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Illinois Bowhunter Shoots 197-incher After Flooding Washes Away Trail Cameras

When summertime flooding washed away his trail cameras, Zach Seibold had little intel on his target buck.

Illinois Bowhunter Shoots 197-incher After Flooding Washes Away Trail Cameras

With a green, gross score of 205 1/8 inches, and a net score of 197, Zach’s buck is a true Midwest giant. (Photo courtesy of Zach Seibold)

Breaking News Buck

In the Spring of 2021, we bought a new farm in Illinois. During our first trip shed hunting the farm, my dad and I found a set of big sheds. From that moment on, it was pretty clear who our target buck was going to be during our first season on the property! 

The new farm has a major creek running through it that floods quite frequently. As a result of this, we unfortunately lost a half-dozen trail cameras due to floods that happened during the summer. We thought we had the cameras up high enough when we hung them, but we severely underestimated the water that comes out when it floods! So, unfortunately, we didn’t get much intel from our trail cameras, but we did get just enough to know that the buck we found sheds from was still in the area. 

Illinois Bowhunter Shoots 197-incher After Flooding Washes Away Trail Cameras
Since summer floods washed away six of Zach’s trail cameras, he had very little intel about the buck going into hunting season. (Photo courtesy of Zach Seibold)

After the Flood

The evening of Oct. 29, 2021, was the first time I ever laid eyes on this deer. It was a wet and foggy evening, which made me sit in a blind on one of our food plots. He came out right at dark, and I was forced to sit in the blind for well over an hour after dark, so I didn’t spook him or any other deer on my way out. The wind was going to be the same the following evening, but with sunny skies, so I would be back in a tree stand not far from the blind the following evening. 

At about 4:30 the next evening, some young bucks and does began filtering into the field. It wasn’t long before my target buck came across the field and into range. He presented me with a 20-yard shot, and I made what looked like a perfect hit. I called my dad ecstatic and told him what had just happened, but as I told him about the shot, I couldn’t help but replay the scenario in my head. The more I thought about the shot, the more I realized there actually was less penetration than I originally thought. 

Right on Track

I knew I didn’t hit the shoulder, so I was obviously concerned because I should have blown right through him at that range. We gave the deer a little over an hour and started on the blood trail. We had excellent blood early, but it started to slow down after a few hundred yards. So, we decided to backout until the following morning. 


We tracked the deer on our hands and knees the following morning, looking for any speck of blood. We were about to give up, and I was heading back to the truck to meet a local guy with a tracking dog. I had just got off the phone with the tracker when Dad called me and told me he had found my buck!

I was pumped to find the buck, and shooting a deer like that isn’t a bad way to break in a new farm! The buck has a green, gross score of 205 1/8, and a net score of 197. It was an awesome experience walking up to a deer like that with my dad, it is something I’ll never forget.

Illinois Bowhunter Shoots 197-incher After Flooding Washes Away Trail Cameras
Zach and his dad bought a new hunting property in spring of 2021. And they found the non-typical’s sheds during their first shed hunting trip on the new farm and later Zach arrowed the 197-inch non-typical in Illinois on Oct. 30, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Zach Seibold)

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