge ahead of him if he plans on shooting something bigger though!

Aron Shofner, proud father.

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