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Illinois hunting and fishing

Tales from the Timber: Head shot

November 17, 2009 at 04:58 AM

For four years, Joe Graber had known a monster lurked in the woods he hunted.

“I’ve been seeing him chasing does the past couple years and he’s just got bigger and bigger and bigger,” Graber said.

But the big buck didn’t get bigger and bigger by accident. He didn’t get bigger and bigger by running in front of hunters with bows or guns.

And he almost ran right past Graber on Oct. 26, when the Edwardsville bowhunter drew back to shoot at the big 25-point Madison County monster.

Graber had set up near a spot where he knew the buck would typically work. “I knew during the rut he always comes through this little ravine and area where the does are. It’s just like a funnel,” Graber said. “He’s always chasing does through there come the rut.

“So that was the first time I hunted in his spot this year because I didn’t want to take any chances of wearing it out or anything.”

Graber showed up at 2 p.m. carrying a climber stand. He set up near a creek with a good doe trail right underneath his stand. He also set up in the rain and it never stopped raining that evening.

“It was one of those days it was 65 degrees so I wore a light jacket that wasn’t waterfproof. About 5:30 p.m. came and it started to get get chilly and I kept saying 15 more minutes, 15 more minutes,” Graber said. “Then about 5:45 p.m. he came out of the creek where I didn’t expect him to come out.”

The buck was 40 yards away and then turned broadside—walking out at the exact spot where Graber had walked to his stand. “I knew he was on me, so as soon as a I saw him I reached down to pick up my bow,” Graber said. The bow did not come easily, though, and by the time Graber drew back his shot was not so easy.

“All of the sudden I couldn’t pick him up through my sights,” he said. “I could just barely see his body and antlers so I said, ‘I might as well take a shot.’ I was aiming pretty much in the middle of his body.”

But Graber’s shot was deflected, as the arrow hit a tree or limb.

Instead of hitting the middle of the buck’s body, the arrow hit the buck dead center in the ear.

“He dropped and I guess it pretty much paralyzed him somewhat, though his legs were still kicking,” Graber said. “He flipped over and did some snowplowing and then went off a 20-foot cliff into the water and drowned.

“You couldn’t place an arrow any better. It went right in his ear and the broadhead actually broke off. It’s just unbelievable.”

Graber remains stunned by his good fortune.

“I can shoot 40 yards pretty consistently to keep in a 3-4 inch circle. I do a lot of practicing,” he said. “I don’t know what happened or how it happened. It was luck. It was one of those things of being in the right place at the right time.”

Ironically, Graber didn’t know how big the buck proved to be. “He never looked as big as he was. You couldn’t see all the stickers,” said Graber, who has been bowhunting for most of his 35 years. “It looked like a decent 10-12 pointer, but I had no idea he had 25 points.”

Illinois hunting and fishing

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

Actualy if you look at the tables in the book you need to add one hour from August 1st to October 31st. So shooting hours actualy ended 6:37, he was well within legal shooting hours. Grats on a nice and legaly taken buck.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/17 at 07:02 AM

wow you people are praising him on this hunt. what kind of ethical hunter just wings an arrow at a deer not knowing where it will hit, no matter how big it is . sounds pretty desperate

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/17 at 11:58 AM

Oh my gosh, its a big buck, better wing an arrow even though I can’t see my sights. Stories like that make me sick.  He woudn’t do that to a doe would he, but since its a big buck, its ok. mad  Horrible excuse to take such an unethical shot.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/17 at 12:10 PM

Beautiful deer, but unless he was quoted wrong why would a responsible hunter admit openly to taking such a risky shot on any deer. Doe or Buck.

“All of the sudden I couldn’t pick him up through my sights,” he said. “I could just barely see his body and antlers so I said, ‘I might as well take a shot.’ I was aiming pretty much in the middle of his body

Who aims for the middle of an animal to begin with. We as hunters have to be more careful on what we do and say.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/17 at 01:40 PM

The quote that strikes me is “You couldn’t place an arrow any better. It went right in his ear . . . ”  Not a spot better to place an arrow???  How about the lungs and/or the heart!  If this guy can’t think of a “better” place to put an arrow, then he needs to put the bow down. 
If he had hit what he was aiming for in the first place (middle of the deers body), he would still be out looking for that gut-shot deer . . .

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/17 at 04:30 PM

Why did PSO publish this garbage?

Posted by illin on 11/17 at 04:52 PM

I agree. Nice deer and all, but you do not aim for the middle of the deer, any deer.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/17 at 04:58 PM

nice deer but this is the stuff that give the antis leverage!!!! they will pick this story apart just like all of the ppl already have…...and if he had this buck patterned so weel why not wait for another day???

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/17 at 05:19 PM

This guys story is a very good example of what NOT to do, when bowhunting.
40 yards is a VERY long shot in the first place, then to take such a shot when he could not see the deers vitals clearly. ????
I also love how people like to blame a misplaced arrow, on a “tree OR a limb”. It is never that they missed, took a bad shot, were shaking really bad, just screwed up the shoot, ect….
I sure hope this article is the only article about this deer. These kind of articles only makes bowhunters look like they don’t have very good ethics or judgement. 8^(

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/17 at 06:20 PM

and you guys make bowhunters look worse with your contstant griping… one of these years you guys will make a positive post about something but i have yet to see it

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/17 at 07:10 PM

Bow hunting is very demanding and punishes mistakes and shortcuts.  Like Dirty Harry said, ‘Every man has to know his limitations.’  Something like that.  This example and another PSO article where the archer shot through a deer stand rings the bell on unethical shots.  On top of that, if he gut shot it, the rain would wash any chance of trailing it and the warmth would spoiled the meat if he recovered it at all.  At least he got the rack he obviously prized more than the back straps.

I once passed a wide open 40 yard shot at a nice ten as I didn’t feel adequate to take the shot.  40 yards at a broad side slow walking deer.  How many would take that shot?  This isn’t gripes.  Its the basic ethos of the responsible archer.  You don’t take head shots and you don’t shoot through obstructions.  I guess I should post a picture of that deer I let walk.  Would that qualify as a positive post?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/17 at 07:53 PM

johnh
Tell us something positive about this story that people can take away form someone taking long distance pot shots at a deer that he admittedly could not see well ???????
That shot should have NEVER been taken & we all should know that.
There is a good reason why a lot of knowledgeable bowhunters are hounding this bowhunter for taking that kind of a shot, at any deer.
Just because a big buck has a big rack, does NOT mean that a bowhunters can just launching arrows in it’s direction, no matter if he can see the deer, no matter the distance, no matter if limbs are in the path.
This guys actions & this article, are bad for bowhunters & bowhunting.
Most of these comments show that most bowhunters do NOT hunt like this, do not support such hunting & do not want to read articles about guys taking unethical shots, at any deer.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/17 at 08:29 PM

A 40 yard shot is not a big deal to a seasoned bow hunter in fact I have taken a deer at 40 yards but she was standing still and was in a wide open shooting lane.  I agree this story should of never been printed on this website what kind of fool takes a shot at the center mass of a barely visiable target in what sounds like thick brush.  I wish that the local Conservation officer could arrest this guy for being an unethical and just plain stupid hunter, it takes one dumb unethical shot like this to set us back greatly with the antis.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/18 at 03:53 AM

Thats going a little farm emt_ff- you can’t be arrested for being stupid.  If that was the case, half the people in America would be behind bars.

But yes, this story should have never been published.  The only reason it is, because of the giant rack.  Another case of horn porn and the need for an inadequate person to pound thier chest about their accomplishments.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/18 at 08:26 AM

Ya this story tops all.  I guess I error on the conservative side and very rarely hunt till 30 minutes past sundown.  Why, this mere story. We owe it to the game we chase and if this was a very unethical shot.  200+ incher or not a arrow isn’t gettin released. I will admit as a bow hunter that I have made poor shots before but this takes the cake.  Shoot blind guys if u want a 200 incher.  Sorry guys this is about as sporting as the pregnant girl shootin the deer out of the house.  Whats next, shootin fish in a barrel with a 12 gauge.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/18 at 06:00 PM

i dont see what the big deal is… most hunters dont even know when they are being idiots until they shoot someone. ALOT of monsters are killed like this.  I think i had the 200 inch typical im hunting at 15 yards the other day at 545 the other morning… at 6 he was seen 200 yards away on the other side of the field but i didnt want a story about me hunting seeing a monster in september… getting him on video… seeing him 8 times out of stand in october having him inside 60 to end with me taking a blind shot in the dark at him.  THE DEER DESERVES FOR ME TO PLAY FAIR.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/18 at 10:21 PM

i agree with most of u but so much happens so fast u never take a bad shot? how many years huntin? how did u learn if u never make a bad shot have u ever lost a deer u made a bad shot on? until that day most will take a bad shot an until they lose a deer like this one it wont change. he could be on here next year or for gun deer who knows dont blame pso they couldve embelished his story but they didnt an he didnt so the guys honest an in that moment who knows what anyone will do ....

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/18 at 10:29 PM

my whole thing even if it was a bad shot is no matter what people on here complain bout everything. whether its the size of what they think the herd is, land(which instead of complaining people should go work and buy there own) or any rule or regulation passed by dnr its constant moaning.. if the articles and things are so bad on this site why frequent it?
and ilbowhunter as for fair play on a deer, how fair is when thousands are ran into every year and hundreds of people die from it cause you guys want to protect an oversized herd or are worried bout every deer being hunted perfect. this shot is comparable to walleye fishing and snagging one by the nose , i bet 90 percent of you keep it with no thought but whine bout every half butt shot on a dear. the dear was probably near the end of its life anyhow and would have died in next few years, least dude got some meat, a nice rack and a story out of it instead of the deer going through my windowshield on my way to work or something

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/18 at 10:42 PM

i challenge any of you on here to even remotely state that you have never taken a bad shot in your life hunting..and anyone who does is an outright liar

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/18 at 10:45 PM

Every year I (as well as most others on this thread) encounter dead bucks in the woods that have a 1 inch diameter hole passing through their abdomens. Presumable cause of death being a poorly placed shot by a hunter (gutshot). And these discoveries are sometimes weeks after the deer has died. It’s a waste and a shame. Sure we all make mistakes and no one is 100% perfect. Graber’s buck is very impressive. I congratulate him. But I know my limits and I wouldn’t take a 40 yd shot at a shadow of a buck.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/19 at 07:04 AM

i wouldnt say all are poorly placed shots it could just as easily have been a novice who aimed at right spot and missed or a deer that moved soon as arrow was released.. whats a waste is the thousands of carcasses on side of the road due to overpopulation in some areas.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/19 at 07:52 AM

clint- any leases available near you?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/19 at 10:11 AM

There three types of bad shots that I can think of.
One of execution, one of equipment, and one of decision.

One of execution could be the weather(wind), a deer moved or the hunter flinched or was overcome by nerves.

One of equipment.  This is really knowing your equipment and its limits and should fall into the decision category.  But let’s not debate the need for practice and skill with your equipment.  This should not need discussion. 

The worst is one of decision.  Taking a risky shot that you know is wrong.  Brush or a tree stand in your way.  Poor deer angle.  Unknown distance or shooting too far.  A moving or alarmed target at distance.  Too dark.

So which kind of bad shots have you taken lately?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/19 at 12:33 PM

hey Johnh, thanks for the complement.  I take pride in being a ethical hunter but if you want to go wing arrows and say a prayer then go right ahead.  first off, I have a hard time responding to someone whom can’t spell deer correctly, another reason to think your a PETA lover.  I am positive that I have made questionable shots on deer, example would be when you have one on high alert, alot can happen in that short arrow flight time but I have NEVER just shot an arrow at a animal in the dark due to its trophy potential.  What if that arrow hadn’t found its mark and he hit guts?  Take off your tunnel vision goggles and look at the big picture instead of your small world.  As for the garbage comment, I have a wife whom loves to hunt too and as a hunter she would never consider shooting a deer out of the house which on a daily basis she could. 3 kids later I have seen her waddle to and from the woods may it be turkeys or deer. Id rather see a story about a person whom is handicapped for life and whom struggles daily to get up and out to his deer stand not someone who shoots a deer out of the house.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/19 at 01:05 PM

Geeshhhhh…....And have any of you fellas that think you fall into the catagory of perfect ever got excited while hunting whitetails and made a poor judgement call? Sure you have at sometime or another, say you havent and you are lying to yourself!....I agree that publishing an article that sounds as if poor judgement was exercised is’nt really the thing to do…BUT neither is slamming people everytime they make a mistake because you think you wear this little halo over your head and you are Mr perfect…Most of us would prefer not to hear either ( the poor story , or the Slams )....Oh and I might mention , its always the same few that want to stir the pot and slam others in these posts when something doesnt set well or seem right with them. Its easy to stir the crap and cut people down and to let on as if you are “Sir Hunter”.... Funny how you never hear about the mistakes or poor hits of “Sir Hunters”.....The best Education comes from experience, and in the process mistakes are made and a person learns from these mistakes and in most cases builds off of it and goes on to be a better hunter and sport…..If you guys wanna make things better for all or truly help someone. Try being a little more positive about what you post and quit dwelling on all the ugly you can find….It doesnt do anybody anygood. If some of you would tame it down a bit and it will better out comments section.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/19 at 05:17 PM

WHoops my last sentence in my above post was typed while answering the phone…..Whoops

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/19 at 05:23 PM

I messed up today guys and didnt take this hunters advice. I had a monster 6x6 180” brute at 75 yds numerus times today.  I should have winged and arrow at him since it was a big buck instead of staying patient and praying for the doe to lead him right by me.wink It tears me up that she never did.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/19 at 09:06 PM

Experiment in tone.

Positive post:
Hats off to those hunters that practice and know their effective range.  Hats off to those that teach their kids the ethical way and why that matters.  Hats off to those that make the correct decision to pass on bad shots.  Hats off to those that write articles that educate while informing us of current events.

Negative post:
My hat isn’t off for those that will not check if the gun is still zeroed between seasons.  For those that shoot hail mary’s.  For those that think the rules apply to everyone else.  For those that publish media that pushes a trophy-only mentality.  For those that tell me how to hunt when I follow the ethics/laws.

Both examples convey the same message.  But one has a positive slant.  Does it really matter how you say it.  One tells you that you’re wrong.  The other lets you decide you were wrong.  Either way, judge yourself.  On which side do you fall?

If you hunt enough, stuff happens.  Nobody is perfect.  But a poor reckless decision doesn’t need to be the cause.

As a teen, I took a nap hunting.  Loaded shotgun on my lap.  Don’t remember to this day if safety was off before the nap.  Woke up to a loud boom.  Killed a sapling and almost pee’ed.  No bodily harm but a lesson learned.  You read about gun safety.  Like don’t carry a loaded gun over a fence.  Don’t climb a tree with a loaded gun.  So if we don’t preach(teach) via negative post, we can only learn individually.  Obviously mistakes made personally are taken to heart.  But hearing the message from someone else may just save your life.

Be honest with yourself.  What kind of a hunter are you?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/19 at 09:42 PM

And my hats off to you virtualsniper !!! Well said, a good message, and it wasnt in the form of a smart eleck slam. I just get tired of seeing how so many seem to think that jumping down the throat of someone with a smart A—comment everytime something they dont like goes down is gonna make things better….Comments directed to the point BUT given with respect with out the smart A—arrogance will always go farther…....Good Job virtualsniper.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/20 at 12:13 AM

how bout adding this one VS.  If you shoot a deer with a shotgun and it doesn’t fall still go inspect where the impact could of occurred.  While driving down their lane today my neighbors found a dead buck.  Fresh with a slug whole and nobody even came a lookin.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/20 at 05:31 PM

To the people defending this guy, if it was a story about someone spotlighting would you say the same thing? People learn to not do stupid things through experience. Many of us have lost deer on acceptable shots and know the pain of injuring deer, we learned how easily it could happen through those experiences. This man made a lucky shot on a huge deer. He did not learn anything from this, and will take that shot again given the chance. Hopefully through his experience of reading the negative comments he will see the err of his ways. Like I said if PSO ran a story about a guy killing a buck spotlighting should we all support him? If we as hunters do not police ourselves the non hunters will see a need to.

Posted by illin on 11/20 at 05:42 PM

When I was a kid hunting with my dad and I did something dangerous or of questionable ethics I got told about it. Sometimes in a not so nice way. Should my dad have not said anything unless he had something positive to say?

Sorry for the double post.

Posted by illin on 11/20 at 05:47 PM

Wow, sounds like a bunch of jealous whiners to me. Who hasn’t gotten excited and can’t really remember where they were aiming when the arrow flew?
Great deer!!!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/23 at 07:35 PM

Thanks for all the post. I am the one that killed the deer. Just to set the record straight. I did not just wing a arrow or not have a good shot, the deer was 33yrs broadside the arrow hit a branch. I was aiming for a heart shot.“Sorry to disappoint you guys” The comment about “You couldn’t’t place an arrow any better” was taken out of text. This story was second party allot was taken out of text. I hunt almost everyday so this was not luck. People that know me will tell you I have killed over 20 bow kills and lost 1. Looking at all your post 90% of them are at prime time to be in a stand. You guys need to get in the wood and hunt instead of basching on internet forums. I think most of you should work for peta you could get a job full time going on forums and writing.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/24 at 07:23 PM

I have a suggestion,if this story is not true why dont we remove it before more people see it.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/24 at 08:21 PM

just get rid of the “mis quoter” who wrote it lol nice buck…you killed it dead in less than ideal situation who cares what a bunch of peep “say” they would or wouldnt have done. theyed have to have been willing to get up from the chair.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/29 at 11:51 PM

I shoot all my 200”+ deer in the ear…but only if its raing or on a day ending with y.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/30 at 12:08 AM

*rainy

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/30 at 12:10 AM

I don’t think anybody objecting to the story should be accused of being ‘PETA’ writers.  The story as written is worthy of the ethics comments.  Since you(the hunter) feel the need to dismiss the story as factually inadequate, why the need to take pot shots at those that objected.  You should have said I agree with those that objected and you could have gained respect immediately.  So now any story where the hunter words imply shooting through tree limbs or treestands should be dismissed because the writer got it wrong.  If I were the author, I would feel upset that the story changed.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/01 at 06:36 PM

Joe,
My opinion sways two ways in this. First, great buck, and may your luck follow me to the woods in the future. And I am happy to see that there are about half a dozen bags of ice in the bed of your pickup, so my assumption is that you plan on eating this deer, and are not overly errogant about his impressive headgear.

but…

Next time, If you are going to post on PSO, beware of the losers who pick these stories apart, and omit any semi-arguable facts. The comments on this great site are mostly slander, and are the downfall of any story on here.

And for pete’s sake, call me next time to take your pictures. Show some respect, get him off the concrete, out of the bed of the truck, and take a picture to be proud of, of a buck to be proud of!

Posted by Roemer on 12/06 at 10:10 PM

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