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Troy Roberts’ 15-pointer

October 17, 2005

Illinois hunting and fishing

Trophy Tidbits

Scorable Points: 15

Kill Date: Oct. 17, 2005

County: Peoria

Season: Bow

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was published in the Nov. 13, 2005 Peoria Journal Star.

During his off time, when he wasn’t flying troops or supplies over the Iraqi desert, Troy Roberts found comfort in the simple pleasure of pictures from home. Pictures of his children, Rebekkah, Jacob and Anna. Pictures of his wife, Emily. And pictures of whitetail bucks.

Thanks to the wonders of e-mail and digital cameras and to the efforts of friends and family, Roberts kept tabs on his deer-hunting spots even while stationed 8,000 miles from his Elmwood home.

Given the big bucks he saw captured on a trail camera, it’s no surprise Roberts was in the tree stand three days after returning from Iraq.

Then again, even if he’d seen nothing but pictures of does, Roberts, 39, would have headed to the woods. After the chaos of seven tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan since 1994, the solitude of a forest is particularly appealing.

“When you’re over there, you’re never, ever by yourself. Even when you’re in the bathroom, there’s usually somebody else nearby,” Roberts said. “So what deer hunting allows me to do is to decompress.”

Decompress and celebrate, as it turned out on Oct. 17.

Because on his fourth day back in the U.S., still groggy and adjusting his body clock, Roberts bowhunted for the second time and bagged what he called “the buck of a lifetime.”

With darkness approaching, Roberts first spotted the buck 40 yards away. The deer then walked to within 30 yards, despite two loud creaks from Roberts’ stand as the hunter changed position.

Fortunately for Roberts, the buck did not spook. Instead, the deer stopped sideways to offer Roberts a shot he did not miss.

While not blessed with a wide rack, the Peoria County buck’s 15 points (two other points were smaller than 1 inch and do not count as scorable) included G2 antlers that were 9 1/2 inches tall and G3 antlers that measured 8 1/2 inches. All had impressive mass.

Roberts had seen a picture of the buck two weeks before he left Iraq. Though blurry, the e-mailed image of “Corner Bruiser” showed a true trophy, particularly for Roberts, who has killed one other deer in three years of bowhunting.

“My father died when I was young, so I never had an opportunity to hunt,” Roberts said. “That’s part of the reason I picked it up, because I want to pass it on to Jake.”

So far the plan is working. Jacob helped Roberts’ friend, David Vaughan, check trail cameras on a regular basis. Another friend, Cody Black, helped hang stands for Roberts.

State-side support like that means a great deal to Roberts, who has flown special operations with the U.S. Air Force and most recently piloted C-130 transport planes for the Illinois Air National Guard’s 182nd Airlift Wing. Outside the military, he flies private jets for the likes of Tiger Woods, Julia Roberts, Tim Russert and former presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush.

Deer pictures, he said, are just another form of motivation while overseas.

“Anything from home really helps,” he said.

So does the chance to hunt. After spending so much time in the desert, Roberts has greater appreciation for the sights and sounds of an Illinois forest.

“It’s amazing when you live in a world of browns and sand without trees and grass how vivid the colors are and how peaceful nature is,” the Princeville native said. “It’s good for the soul.”

That’s why Roberts plans to get out a few more times with his bow this week and why he will hunt shotgun season Friday through next Sunday. Though no doctor prescribed it, Roberts believes time spent in the stand is cheap therapy.

“The fact is, that’s good medicine. That’s what hunting is,” Roberts said. “That peace and quiet and watching the world wake up and go to sleep is good medicine.”

Illinois hunting and fishing

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Hey Troy, Doug Sutherland here. Thats a nice buck! Great job.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/02 at 04:33 PM

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