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Illinois hunting and fishing

Illinois firearm season success stories

December 01, 2008 at 06:31 AM

More buck stories

Click here to read more big-buck stories from the opening firearm season and from the rest of archery season.



As always, there were plenty of success stories coming out of the first firearm deer season in Illinois. Big bucks. Big does. Tall tales and all other sorts of interesting anecdotes. This is going to serve as our official story for the first gun season and will be updated as more pictures are sent our way.

One of the biggest we’ve seen so far was shot on Friday, Nov. 21 by Ransom Brooks, 19, of Olney. The 23-point non-typical Richland County buck is pictured above. Brooks said the buck green-scored 234 inches.

The only buck we’ve heard about that scored better was the 21-pointer (pictured below) that was shot on opening morning by 15-year-old Jeremy Cauble of Ramsey. His Fayette County buck green-scored 238 inches and was known to locals as “Lucky,” “Ghost,” “High Tower” and “Cauble’s Buck.” Click here to read more about Cauble’s buck.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Another of the largest bucks is this one (pictured below) shot by Donny Krull in Randolph County, apparently on Sunday of the first gun season. The buck pictured below is expected to gross 221 inches and to net 207 inches.

Illinois hunting and fishing

The buck pictured below is a 16-pointer shot by Curtis Postin on opening day in Fulton County. Postin was in the middle of texting a story to his girlfriend, Tara Belcher, when the buck ran into range.

Illinois hunting and fishing

“He put his phone back in his pocket and made the shot,” Belcher said.“He said it was so quick he didn’t even have time to get a good look at the rack. He just wanted to shoot a deer so he could take his 13-year-old brother the following day.”

Illinois hunting and fishing

Fulton County coughed up another big buck to Tizoc Novoa (pictured below) of Creve Coeur. Hunting in Fulton County at 1 p.m. on opening day, Novoa was poised to shoot a large doe when he hesitated. “I had my finger on the trigger, but it was my lucky day. For some reason I looked to my right and I saw something moving in the timber. Then I saw antlers,” Novoa said. “So I waited a little more and he came out. That’s when I started shaking in my tree stand.”

With good reason. The buck that walked out just 25 yards from Novoa’s stand was a massive 18-pointer that weighed an estimated 280 pounds field dressed. The buck green-scored at 210 inches.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Bragging rights in the Thome family go not to major leaguer Jim or his brother Chuck, but rather to brother Randy (pictured below). On Nov. 22 he shot an 183-inch Fulton County 12-pointer that was captured on video by Drury Outdoors.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Another big buck went down in Hancock County, where the following unnamed hunter shot the buck pictured below.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Illinois hunting and fishing

In Bureau County, Jason Peed of Kewanee shot the 11-point buck pictured below on the second day of the first firearm season.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Steve Tucker of O’Fallon shot the 10-point buck pictured below in Jefferson County on Friday, Nov. 21. Wrote Tucker: “I took him with my T/C Omega, from a ground blind at 100 yards. He was all alone; no chase; no fight; nuthin’. Just rubbing his head. Go figure.”

Illinois hunting and fishing

Below is a picture of Janice Nash of Elmwood with her buck, 1 Peoria County 11-pointer she shot Friday morning at about 9:30 a.m. Said Nash, “He came in with a smaller buck and a couple of does. I had to shot through some brush to get him and wasn’t sure I hit him. We found a little hair is all and a couple of spots of blood.  Went into thicket where I last saw him and he was laying not more than 50 yards from where I shot him.”

Illinois hunting and fishing

Max Letterly of Lincoln had a good trip to Scott County. On Saturday he shot the 8-point buck pictured below after a very long session of tracking. Click here to read his account of the hunt in our Illinois Big Buck Stories section.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Nate Herman of Peoria shot the Fulton County buck pictured below Friday morning. Herman, who is not a diehard deer hunter, offered this account of his hunt in his blog, he Diary of a Lake Nerd.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Fulton County was also good to Brad Thompson (pictured below), who shot this buck over the weekend.

Illinois hunting and fishing

In Mason County, Tim Booth shot this nice buck pictured below.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Also in Mason County, Kady Yetter (pictured below) shot her first deer on her 13th birthday. Wrote her dad, Aaron Yetter (the guy who counts ducks for the Illinois Natural History Survey): “She really got the itch to hunt deer after I shot my nice 10-point last year. It was her first morning in the stand with a gun and her first deer. I think she is hooked!”

Illinois hunting and fishing

The Frederick family enjoyed another father-daughter outing during the first weekend. First Grace, 17, shot a 9-point buck on Friday. Then on Saturday, her father Dick Frederick shot a 10-pointer. Both are in the picture below. This follows in the wake of another Frederick family double from a few years back when older sister Betty and Dick Frederick teamed up for two bucks. Writes the father, “Multiple times (even up to a few months ago) Grace has been mistaken for her sister and people have asked her if she was the one in the newspaper a while back, and she has had to say, ‘No I’m not the one, that was my sister.’ Grace was very glad that her sister was able to harvest such a great deer, but she was definitely ready to take her own and no longer be assumed as ‘the one.’  It has been really special to experience these events with my daughters, and I thought you might be interested in our story.  My deer scored 144 without deductions and 140 with, and Grace’s deer scored 133 without deductions and 127 with.”

Illinois hunting and fishing

And while many hunters have said shooting was down in their area or noted that deer movement was limited, some folks fared well. Here’s a picture of bucks taken off private ground near Lake Shelbyville.

Illinois hunting and fishing

While the weather warmed by closing day of the first firearm season, some hunters still found bucks moving. One of those was Tobin Taylor of Peoria who shot the 10-point Tazewell County buck pictured below as the buck was sneaking from chest-high native grass that fills the CRP river bottom along the Mackinaw River.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

good job curtis.
I love that county.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/23 at 02:41 PM

Must be nice.  I spent 25 hrs in the stand Friday and Saturday, didn’t see one deer.  I only heard 7 shots, 4 of them on a neighboring property.  It has been one of the strangest hunting seasons ever.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/23 at 08:17 PM

I agree fultonctyhunter..I can’t imagine numbers not being down. I didn’t see hardley anything all weekend and shooing was not very good either.
Hopefully 2nd season will be better to us.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/24 at 09:14 AM

Yes, very strange 1st hunting season. Friday we saw 40 dear and let them pass, except for a couple nice doe, hoping for a big buck! Saturday and Sunday we saw nothing! Second guessing ourselves now!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/24 at 10:24 AM

Before the firearm season opened I was passing on deer with the bow every night.  After 3 days in a stand without seeing a deer I don’t think I’ll pass on many more.  Let’s all hope for a better second season.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/24 at 11:10 AM

Because of taking my 10 year old in the cold, my son and I hunted from about 8:30 till 2:00 Saturday and Sunday and saw plenty of deer moving midday.  He shot his two deer at 11:00 Sunday (11 point 3 year old and doe).  It was strange, I hunted all day Friday, and saw very few deer in the morning and evening but several midday.  That is why with the cold I waited to take my son later in the morning. Not may shots in my area either, usually it sounds like a war.

I bow hunted the week before shotgun and experience the same pattern of midday activity, except for last tuesday which was full blown chasing all day long, it was by far the best day, then deer movement got worse towards the week-end.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/24 at 11:22 AM

Congratulations to those of you who were successful!  Nice Bucks guys/gals! Reading the comments and also talking to other hunting pals it sounds as if the numbers will be down this year.  I spent 3 full days in several different locations of Greene County and only saw 6 Deer total.  The weather (mostly wind), seemed to keep the deer down.  Not a lot of shooting as in years past.  Congratulations again to everyone that did have some success, and for those of us that didn’t, well there’s second season AND also late season to fill our tags!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/24 at 05:04 PM

I talked to several hunter in my area and sightings and gunshots were way down from everyone I talked to. I suspected this by the number of deer I saw while bow hunting. I was lucky enough to get my deer early Friday morning, but I took a nephew & son-in-law and they didn’t see crap. Friday night a friend and myself who was also lucky enough to harvest a real nice doe Friday morning, were driving around the country side checking out how many hunters were out, and we didn’t see near the hunters parked along the roadsides as normal. I thought Saturday would be alot better for the guys left in our hunting party, but they didn’t see a deer. While driving to St Louis on Sunday to see the Bears play. We only saw 2 or 3 guys wearing orange along I-55 from Peoria to St Louis. Were were all the hunters? Was it to cold for some of them? It has diffently been a STRANGE year all around. I shouldn’t complain my freezer is full, but my sightings were almost cut in half from last year. Oh well second season will be here before you know it. It can’t be any colder than it was here for second season. Can it?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/24 at 05:33 PM

I took my son out for his first gun season and I have to say it was rather disappointing.  We are usually covered up in deer during these 3 days but looks like bow season rolled over into gun season with not too much activity.  He did manage a shot on Sunday morning but that was about it.  Alot of guys around me in Peoria County said the same.  Hopefully it will pick up for the next gun season.
I am real anxious to see my son get his first deer.
Good luck to all you guys and congrats on all those monsters.  By the way was out at Dave Emken’s on Sunday morning with a friend and at 11 o’clock he had only 60 some deer.  That is from October 1st thru Sunday.  That speaks volume to me about this years deer season.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/24 at 10:35 PM

I was out between 0700 and 0900 Sunday, the only time I had, and saw 7 does and 1 six-point buck chasing some of them in Warren County.  Didn’t put one down, but not for lack of deer….maybe i’ll go back to one of those long-range slug guns instead of my revolver….

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/24 at 10:38 PM

I was lucky enough to be tagged out with two bucks in archery so I was doe hunting. I went out at first light, jumped 2 shooter bucks, 8 does, was climbing up my tree and had a doe stand 20 yards by me qhen I was 6 foot up. After shooting her I saw two bucks within the next 15 minutes. My nephew saw 7 bucks from daylight til 1pm and shot a nice 10 with split brows, if not for over 7 inches of broken tine, would have scored 155. My brother saw 22 deer and 9 bucks the first day. Hell I saw 2 nice bucks while hanging my doe. I thought this year was incredible.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/24 at 10:51 PM

Yes! great weekend for hunting, weather perfect, cold, the rut….still didnt see anything. shots were down. i have no idea whats going on but i dont like it! i guess we wait for snow and sit on food plots! this deer season sucks, and very very strange. hope the gov. didnt screw up anyting with our hunting like they always screw up stuff!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/25 at 08:34 AM

Slow year so far. Twice as many hunters in my area this year. Last year past on a bunch of nice bucks waiting for a monster I saw opening day. This year I saw 3 bucks the entire weekend. 1 spike. 1 forked spike. 1 8-point… never came close for a shot. Shot a fat doe Sat night. Time to bust out the muzzleloader!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/25 at 11:59 AM

Has any of you heard of a 2nd rut? If so, when will this occur?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/25 at 04:24 PM

Henry…second rut? When did the first one start? LOL!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/26 at 09:35 AM

FultonCoBuck…Good point!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/26 at 09:54 AM

Yesterday 11/27 was the New Moon following the Beaver or Rutting moon.  This typically kicks off the estrous cycle in many does and being it falls so late in November this year it could bear a late rut or long rut for 2008. 

Has anyone noticed does they’ve taken in the past few days / weeks were abnormally fatty?  Mine was and I have a hunch that this means a long cold winter.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/28 at 02:49 PM

I shot a doe on Oct 4th and 15th that were both extremely fatty. Funny thing was they still had milk.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/28 at 05:40 PM

The moon doesn’t have any influence on the rut.  It is somewhat of a myth.  The main component of the rut is the amount of sunlight that hits a does eye.  As the days become shorter, the rut kicks in. That is why companies that get doe estrus regulate the sunlight in their buildings so they can make the does go into estrus whenever they want to.  People that follow the moon phase to determine when the hunting will get good are the same people that read those stupid “peak feeding time” charts in field and stream magazine.  Usually the 1st rut is around Nov 10th and the 2nd is around Dec 10th as a general rule.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/28 at 06:22 PM

Hey, Lets ask our “NEW” deer task force what they think now! Is our state that over populated? Let’s see what they can conjur up or screw up in our deer herd. I hunt in LaSalle Co. and the deer movement here was just as bad. All the crops were out around us too. I feel the weather was right for deer movement, so why was the harvest totals down approx. 16,000? Things that make you go HMMMMMMM!!!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/28 at 10:06 PM

I thought deer having a good layer of fat had more to do with the overall health of the herd and the fact that they are getting enough to eat to sustain themselves in case of a bad winter rather than meaning its going to automatically be a bad winter. Though I am not sure, I believe does still produce milk for a few months after their fawns are weaned (just like dogs), so it just means the doe you harvested had fawn or fawns last year.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/29 at 06:57 AM

I just had to add this. I have been reading all of your complaining about the rut not taking place. What you fellow hunters don’t seem to realize is that when bucks are with does they push them out in the wide open away from everything. they will not bee in the timber. I have been seeing bucks with does since nov. 4 . this was the first that i saw this year, and i have been seeing it everyday in my area of warren county. Me and my hunting partners didnt see as many big bucks this year but we also didnt see many mature does either but we saw tons and tons of fawns and yearling does and bucks. so for you hunters who say we have not had a rut yet you need to get out and do a little bit of scouting behind the wheel in the day light. because the rut was here and is still here as i saw a buck with a doe in the middle of 320 acres of bean stubble two miles from any timber yesterday. so get out there and hunt. good luck

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/29 at 07:56 AM

To bill…you must either be a state worker and your tired of being bashed or an anti hunter…..Let’s quit killing so many deer????? Please…. Isn’t this what the state wants???? They are the ones saying that our herd is out of control, not us hunters. That is why this “Task Force” was formed. To come up with solutions to get the herd under control. Nobody is blaming any thing on the state, I was merely making a point that I for one don’t believe that the herd is out of control. My point being made was about the total #‘s being down 16,000. I believe that the Task Force is a farce and isn’t needed. Maybe your a member of it, I don’t know. But having a group of people that are not biologists trying to control the herd is a joke….

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/29 at 08:36 AM

i agree 100% with arrowman!! it does make you go hmmmm. our gov. is and always will be screwed up. i have heard and seen pics of cougars around! one attacked a horse where we hunt just last year! and for bill…why you want everyone to shoot little bucks? come down to so. ill and look how much standing corn there is. stop killing so many deer? hahahahah

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/02 at 08:30 AM

Im with arrowman on the “Deer task farce”.  It should be called the Insurance and Farm Bureau task force.  Im not real sure the state has a grasp on the deer herd numbers, how can they with the shoestring staff they have? In the mean time I am still out chasin.  >>>>——————>  Good luck to everyone this Thursday.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/02 at 05:56 PM

Bill, Keep shootin them lil bucks!!! In a few years you will wonder why you never have got one for the wall…

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/04 at 01:59 PM

Ok, so how many of you guys besides me totally bombed out 2nd season?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/09 at 09:30 AM

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