Skip to main content

Deer of the Day - 23-Point Prairie State Mega Buck, Mike Gabe

Deer hunting is always a great excuse to take a break from college and Mike Gabe was doing just that as he was hunting near Elmhurst, Illinois where he attends school at Elmhurst College.

While sitting in his stand, he spotted a massive trophy buck unlike anything he'd seen before. The buck appeared to have horn everywhere, including two massive drop tines that still had velvet on the tips. It truly was the buck of a lifetime. Gabe grabbed his grunt call and got to work, attempting to bring the buck into bow range and it worked as the big boy strolled closer to Gabe's stand in response to the calls.

Just as it looked like Gabe was going to get a shot off, the unbelievable happened - a coyote sprinted out of the brush and started fighting with this monarch! The massive non-typical dropped his antlers to the ground and through a series of kicks and thrusts was able to scare off the Song Dog, who probably wouldn't have fared to well in this tussle.

Thankfully, the buck didn't spook and responded again to another grunt call, coming back towards Gabe's stand, this time with a doe in tow.

The trophy wasn't completely broadside, only offering an awkward shot that Gabe took. The shot connected, but it wasn't a great one and the buck, with his doe, just walked away.

For the next six hours Gabe and his two buddies - Dan Krupa and Steve Stocklen - tracked a weak blood trail that took them two miles deep into the woods. The trio didn't find him that night and the next morning Gabe headed back out, alone and saying prayers to St. Anthony for a recovery.

The young hunter walked in a giant circle, looking for any kind of sign when suddenly he spotted blood. Drop by drop, he followed a weak trail that took him to the top of a hill and there the buck was! A true Illinois trophy!

Then the real work began as it took Gabe five hours to drag the buck out of he woods as everyone he knew was either at work or school. But he persisted, just like in his tracking job, and got the job done, reaping the reward of the awe and amazement of the crowd that started to congregate to see this incredible deer.

The buck featured two 12-inch drop tines on both sides and green scored 240-inches non-typical.

Outstanding job Mike!


We want your buck as our Deer of the Day! Please send us an image of your buck, a brief description of your hunt and the gear used to

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

North American Whitetail Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the North American Whitetail App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top North American Whitetail stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All North American Whitetail subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now