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Tales from the Timber: Mystery buck

March 03, 2009 at 06:00 AM

At most Deer Classics seeing three bucks over 219 inches in the same display area would be amazing.

Not so at the Illinois Deer & Turkey Classic. Yes, those bucks are amazing. But expectations are so lofty for the Illinois show that people expect to see a buck that boggles the mind every year. They expect the next cover of North American Whitetail to be on hand every year. And with good reason. Because this is a show where 240-inch non-typicals are expected. It’s a show where 190-inch typicals are realistic.

So you have to forgive ythat handful of veteran showgoers who left last weekend wondering, “Where were the monsters?”

Personally, I was happy to gawk at Gregory Wilson’s 222 5/8-inch 21-pointer, killed in 2007 in Montgomery County. I was happy to talk with Jeremy Cauble about his 21-point, 222 1/8-inch Fayette County beauty. And I was surprised but impressed to see Scott Fiala’s 219 2/8-inch White County bow kill. Beyond those bucks were plenty of trophies anybody would love to have. Here are just a few (and these are only non-typicals):

  • Ransom Brooks’ 218 3/8-inch 22-pointer
  • Rodney Williams’ 216 1/8-inch 22-pointer
  • Michael Belshaw’s 215 2/8-inch 16-pointer
  • Joel Carpenter’s 214 6/8-inch 19-pointer
  • Brock Tarr’s 214 4/8-inch 20-pointer
  • Scott Lemmon’s 214 2/8-inch 18-pointer
  • Donald Krull’s 213 3/8-inch 22-pointer

Even given all those impressive antlers, I would have liked to see the Illinois 250-incher that never made it to Bloomington. Yes, Illinois did produce some monster bucks last year. And not just the likely 250-inch, double drop-tine beauty found dead by quail hunters in Menard County. (Incidentally, that buck was also on display at the show. If you missed it, we’ll have a picture posted later today in our show wrap-up and a soon-to-be-posted story about the bow hunter who had the buck at 60 yards twice last fall).

But the other mystery monster was never brought to the Classic because the hunter does not want publicity about himself or the area he hunts. All I saw were a few pictures of the buck that grossed better than 260 inches and had two back-scratcher drop tines flying off the back of its rack. I have no idea where the buck was killed. I’m not even sure what season—though I suspect it was a bow kill.

All I do know is that the buck in question is huge. And had it been hauled to the Interstate Center, there would have been fewer comments about the lack of any “monsters.”

I also saw camera-phone pictures of an alleged Iroquois County non-typical that was killed by an Indiana hunter. I’m not sure if any of that is true. But the deer looked to be a possible 230-incher. Had that one also come to the show, the depth would only have been greater.

My point is, Illinois is still producing big bucks—even in a year that most buck hunters say was unusually tough.

But I also believe more hunters are keeping their trophies home. Some don’t want the publicity for fear of having outfitters show up next door. Some just don’t want to make the drive. It has happened in the past but I think it happens more often now. There’s no denying this year’s count of racks was down, as the final count of 500 heads is well below last year’s 605.

You know what though? Most of the people still left the Interstate Center impressed by the antlers they had seen.

 

 

 

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Look for Tales from the Timber every Tuesday at Prairie State Outdoors.com.

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

I think the jealousy in the hunting community is why some people would not want to show their deer.

Posted by illin on 03/03 at 12:15 PM

I would also have to say that there are poor folks that can not afford to have antlers mounted and then drive north to show them off. Or they may be like me, a loner that likes to be left alone.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/03 at 12:58 PM

i know a guy who shot a 246 inch net non-typical with a bow on that magic day (nov 11th). he will not put it in the book or show it to the public. if you could convince him that he won’t have more fence sitters or antler thieves making a move he would not have a problem. why people would risk all of that just for the warm fuzzy feeling they get showing everybody everythingis a mystery to me.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/03 at 01:40 PM

My favorite deer from the classic were the deer that didn’t even score 100 inches but the person who brought it had the guts to bring them in.  Way to go….

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/03 at 01:47 PM

I know exactly why the numbers are dwindling of people bringing bucks to the classic. 1st) a growing number of people are tired of the RECOGNITION for killing a big buck.  For instance, if there are numerous big bucks there from say, Warren County, then some rich folk from chicago notice that and go and try to buy up some ground or pay big bucks to lease ground.  the fact that less people bring big deer is actually HELPING hunting, not hurting it. i’ve got 3 deer over 150” that i have never taken to the classic. the fewer big dollars wrapped up into huntin the better it is for the little man. grounds gotta quit gettin so ridiculous and if i had 1 more outfitter tryin to talk me into paying 3grand a week to kill a deer i was gonna shoot myself. Hunting needs to get back to the roots.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/03 at 06:15 PM

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