November 07, 2023
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Last year, Cayson Westmoreland made the trip from Corinth, Mississippi, up to Golden Triangle Whitetail in Illinois for the youth season hunt. His grandfather, Papa Terry, had gifted him the outing and he came home with a buck.
When fall of 2023 rolled around, Cayson and his little brother, Will, made the trip north again. This time they were joined by their uncle Matt and dad, Josh.
The trip got off to a rough start when they discovered that Cayson’s slug gun had issues the evening before the hunt began. Fortunately, his host provided a replacement. Cayson’s guide, Eli, was new as well. This would be his first effort in the field. The bump in the road with his gun might have given another hunter concerns, but Cayson forged ahead full of confidence. He was having fun with his family and eager to tag another buck.
After a good night’s rest, Eli loaded Cayson and his uncle into a pickup and headed out to the shooting house. Their stand overlooked a food plot with big woods to the right. Cayson was ready for the repeat, and he wouldn’t have to wait long. Less than an hour after getting in position, he noticed a group of five does entering the plot. And then a real giant stepped out!
The huge buck began bumping the does around as Cayson lined up the shot with the borrowed 20 gauge. The slug flew true, and the buck stumbled back into the woods out of sight. His dad, sitting in another blind with his brother, received Cayson’s phone call.
“I just shot a monster,” Cayson exclaimed!
Just inside the wood line, the huge-bodied buck was down. The giant rack features heavy mass, long tines, and everything it takes to qualify as a “buck of a lifetime.” The Illinois buck green scores 170 inches.
Although the buck was known in the area, no one had seen the giant for some time; so it was a total surprise to everyone when Cayson put the hammer on him! Cayson was even given a right side shed from the buck to take home with his trophy.
To top it all off, Will got his buck two days later. Whether Cayson takes a bigger buck later or not, the memory of this trip should last a lifetime for the whole family!