Tales from the Timber: First bucks
Years from now, Hunter Elias and Mathew Anderson will be able to look back with pride on last weekend.
Both young hunters shot their first bucks during the Illinois youth firearm hunt. And both had stories to tell after their time in the timber.
Elias, 11, of Streator was in his second year of hunting. But as his father, Mike, noted, “What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time we were battling weather in the 80s and this year we were dealing with freezing weather.”
The latter was obviously preferred based on the final result.
After walking in to an elevated box blind at 5:30 a.m. through a crunchy layer of frost, the Eliases settled in.“Due to a uninvited family of mice that decided to take up residency in our blind, there was a fair amount of scrambling and movement,” Mike Elias said. “Just about that time a doe decided to make a visit. She seen more that she wanted to and decided to exit the same way she came. We later seen two more deer but no shot presented itself. “
So ended the first morning’s hunt. And due to prior commitments, Hunter was unable to hunt Saturday evening. But Sunday he and his father were up again early and this time, rising early paid off. “It was a peaceful morning until Hunter informed me that Mother Nature was calling him. As luck would have it, this buck decided to make an appearance. I convinced Hunter that now was the time to grab his gun,” Mike Elias said. “If you’ve ever heard the term ‘butt naked’ deer hunting, theres a lot of truth to it. Just ask Hunter.”
Even so, young Hunter made the most of his shot to bag an 8-point LaSalle County buck that pleased both he and his father. “Hunter informed me that he wanted jerky and snack sticks with his deer,” Mike Elias said.
Anderson’s hunt ended just as happily. This was the first time deer hunting for the London Mills youngster and he managed to shoot a Fulton County 4-pointer on Saturday, Oct. 10, at 7:45 a.m. The buck was the eighth deer Anderson had seen that morning.
“He was following a doe and a fawn and when he stepped into a small opening just 40 yards away, my Dad bleated and the buck stopped and looked my way,” Anderson said. “One shot from my T/C Encore struck him in the heart and he didn’t go 50 yards! It was THE most excited I have EVER been in my life. It was also the most excited I have ever seen my Dad! My Dad was soooo proud of me that you would have thought that the buck was a LOT bigger than he was. It didn’t matter to us ... he was a trophy!”