Illinois archery deer action improving
Bowhunting action is finally picking up across Illinois.
In the past few days several archers report spotting two-year-old bucks chasing does. Luckier still are those bowhunters who have been fortunate enough to harvest mature bucks.
Included in the latter group are Amber McKenzie of Lewistown (pictured above) and Scott Knupp of Macomb. Knupp shot a noteworthy 13-pointer last Saturday morning (Oct. 13, 2007) in McDonough County and McKenzie arrowed a Fulton County 12-pointer Tuesday evening (Oct. 16, 2007).
McKenzie, 22, has been bowhunting for the past four years. This is her second deer with a bow. The buck green scored 164 inches according to Lewistown taxidermist Ryan Malott (309-547-2964).
To find his buck, Knupp (pictured above) switched hunting locations. After seeing limited deer action through the first 10 days of the season, Knupp said deer finally started moving afer last week’s cold front. But in one spot all he was seeing were 120-inch bucks.
So he moved to a location where he had spotted some “decent” bucks during previous scouting. The spot was a thick creek bottom that has grown up in hedge, locust and briars. Knupp’s stand is on the edge of the thickest brush, right where it opens up to a hardwood timber. He said the spot is a good bedding area for bucks after they have fed in nearby crop fields.
Here is his description of what happened:
“When it was just starting to get light, a raccoon came down the creek spashing around in the water. I had been watching him for about five minutes when I heard the distinct sound of antlers. Not antlers hiting other antlers, but antlers hitting a tree. It wasn’t like a buck was making a rub, but rather just hitting his rack against a tree. I could tell it certainly was not a small 1 1/2 year old buck, so I knew there was a chance of a decent buck showing up. I thought the buck was about 80 - 100 yards away.
“No more than 15 seconds later, I hear a deer coming up through the thick stuff. All of the sudden there he is at 15 yards. It is just starting to get light, and he is in the thick stuff. I could tell he was a decent buck, but I wanted to make sure he was at least 3 1/2 years old before I shot him. He took a couple more steps then heard the raccoon in the creek and froze. I had a clear look at him head on, so I looked at him through my binos. I could tell he had G4’s, good mass, and good G1’s. Those are the first three things I look for. I made up my mind to take him.”
The buck stared down the coon, then moved into a shooting lane and Knupp’s shot was true. But right after he shot, rain started falling. After waiting 10 minutes he left his stand and failed to find the arrow. After waiting 20 more minutes he came down again and still found no arrow or even any blood. Uh oh?
“I was sure I had drilled him, so I started walking where he had ran off to. I could not find any blood anywhere! I was starting to think maybe I had drilled him in the shoulder. I decided to go look where I knew I saw him stop for a couple seconds.
“As soon as I got to that area, I saw some blood. I looked over and there he was laying in the creek. I had hit him right behind the shoulder. The arrow took out one lung, liver, and exited through the guts. It was still in the buck hanging on by the fletchings. The guts blocked the exit hole so there was no blood to follow.”
Knupp said the buck grossed 165 6/8 inches, field dressed at about 230 pounds and has pushed him past a personal goal: his top six bow kills combined now gross better than 900 inches. With one Illinois buck tag and one Iowa tag still left, he’s now aiming to top 1,000 inches.
Incidentally, Knupp has also started a new business venture this year called Trophy Pins.com. He sells hunting pins for animals harvested in Illinois and other states.
“I hunt quite a bit out of state and I keep all my Illinois pins,” he said. “I always wanted pins for other states and I’ve heard people who come here to hunt say they wish they had pins for their states.”
So this summer he started a business to sell pins. So far, most of his orders have been for out-of-state hunters.