New Jersey native Tom Cook calls November 20, 2011 a day of whitetail hunting he'll never forget and for good reason€¦it's the day he met the amazing trophy buck named "Curly."
"Curly had 12-scorable points and scored 193 inches. He had another point that was broken off that would have put him closer to that 200 mark every hunter dreams of. This was definitely the best day ever in 32 years of hunting whitetails!"
The buck named "Curly" was a massively racked deer that featured several beautiful tines that curved inwards, almost like the long claws of an Alaskan brown bear. The monarch roamed the Calhoun County countryside where Illinois Trophy Bowhunters
manage more than 10,000 acres of free-range hunting. Owner Steve Phelps and his guides knew about Curly, but only from trail camera images as the giant buck never showed itself to anyone. He truly was a phantom that every hunter dreamed of putting on the wall while hunting on the property.
New Jersey native Tom Cook was on his third trip to Illinois to hunt whitetails. He killed a 140-inch buck on his previous trip and was hoping to best it on this go around.
Cook's first two days of hunting were uneventful, save for the new photos he saw from a trail camera that was located near a small, half-acre food plot, he was going to hunt the next morning. It was his first look at Curly.
"At breakfast I jokingly told the guide I was going to put Curly on the ground that day," shared Cook, "Everyone laughed and told me no one has even seen the buck, let alone get a shot at him€¦I couldn't help but wonder, what if?"
An hour and half into Cook's morning sit, he noticed a buck sneaking out of the timber and crossing the pasture his stand overlooked.
Congrats on a great buck Tom!
"I saw one really high tine that curled in and as I was centering the crosshairs I thought it could be Curly, but I wasn't sure," said Cook.
Cook swung his Savage Model 220 towards the buck that was 100 yards away, held the crosshairs of his Leupold on the front shoulder and slowly squeezed the trigger...
He missed! And to make matters worse, Cook was now dealing with a jammed gun!
The buck ran another 50 yards and then stopped and turned broadside, unsure of what was going on or where the shot was coming from.
Cook finally got another shell in the chamber and with as much composure as he could muster, he got another shot off, only this time, his AccuTip found its mark!