Skip to main content

Brandon Stichter's Illinois Trophy Buck

Brandon Stichter's Illinois Trophy Buck

The story behind this Illinois trophy buck that scored 185 5/8 inches with 16 scorable points.

I could barely see his antlers through the brush. I didn't think it was a big deer at all, but something made me grab my bow just in case. I still couldn't make out the deer, and thinking that it was one of the smaller deer on the farm, I decided to hang my bow back up. Just as I made a move to do so, I noticed that it was the "split brow buck."

He was at 25 yards. He started walking right at me, and I drew back instantly. I had to draw right then or I knew that my chance at this big buck would be over. I quickly peered through my sight and let the arrow go. I watch the arrow make a good shot, a little back, but definitely a good shot.

We decided to back out and look for him in the morning and after a long sleepless night, we were able to locate the buck only 100 yards from where I shot him. All the long hours of planting food plots, trimming stands, checking trail cameras, and monitoring our deer population finally paid off. And the best part, this was the fourth "Booner" my brother, father and self have shot on our farms in the last three years. The next one...my daughter says...is hers.

My cousin, who also hunts with my brother, my father, and myself, had a shot of a lifetime at him last year with no success. We spotted him late in the year again in 2010 but with a broken G3 and G4. Early this spring we set out to find his sheds. Nathan and a friend of ours found the right side. And, while turkey hunting for the first time with my daughter this spring, she spotted the left side and was quick to tell me that the "split brow buck" was "hers" this year.

This was her first year to deer hunt with a firearm but youth season came to a close with no opportunity for a shot. We'd had many pictures of the buck on trail cameras this year as well, but again, all during the dark. On the day of the hunt, it rained all day and stopped only briefly for a time in the late afternoon, which is the only reason we think he was up on his feet. I'd just finished watching a shooter 8 point when I heard something behind me making a scrape.

This buck was harvested on my father's ground in rural Erie, Illinois on November 3, 2011. Hunting is a family affair around here and my brother and I spend most of the off season preparing for hunts like this one.

The hunt for this particular big buck started three years ago when we began to see pictures of him on trail cameras. Last year was the first year that he really showed his size for the first time. We had several pictures from last year but each of them were under the cover of darkness. My brother, Nathan, and I spent many hours monitoring his activity.

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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Deer Dog: Replicating Realistic Tracks

Deer Dog: Replicating Realistic Tracks

On this edition of "Deer Dog," Jeremy Moore discusses the role scent plays when it comes to tracking and how to incorporate it into your training.

Food Plots and Dogs

Food Plots and Dogs

On this edition of "Deer Dog," Jeremy Moore discusses how to connect food plots to deer and your deer dog.

On Target: Tips for Handgun Hunting Accuracy

On Target: Tips for Handgun Hunting Accuracy

Dr. James Kroll provides tips for hunting whitetails with a handgun.

Creating Warm-Season Food Plots

Creating Warm-Season Food Plots

On this edition of "Deer Factory," Dr. James Kroll and Pat Hogan discuss tactics for establishing warm-season food plots.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

You can generally take as many does as bucks in a healthy heard, how many is too many?Balancing The Deer Herd Deer Behavior & Facts

Balancing The Deer Herd

Dr. James C. Kroll

You can generally take as many does as bucks in a healthy heard, how many is too many?

The right arrow for your setup will boost your whitetail body count. Building The Ultimate Whitetail Arrow Bowhunting

Building The Ultimate Whitetail Arrow

Jace Bauserman

The right arrow for your setup will boost your whitetail body count.

Low carb and keto-friendly, this recipe for venison jalapeño poppers wrapped in bacon is a great appetizer to serve at your next BBQ or cookout.Bacon-Wrapped Venison Jalapeno Poppers Recipe Venison Recipes

Bacon-Wrapped Venison Jalapeno Poppers Recipe

Emilie Bailey

Low carb and keto-friendly, this recipe for venison jalapeño poppers wrapped in bacon is a...

Be prepared to take care of the carcass and cape after downing your trophy buck.Gear Planning for After the Kill Shot Gear

Gear Planning for After the Kill Shot

Mark Kayser

Be prepared to take care of the carcass and cape after downing your trophy buck.

See More Trending Articles

More Trophy Bucks

When things are going well, don't question it — just keep playing.2 Illinois Trophy Whitetails in 18 Hours Trophy Bucks

2 Illinois Trophy Whitetails in 18 Hours

Ron Willmore

When things are going well, don't question it — just keep playing.

Troy Bryant tagged the bruiser in November, which just received a dry score of 190 6/8 inches net.Bryant Buck: Oklahoma Hunter Tags Top-5 Typical Whitetail Trophy Bucks

Bryant Buck: Oklahoma Hunter Tags Top-5 Typical Whitetail

Lynn Burkhead - January 27, 2020

Troy Bryant tagged the bruiser in November, which just received a dry score of 190 6/8 inches...

Brian Butcher's 321 3/8-inch net non-typical Kansas whitetail steals the attention of the 2020 ATA Trade Show.Brian Butcher Downs Stunning 321-Inch Kansas Buck Trophy Bucks

Brian Butcher Downs Stunning 321-Inch Kansas Buck

Lynn Burkhead

Brian Butcher's 321 3/8-inch net non-typical Kansas whitetail steals the attention of the 2020...

See More Trophy Bucks

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

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

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 mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now