A Winning Hunch

A Winning Hunch

When Parrish Brown's dad told Parrish that he'd better go hunting last Nov. 12, the hunter took his dad's advice and came home with one of Illinois' best bow bucks of the 2006 season.

Parrish Brown of north-central Illinois has been a bowhunter for 26 years. Anyone who has bowhunted that long knows there are good years, bad years and some years when you just can't seem to get with the program. For Parrish the 2006 bow season seemed to fall into that third, unfortunate category.


Because of his job as a fireman, Parrish has always tried to stay in top physical condition. And with that in mind, he had found a new interest the year before. The fall of 2006 found him training for a triathlon. Due to Parrish's rigorous training schedule, he didn't find much time to get into the woods in October 2006. In fact, when early November rolled around, he had only been hunting three or four times.


On Sunday, Nov. 12, Parrish got off work at 7:00 a.m. He went home, went to church with his family and back home for lunch. He thought about going hunting, but knew he should probably spend the afternoon training instead.

While Parrish was debating which course of action to take, his dad, Mark, happened to call. During their conversation, Parrish said: "I'm getting kind of bored with hunting." His dad's response was: "You need to get in the woods. After all, it's Nov. 12, and I have a hunch you might kill a good buck today." Little did Parrish know how prophetic those words would turn out to be.


THE HUNT OF A LIFETIME

About 1:00 p.m. Parrish decided to go hunting. He left his house and drove the hour it takes to get to the 300 acres of private land he hunts in central Illinois. While walking into the woods he began to notice several fresh rubs and scrapes that had not been present the last time he had hunted. As he approached one of his favorite tree stands, he considered going to another stand in the "bottoms." However, the fresh rubs, scrapes, and large tracks finally convinced him to go instead to the nearby tree stand where he had taken some good bucks in the past.

By 2:30 Parrish was settled in his stand. His thoughts soon drifted back to an incident two years earlier when he had hit a large non-typical in the shoulder blade. He did not find the deer and later he saw the buck chasing does. Parrish's tree stand was located in a fairly deep ravine. The problem with this type of setup is that a hunter can climb 20 feet up the tree and still have deer on the adjacent hillsides that are level with his position. Knowing this, Parrish always had been extra careful when moving around in this stand.

At 3:00 p.m. he noticed a very nice P&Y-class 8-pointer coming along the hillside trail level with his stand. He grabbed his Matthews Q-2 and prepared for a shot, but the buck turned and walked by just out of range. Then the deer suddenly turned again, and Parrish thought he was going to get the shot after all. The buck was now level with him, looking straight at him. Suddenly, Parrish discovered what the big 8-pointer was actually looking at, and it wasn't him!

SURROUNDED BY BUCKS

Parrish heard a distinct grunt directly behind him. Suddenly he was aware that he was standing between two bucks, both at eyeball level with his stand. He dared not turn around to see the buck behind him because the 8-pointer was staring right through him toward the other deer. This went on for 10 nerve-racking minutes while the buck behind him made all kinds of noise -- rubbing brush and grunting. The 8-point buck finally did a 180 and started walking away.

Parrish immediately began turning his head very slowly toward the second buck. The first thing he noticed was a small tree moving back and forth. Then he glimpsed a set of giant antlers as the buck worked over the tree. Parrish knew that a trail led directly away from his tree stand and the spot where the buck was standing. If the deer used that trail Parrish doubted if he would get a shot.

He put his release on the string as the giant non-typical watched the 8-pointer walk away. Instead of walking away, however, the huge non-typical started moving downhill closer to Parrish's position. When the front of the buck's chest entered a shooting lane at about 20 yards, Parrish squeezed the release. He watched as the arrow hit right behind the buck's shoulder.

The arrow went all the way through the deer's body. The buck turned and ran about 15 yards. Then he slowed down and started walking. After traveling another 15 yards the buck stopped and started looking around. Since Parrish had seen the arrow disappear behind the deer's front shoulder, he was now trying to will the buck to "fall down." Sure enough, a few seconds later the buck staggered to his left and fell over, only 30 yards from the tree stand.

A 20-POINT MONSTER

Parrish nocked another arrow, just in case the buck tried to get up. He somehow managed to stay in the tree for the next 30 minutes, watching intently all the while with his binoculars for any movement by the deer. He finally climbed down and quietly retrieved his arrow. The arrow, completely covered with blood, confirmed the fact that he had made a good shot on the buck. As he approached the deer, he had another arrow ready.

As he closed the distance, he could clearly see one side of the rack sticking up above the grass. When he got his first good look at the buck's awesome rack, he was in shock. He tried counting points and kept coming up with around 16. After taking a few moments to let things soak in, Parrish got out his cell phone and called his dad. He told his dad that he had just killed a giant 16-point buck. (The buck actually had 20 points.)

Parrish's dad got very excited saying: "I knew you were going to get a buck today. . . . I just had a hunch. . . . And you didn't even want to go hunting today!"

Parrish called his wife. Then he called the landowner who obligingly came and helped him drag the deer to a spot where they could load it onto a 4-wheeler.

The giant buck was the largest non-typical bow buck brought into the Illinois Deer Classic held in Bloomington, Illinois, in March 2007. The deer won "Best of Show" for an archery non-typical. Parrish's buck had a gross non-typical score of 224 6/8 inches, with a net non-typical score of 217 3/8 inches. It's believed to be the second-largest bow kill from Illinois during the 2006 season. On Oct. 7, 2006, Steve DeWitt of Zeeland, Michigan, arrowed a 226 7/8-inch monster while hunting in Adams County. (See the July 2007 issue for Steve's complete story.)

While reflecting on the incredible event, Parrish said: "I don't know if this was the same buck that I hit in the shoulder two years earlier or not. But it really doesn't matter. This e

ntire experience has really energized me and now I'm ready to get back into some serious bowhunting!"

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