Skip to main content

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)

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

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

For years, one of Publisher Laden Force's favorite hunting programs has been the Outdoor Channel's Live 2 Hunt program with Cody and Kelsy Robbins. Their passion for bowhunting and making new hunting buddies is contagious. Additionally, time and time again the pair has undoubtedly confirmed their position as some of the best deer hunters north of the Canadian border. So, Laden quickly accepted when an invite came from friend Mike Tussey of NOMAD Hunting Apparel to test new deer gear on a summer bear hunt with Cody and Kelsy's L2H Outfitting. Join him as he travels to north central Saskatchewan to put new NOMAD, the brand new Bowtech Carbon One and his sense of adventure to the test.
Destination Videos

Live 2 Bowhunt

Opening day is just around the corner, but there is still work to be done! The Forces complete the final prep steps, getting their hunting sites ready for easy access.

Opening Day Prep

The Forces complete the final investment, one that's not so “instant”, by planting new fruit/mast trees. 

Investing in the Future

Baseball transitions to football, which means it's time to get oats, clover & chicory in the ground.  

Cool Season Food Plot

Laden teaches the boys the importance of keeping your property clean to make final adjustments easier and less time consuming.

Property Management

The new hunting blinds have arrived, but the Forces get busy because the blinds aren't going to assemble and strategically place themselves.

Blind Placement Strategy

It's time for weed patrol! Laden ventures out to high cut the perineal plots, weedeat the electric fences and spot spray his clover. 

Plot Maintenance

Laden and the boys plan the off-season “to do's” and prep their equipment needed to execute each exercise. 

The Plan

Laden and his boys work through a timber management plan, letting Dad safely remove a few unwanted trees, opening up a canopy to help with understory native forage growth.

Timberstand Improvements

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