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Illinois hunting and fishing

Michael Brockob of LaGrange shows off the antlers of his 187-inch typical buck killed in McHenry County during archery season. Photos by Chris Young.

Perseverance pays off for hunters entering trophy contest

February 04, 2013 at 12:02 PM

The State Journal-Register

To get a sense of how rare a creature is a Boone & Crockett buck, hang around and talk to hunters outside the measuring room at the Field & Stream Illinois Deer & Turkey Expo.

The Boone & Crockett Club keeps big game records in North America.

When a hunter would have a trophy mounted to the “Board of Honor” on the lower level of the Prairie Capital Convention Center, inevitably a crowd of other deer hunters would gather.

They were full of questions and congratulations.

Rex Rosenberger of Ramsey has been hunting for more than four decades, but until this weekend, never had a deer worthy of entering into a contest.

“This is the first one since I started hunting 45 years ago,” Rosenberger said. “Perseverance wins out.”

Speaking of perseverance, Rosenberger first became aware of the deer in 2010 when its picture showed up on his trail cameras.

It almost took too long to bring down the Fayette County buck.

Rosenberger said he estimated the buck to be 6 ½ years old, making him an elder statesman among Illinois white-tailed bucks.

The non-typical buck scored 212 3/8 and had 20 points.

Illinois hunting and fishing
Rex Rosenberger’s 212 3/8-inch, 20-point non-typical.

Brian Beck’s 14-point typical was his first Boone & Crockett buck in 20 years of deer hunting.

Deer antlers are sorted by typical (or symmetrical) racks and non-typical.

Non-typical deer tend to score higher and have more points.

But veteran deer scorer Tim Walmsley practically gushed about the near-perfect “7x7” typical entered by Beck.

“He was a good deer, but I didn’t know how good,” said Beck of Tower Hill.

Illinois hunting and fishing
Brian Beck of Tower Hill (left) wears a smile as he helps Mike Wilson of the show staff carry his deer to the Board of Honor.

Illinois hunting and fishing

The story of his success sounded simple enough.

“I was watching several deer and then I saw that deer in the field about a week and a half before, so I started hunting him,” he said. “I was lucky enough to get him.”

The 14-pointer netted 188 6/8 inches.

“As far as I know, it is the biggest (typical) deer in the state this year,” Beck said of his Shelby County buck.

Typical deer must score at least 160 inches to qualify for Boone & Crockett recognition. Non-typical deer must score 185.

If Beck’s was the biggest, Michael Brockob of LaGrange shot the next biggest typical hunting in McHenry County.

“You can literally see the Wisconsin border from where we hunt,” he said.

Brockob’s 10-pointer scored 187.

“It was the Nov. 4, at 7 a.m. on a really bright sunny day,” Brockob said. “The wind was coming out of the north.

“The buck came walking up the hill grunting all the way,” he said. “It was one of the first times I really heard a buck grunting.”

The buck circled the tree where Brockob was stationed in his tree stand.

He knew he had to act fast.

“I was already at full draw,” Brockob said. “He stopped downwind from me so I knew I only had a second.”

Glenn Helgeland, executive director of the Deer & Turkey Expo, said about 250 trophy deer mounts were entered in the show this year.

That’s about 50 down from last year, but part of the reason may be due to the early show dates this year.

To be officially scored, deer antlers must dry at least 60 days.

That means bucks taken in the latter half of the 2012 – 2013 season will have to wait until next year.

In 2014, the Expo returns to Springfield but will be held in late February.

An estimated 12,000 people attended the show Feb. 1-3, its first appearance in Springfield since the late 1990s.

Chris Young can be reached at (217) 788-1528.

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