I first started getting night pictures of this buck we called "Shorty" in 2009 on our hunting property in Schuyler County, Illinois . We never saw the buck during hunting season in 2009 and only had a few night pictures of him.
In 2010, we started getting a few more pictures, but only at night. My brother and I had one encounter with this buck on a November 6, 2010. He came 50 yards from both of us but didn't present a shot. We searched for his sheds in early 2011 and found one of them and our neighbor found the other side.
In September 2011 we started getting lots of pictures of this deer at all hours of the day. I hunted the area where we were getting the most pictures hard for two weeks, but never saw him. I left our property on October 30th and when I returned on November 4th I had 10 pictures of this deer right under my stand on October 31st and November 1st during the daytime!
I hunted November 4th and 5th and had numerous encounters with small bucks, but Shorty never showed up.
On November 6th, 2011 we slept in and decided to only hunt in the evening. My brother and I went out to our stands at 1:00 p.m. after the wind calmed down. I had a perfect south wind to hunt my stand that was located along the north side of a small funnel. I didn't see a single deer until 5:00 p.m. when I heard a deer running and a buck grunting.
I immediately knew what was happening and stood up and grabbed my Mathews bow. The doe ran right by my treestand and stopped 10 yards away from me, then he came trotting in and stopped 20 yards away facing directly at my treestand. I peeked around the tree and saw a giant deer with a giant frame and knew exactly who this was. I hid back behind the tree and peeked around the tree a few seconds later and saw he was 15 yards and closing in. I pulled my Mathews MQ32 bow back as he went behind a tree and he stood there grunting at the doe. He slowly stepped out from the tree and stood eight yards below me broadside. I took a deep breath and thought, "Don't screw this one up!"
I double lunged him and he didn't even go 30 yards! From the second I saw this deer to the second he was dead was no more than 15 seconds! I soon realized the only two encounters I had with this deer over the entire three years were both on November 6th. I shot this deer a year to the day from the only time I ever saw him with my old school Mathews MQ32 bow. My dreams finally came true of harvesting this beautiful buck.
Shorty was 7 1/2 years old and scored 166 inches as a 12 pointer.
The second buck was a deer we were familiar with. We found his sheds in 2010 but didn't get a single picture of him until the day I shot him. I think he made our woods his territory after I harvested Shorty. November 10th was a beautiful day and I couldn't stand to be at work any longer. My brother and I left work at 11:00 a.m. and headed to our property. I got in my stand at 3:15 p.m. and remember thinking, "what the heck am I doing out here, my chances of killing a bigger buck are very slim."
It was kind of windy out so I was doubting the evenings hunt when all of a sudden I got a text message from my brother that read, "Big buck headed your way." I looked over my left shoulder and sure enough he was coming my way and on a mission.
I softly grunted at him and he immediately started coming right to my treestand. I was particularly concerned because he was going to be downwind of me. I wear all Scent Blocker gear and use Conquest Deer Sticks on my boots and clothes, but I know how hard it is to trick an old buck's nose.
He got right down wind and knew something was not right and stopped. I was already drawn back and must have held my bow back for 3-5 minutes while he didn't even seem to blink the entire time. He was sure something wasn't right and started heading back to where he came from. I had to spin around the tree and try to get a shot off before he left for good.
I was able to get a shot off while he was quartering away from me at 30 yards and ended up smoking him. My brother couldn't believe that I shot another big buck and this one was out of his stand, which was the only time of the 2011 season he decided to hunt my stand!
This second buck scored 150 inches as a 12 pointer.
This was my best year of hunting ever and my 2011 season will be incredibly hard to top! -- Chris Walker
Bow: Mathews MQ32
Arrows: Carbon Express Blue Streak Select 250s
Broadhead: Rage 2 Blade
Camo: Scent Blocker brotherhood and Mack Daddy suit
Boots: Muck Woody Armor
Scents: Conquest Deer Herd in a stick (put on boots and trees around stand)
Congrats on two incredible bucks Chris! -- NAW Editors