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Illinois hunting and fishing

Tales from the timber: Adcock buck

September 22, 2009 at 11:14 AM

EDITOR’S NOTE: Bow season is rapidly approaching and we at Prairie State are working hard to post as many deer-hunting stories as possible in the next 10 days. Most will focus on bowhunting. But the tale of this tall-tined typical from the 1993 firearm season also bears repeating.

Jill Adcock wasn’t worried about killing a trophy deer during the 1993 firearm season.

She just wanted a deer. Entering her fourth year of hunting, Adcock just wanted to take her first deer.

Instead of taking any deer she wound up with a 10-point typical Peoria County buck that scored 183 3/8 inches and at the time was the largest ever taken by a woman in North America.

“It was about 7:45. I had just set down my gun to pick up the hand warmer, and there he was,” said Jill. She took her first shot at the buck at 45 yards with a 20-gauge shotgun on the 40-acre of timber she and husband Therry had purchased one year earlier. Interestingly enough, the farm they hunt is just down the road from where Mel Johnson shot his 204 4/8-inch Pope and Young world-record typical in 1965.

Jill was hunting a 12-foot ladder stand that day (Nov. 20, 1993) on the second day of gun season near the center of the property in an area where several trails intersected and there was an excellent crop of acorns.

After Jill’s first shot the buck froze, but showed no sign of being hurt. So she fired twice more. Then she reloaded and pumped three more shells at the deer. The buck ran off and Jill had to wait 30 minutes to see if all her rapid reloading had paid off. That’s when she found the buck mortally wounded near her stand. Apparently her first shot had hit near the base of the buck’s main beam, stunning the animal without knocking the antler loose.

At the time, Adcock’s big Peoria County was the 14th largest taken by any Illinois hunter and was 122nd on Boone and Crockett’s elite list.

For Adcock, the big buck culminated an evolution as a hunter that saw her go from reluctant to passionate.

She first started hunting in 1989 when her brother, Jack Loughridge, moved to Florida. “My husband Therry had always hunted with Jack, and when he
moved it left Therry with no hunting partner,” Jill explained.  “Ihad been hearing so much about it I figured I’d give it a try.”

Showing more courage than most husbands I know, Therry encouraged Jill’s interest.

“I was pretty tickled by it, actually,” Therry said. “It’s really worked out well.”

And while it took her four years to shoot her first buck, Jill said her interest in hunting never faltered.

“I just like being outside in the woods whether it’s hunting or mushrooming or camping,” she said.

Still, it helped her spirits immensely to see a deer in range on the second day of the shotgun season.  “When I saw him I said to myself, `Oh good, he’s got antlers, too,’ ” she recalled.

It didn’t occur to her then that this was a dream deer—the type of buck many hunters will never see in the wild.  Later, embarrassed that one of her shots hit an antler, Jill even questioned whether to have the buck mounted.

A few measurements ended that debate. The symmetrical 10-pointer grossed 195 6/8 inches, had an inside spread of 21 7/8, tines of 13 1/4 and 12 1/2 inches, and even with 5 inches missing from one point, turned heads. The deer, which field-dressed 193 pounds, was aged at 4 1/2 years old.

“I still stare at it every night,” said Therry, who has no wall mounts of his own. “I’m biased, obviously, but to me it’s just about perfect.”

And though she wants to be considered a hunter, not a woman hunter, Jill still looks at this weekend from an obviously female perspective.

“It’s not a day you’re going to care what you look like,” she said of the opening day of firearm season.  “And it’s definitely a
bad hair day. “

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