Mike Lamb of Noble scores a buck shot by Jared Eichelberger in Champaign County.
One last look at the Classic
BEST OF SHOW
Firearm: 184-2/8 John Graber, Monee, Williamson 2007
Archery: 176-6/8 Clark Piper, Paris, Edgar, 2008
Black Powder: 172-4/8 Michael Wozniak, Brimfield, Peoria, 2008
Firearm: 222-5/8 Gregory Wilson, Litchfield, Montgomery, 2007
Archery: 219-2/8 Scott Fiala, Enfield, White, 2008
Black Powder:222-1/8 Jeremy Cauble, Ramsay Fayette 2009
ARCHERY (2008 season)
154-7/8 Brandon Francis, Newton, Jasper
154-0/8 Jeff Bundren, Creal Springs, Williamson
152-4/8 Michael Howie, Potomac, Vermillion
150-3/8 Gary Edenburn, Potomac, Vermillion
147-6/8 Aaron Dahnke, Washington, Washington
146-0/8 Donald Davis, Oblong, Crawford
160-0/8 Bruce Moore, Pekin, Woodford
159-4/8 David Hiland, Augusta, Schuyler
158-3/8 Ryan Oeck, Marissa, Randolph
176-6/8 Clark Piper, Paris, Edgar
159-4/8 Jeremiah Brown, Olney, Richland
155-6/8 Raymond Holohan, Ashkum, Iroquois
159-4/8 Darrin Warren, Sheldon, Iroquois
158-1/8 Larry Gain, Ashland, Morgan
157-0/8 Jerry Banaszak, Minooka, LaSalle
13+ points Typical
170-3/8 Gehl Higgs, Altamont, Effingham
167-5/8 Brian Habling, Teutopolis, Jasper
164-3/8 Michael Goetten, Manhattan, Will
219-3/8 Scott Fiala, Enfield White
214-6/8 Joel Carpenter, Coal City Grundy
214-4/8 Brock Tarr, Newton Jasper
FIREARMS (2008 season)
159-1/8 Danny Persinger Jr., Flora, Clay
155-2/8 Jimmy Beitz, Colfax, McLean
151-3/8 David Reed, Bluffs, Scott
145-3/8 Joseph Newman, Peoria, Peoria
168-3/8 Bradley Koke, Havana, Mason
166-4/8 Stacey Bochappan, Bluford, Franklin
164-7/8 David West, Waynesboro, DeWitt
158-5/8 Greg Bain, Joliet, Marshall
157-2/8 Bill Frietsch, Dillon, Brown
182-3/8 Kenneth Horner, Watseka, Iroquois
13+ points Typical
167-6/8 Ray Holohan, Ashkum, Iroquois
165-2/8 Corey Schalber, Bartonville, Stark
218-3/8 Ransom Brooks, Olney, Richland
215-2/8 Mike Belshaw, Carthage, Hancock
207-6/8 Jacob Landon, Abingdon, Knox
138-6/8 Matthew Weide, Varna, Marshall, 2008
135-6/8 Matthew Klopp, Delavan, Logan, 2004
135-5/8 Harry Burks, Bloomington, Dewitt, 1996
162-3/8 Larry Bollinger, Mackinaw, Marshall, 2007
151-6/8 Michael Martin Jr., Ottawa, LaSalle, 2007
142-2/8 Todd Williams, Decatur, Macon, 2007
161-0/8 Mike Kuhn, Casey, Clark, 2003
156-6/8 Keith Studnick, Normal, Livingston, 2007
144-6/8 Shawn Meyer, Eureka, Woodford, 2007
158-5/8 Landon Littleton, Oblong, Crawford, 2008
153-3/8 Steven Clark, Gilman, Iroquois, 2005
153-2/8 Eric Scariot, Ottawa, LaSalle, 2007
173-0/8 James Mast, Arthur, Douglas, 2007
171-6/8 Nathan Steelman, Franklin, Morgan, 2007
13+ points Typical
162-5/8 Nicholas Miller Jr., Simpson, Pope, 2004
214-2/8 Scott Lemmon, Tamaroa, Perry, 2007
209-7/8 Leslie Gordon, Pinckneyville, Perry, 2006
201-1/8 Earl Immormino, Saunemin, Grundy, 2005
172-1/8 Daniel Coons, Orion, Mercer, 1994
151-3/8 Harry Burks, Bloomington, Woodford, 2007
149-7/8 Michael Rendak, Chicago, Ogle, 1989
159-0/8 Dan Osborne, Kewanee, Henry, 2007
147-2/8 Jonathan Siliskie, Bloomington, McLean, 2007
140-3/8 Frank Field, Decatur, Montgomery, 2006
184-2/8 John Graber, Monee, Williamson, 2007
179-2/8 Shawn Bell, Sullivan, Moultrie, 1988
175-4/8 Jarrod Secrist, Gilson, Knox, 2007
170-4/8 David Fry, Jerseyville, Jersey, 2002
167-3/8 Scott Hoene, Sigel, Cumberland, 2007
163-6/8 Dean Young, Ridge Farm, Edgar 2004
179-5/8 Josh Brunaugh, Jerseyville, Calhoun, 2007
157-4/8 Richard Saindon, Crest Hill, Will, 2007
149-7/8 William Gaither, Galesburg, McLean, 2007
13+ points Typical
171-3/8 Vesper Martin, Peoria, Peoria, 2007
159-4/8 Roger Prewett, Hopedale, Tazewell, 2000
222-5/8 Gregory Wilson, Litchfield, Montgomery, 2007
207-5/8 Mark Nordstrom, Bloomington, Henry, 2007
187-3/8 Eric Hand, Lewistown, Fulton, 2007
BLACK POWDER (All Years)
154-6/8 Willis Heaton, Bradford, Stark, 2008
142-6/8 Wayne Lingerfelter, Decatur, Macon, 2008
152-7/8 Nicholas Safranck, Mattoon, Lee, 2006
155-0/8 Kirk Vollmer, Mapleton, Knox, 2008
154-6/8 Jeffrey Mitchell, Johnsonville, Wayne, 2001
172-2/8 Paul Kelley, Mulberry Grove, Bond, 2008
156-1/8 Aric Carney, Lawrenceville, Piatt, 2008
13+ points Typical
172-4/8 Michael Wozniak, Brimfield, Peoria, 2008
165-0/8 Margaret Snowden, Putnam, Putnam, 2007
222-1/8 Jeremy Cauble, Ramsey Fayette 2008
216-1/8 Rodney Williams, Newton Jasper 2008
CROSSBOW (All Years)
115-3/8 Richard Casteel, Rantoul, Green, 2007
141-5/8 Martin Bolter, Fairbury, LaSalle, 2006
150-1/8 Mark Etchason, Clinton, Dewitt, 2008
137-4/8 Jack Brown, Virginia, Cass, 2007
13+ points Typical
145-6/8 Richard Bielik, Palos Park, Will, 2008
179-5/8 David Conway, Bath, Mason, 1998
Mark Beck was still shaking his head last weekend.
Twice this fall the Petersburg bowhunter had the biggest buck at the Illinois Deer & Turkey Classic standing 60 yards away. Once the massive non-typical buck was just 20 yards away in a field of standing corn.
But Beck never got a shot at the buck found by quail hunters on property owned by John Grosboll. So instead of being the happy hunter who won a best of show award with the 254 1/8-incher (263 4/8 gross), Beck joined the crowd who saw the Menard County Monster on display in a booth peddling deer urine.
Had the Grosboll buck been hanging instead in the trophy display, it would have quieted some folks fretting about the lack of “monster bucks.” So too would the 250-incher that a hunter opted not to bring to the show in an effort to avoid publicity.
The top-scoring buck from last season was Jeremy Cauble’s 222 1/8-inch Fayette County bruiser—a deer that could set records in some states. And at any other state’s deer show (except Iowa) the collection of racks on display would have been cause for amazement. For that matter so would the seven Journal Star area entries that made the Boone and Crockett Club record book.
Typical Booners from the JS area last year included: bowhunter Travis Admire’s 10-point Knox County buck that scored 172 4/8 inches, Brimfield muzzleloader hunter Michael Wozniak’s 14-point Peoria County 172 4/8 incher and Peoria gun hunter Earl Martin’s 15-point Jubilee College State Park buck that went 171 3/8. The other Booner typical was Gilson gun hunter Jarrod Secrist’s 10-point Knox County buck from 2007 that scored 175 4/8.
Non-typical area entries were Carthage gun hunter Mike Belshaw’s 15-point Carthage County buck that scored 215 2/8, Abingdon gun hunter Jacob Landon’s 16-point Knox County 207 6/8 incher and Kewanee gun hunter Mark Nordstrom’s 16-point Henry County buck that scored 207 5/8.
Even with all those big bucks, trophy entries were down overall. Hunters brought 502 deer to the show compared to 605 last year, 496 in 2007 and 588 in 2006. By my count, 34 racks qualified for the Boone and Crockett record books—the lowest percentage of Booners in five years.
The downturn is not unexpected given that buck harvest was down across Illinois during gun season. But is there more to it than that? Probably.
Notably absent from the trophy ranks were entries from Pike or Adams counties, two of Illinois’ most-publicized hunting hotspots. No question some big bucks from those heavily outfitted counties leave the state in the hands of non-residents who do not attend the Classic.
But outfitters packing clients into the woods has to take a heavy toll on 2- and 3-year-old bucks that do not get a chance to reach monster status. And outfitting is definitely impacting other hunters—like the fellow who shot that 250-incher—who leave their bucks home for fear of attracting unwanted attention.
“Some of our categories were down 20 points and the Best of Show entries were down 10 points for typicals and close to 20 for non-typicals,” noted show organizer Glenn Helgeland, who then posed a question others have asked. “What does that mean?”
Time will tell. The optimist in me says next year’s show will see a boost in trophy bucks thanks to all the heavy-antlered deer that survived this weird hunting season.
The pessimist in me reads the following quote and thinks there’s some truth to this trophy hunter’s words: “We could get the (trophy) deer population back in order by slashing the number of non-resident permits at least in half. But it will never happen. Soon we will have a (trophy) deer population just like the one these non-residents flee to get here.”
Much clearer is the future of the Classic, which drew an estimated 22,050 and enjoyed a 6.7 percent increase in ticket sales despite much-ballyhooed economic woes. That’s bad news for those pining to return to Peoria.
“We’re not going back to Peoria,” Helgeland said. “The cost is out of line and I can’t afford it.”
For those who complained about huge crowds Saturday morning, Helgeland had a suggestion: Show up at a different time. Crowds are much smaller on Friday and in the evenings.
“On Saturday everybody was talking about the incredible crowding. Attendance was only up about 450 from last year. Everybody just came at one. The crowding is only for four hours, from 10:30 to 2:30,” Helgeland said. “We have tried everything in the world to get people to come at other times, but they won’t. If somebody wants to talk to manufacturers and look at new products, Friday is absolutely the time to go.”
Helgeland said 55-60 percent of the attendance at the Classic is on Saturdays. But only 18 percent is on Fridays.
Here’s hoping next year’s show has aisles that are more navigable and a trophy display that once again includes a few corn-fed Illinois monsters.