Illinois hunting and fishing

John Grosboll of Petersburg holds the head of a 24-point buck found on his Menard County property.

Tales from the Timber: Grosboll

January 20, 2009 at 04:02 AM

Years and years of hunting have produced 35 trophy deer mounts for Petersburg resident John Grosboll.

But the 36th will be his biggest — and Grosboll didn’t even have to hunt to get it.

In fact, the 60-year old full-time farmer had never even seen the buck with 24 points that green-scored 246 inches. Not until two quail hunters stumbled upon it Jan. 2 on his land.

‘It’s unbelievable,’ Grosboll said of what is thought to be the largest deer shot or found this season in Illinois.

The only big deer Grosboll had seen on his land was a two drop tine buck hunted by one of his employees and his son, Nathan Grosboll.

“I knew fellas were hunting big deer down in the area, but I thought they were hunting the one I’d seen,” John Grosboll said. “But it was the one we’d found ... with four drop tines.”

One person attempting to track down the big buck was Petersburg hunter Mark Beck, who, according to Grosboll, has 89 pictures and even video of the massive deer. Beck had been hunting the prize for 26 consecutive days at one stretch of the season.

Illinois hunting and fishing

But it was Grosboll’s friends — Scott and Kyle Hackey — who finally found the buck. Only after the Grosboll’s were finished hunting the land were the
Hackey’s given permission to quail hunt that Friday morning.

“These bird hunters didn’t really know what they’d found,” Grosboll said. “They’re bird hunters, not deer hunters. Actually, I’m glad I didn’t find the deer. I’m glad somebody else found it.”

The bird hunters quickly notified Grosboll and the group went together to look at the deer.

“It was pretty well eaten up by coyotes,” Grosboll said of the deer. “There wasn’t anything left but hide. It could have been dead from two weeks to six weeks.”

Grosboll was thankful for the honesty of the Hackey brothers.

“They’re real trusting guys,” Grosboll said. “The only guys I let bird hunt on that farm. I just feel so fortunate they were honest guys and they told me about the deer. I’m a fourth generation Menard County and that deer now will always stay in Menard County. It will stay in my family.”

Word got out quickly as Grosboll called friends and had several pictures taken. Grosboll called two game warden’s who were unable to make it that night. Later in the evening, a pair of game wardens came to the house and said allegations of foul play had already been made.

“They were saying that the deer was moved,” Grosboll said of those making the allegations. “People have been telling me every time there’s a big deer shot or found the stories just go wild. The two people that made the allegations have since apologized. They just hadn’t heard all the facts first.”

A game warden from Mendard County came out the next day and put an orange dead find tag on the buck’s antlers.

“We tried to do everything by the book and the way it’s turned out everything is fine,” Grosboll said. “Anybody that finds a deer really wants to go through the right procedures, because allegations will come out anyway. But they will a lot more if you don’t go through the right procecures.”

The Petersburg area farmer plans to have an official Boone & Crockett scorer score the deer, either locally or at the Illinois Deeer & Turkey Classic the last weekend of February in Bloomington.

What happened to the deer still remains a mystery.

“A farmer I know told me earlier in the fall that he’d seen this deer several times last year and this year and his quote was, ‘I don’t think that deer will make it through the year because it’s a lot poorer this year than it was last year,’ ‘’ Grosboll said. “The body wasn’t as filled out, as muscular. It went through the rut and if he wasn’t built up for the rut I can see where he could have gone downhill.”

Illinois hunting and fishing

Illinois hunting and fishing

Illinois hunting and fishing

Here is Nathan Grosboll holding the massive non-typical rack.

Illinois hunting and fishing