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Steve Petrilli’s 12-pointer

November 05, 2009

Illinois hunting and fishing

Trophy Tidbits

Scorable Points: 12

Kill Date: Nov. 5, 2009

County: McLean

Season: Bow

EDITOR’S NOTE: Here in the words of Bloomington bowhunter Steve Petrilli is the story of his hunt for a big McLean County 12-point buck.

November was finally here. After hunting very hard through the rains of October I have been anxiously waiting the the jump start to the deer woods that November brings. I had been hunting both mornings and nights all week up to the morning of Nov. 5.

Nov. 5 was a calm, cold morning with very little wind. I was hunting with my good friend Jeremy Melville that morning and our pre-hunt discussions led me to the decison to hunt in a 12-foot high ladder stand. This ladder stand is in between two food sources with beans to the south and corn to the north. The stand is in a natural funnel for the deer to transition between food sources while having an open line of sight up to 100 yards both north and south of the fields. 

Due to the cold and having a touch of the flu I decided to bring a thermos of coffee with me to the stand to help stay warm. As I was climbing into my stand that morning the thermos of coffee fell out of my pocket onto the stand creating a loud noise that also triggered a near by doe to blow in my direction. I immediately thought to myself well this hunt is ruined due to my own carelessness. 

As I sat down to settle in it was still completely dark. As the sun began to rise ever so slowly in the east I began to see deer moving in the bean field to my south. As the morning progressed I had two young 6-pointers come into the beans eat for awhile and walk right past my stand. At about 6:30 a.m. I decided to hit the grunt call and doe estrus can. Within minutes I had two bucks (one shooter) in the bean field 60 yards away. 

Those bucks continued to walk away from my stand so I did another grunting and estrus call sequence.

Shortly thereafter a doe emerged from the west and walked quickly to the east constantly looking behind her as she eased past my stand. At 7:05 a.m. I observed a large shooter buck emerge from the timber to my west.  I immediately recognized him from a trail cam picture I had of him in September. Although now the velvet was gone and his neck was three times the size. He was wasting no time and began to head right towards my stand.

I slowly stood up grabbed my bow and watched the buck turn north into the funnel my stand overlooked. I drew my bow from behind the tree turned to my right and observed him looking directly up at me.

I found my 20 yard pin in my peep sight aligned it slighly behind the front shoulder and released the arrow. I observed the arrow strike the buck and he took off in a dead sprint into the timber.

I believed my shot hit farther back then planned so I decided to sit for another hour then slip out of the woods and come back later in the day to find him.

I returned to the woods at 4 p.m. the same day and started to track. The blood was good at impact and continued another 30 yards where I located my arrow covered to the fletchings in a dark maroon colored blood. At this point I knew I had liver shot the buck. He had over 9 hours to expire since being hit so I felt confident he was down. 

From the point of arrow recovery I found blood for another 50-60 yards then it stopped. I assembled a group of five hunting buddies and decided to grid search the area the buck was believed to be in. The buck was recovered by 5 p.m. due to the hard work, patience and persistence of all involved. 

I thank my friends Evan Easter, James Ferguson, Dave Ludington and my brother Tom Petrilli for the successful conclusion to this hunt.

The buck was rough scored that night at 147 inches non-typical.

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