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Nathan Heynen’s 12-pointer

November 07, 2009

Illinois hunting and fishing

Trophy Tidbits

Scorable Points: 12

Kill Date: Nov. 7, 2009

County: Peoria

Season: Bow

EDITOR’S NOTE: Here in the words of Morton bowhunter Nathan Heynen is the story of his hunt for a 12-point Peoria County buck.

It was Saturday, Nov. 7 and we just had a windy warm front come through. It reached an unheard of 75 degrees and morale was down to say the least among hunters. But my friends and I knew that, hey, this is November in Illinois, bucks are on their feet. So around 1 p.m. we made our way to our stands. 

We have a real long walk (as most hunters do) and around the corner where the corn yielded to cut beans, I saw the farmer was out there spraying. This forced me to change my original plan of hunting a bordering food plot to going into the woods down the hill about 75 yards where we had another stand. (All the while carrying my pack, bow, and decoy.) 

And before I go any further, I just want to send a shout-out to the farmer, a little thank you for kicking me off my originally planned spot. At first I was a little upset with him but he totally redeemed himself by allowing me the opportunity to take a buck of a lifetime. 

Once in my spot I sat quiet and still for the first couple hours staring at my decoy wondering if that was the right place to put him since I didn’t have much time to plan this particular spot out. I just stuck with the set up and at 3:45 I started my calling sequence which at this time of year consists of a couple doe bleats ( I use “the can”) followed by tending buck grunts and growls and finally I hit my heavy horns. All for nothing.

About 40 minutes later I did it all over again and this time ... CRASH! Down the path that I guessed a big boy would come from, stopping two times to make a scrape and totally trash some overhanging trees. Then at about 60 yards he spotted the decoy which immediately brought him in on a mad trot. I knew right away that he was a shooter because of how shockingly wide he was. I stopped him at 20 yards with a quiet “muurr” and put my best shot ever on him. He didn’t go 30 yards. 

In the following couple minutes as I looked down at my best deer ever, trying to figure out what exactly just happened, I heard something. Down the same path and not 5 minutes later, here came an even bigger buck. My deer field-dressed at 235 which is massive but there was no doubt that this guy was even bigger.  He was as tall as mine is wide and a lot more mass on the antlers as well. He came right to me just like the first one and believe it or not I was upset with myself for shooting the one I did. 

In retrospect, there is no way I would ever pass on the deer I shot. But you can imagine my mixed feelings. Everything was just happening so fast! 

The bigger buck was more wary and slowly eased in as if he just knew something was wrong. Then the deer I shot gave a couple last thrashes on the ground and spooked him out. 

When all was said and done, I couldn’t be any more proud of my deer. It’s a testament to all the hard work we put in with all the food plots and various other prep work. What makes it even sweeter is the fact that we had a few trail cam photos of him. I just couldn’t remember and put it all together in the few moments of my harvest. Oh, and the fact that another bruiser is still hanging around!  Well hey, I can talk about this for hours so let me call it quits here. 

Thanks for letting me share my experience and good luck to you as well.Illinois hunting and fishing

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