October 5 brought Wes McConnell's halloween treat early, this 173" Pike County, Illinois brute! His largest buck to date. "Claw" started showing up on Wes's Reconyx photo's as a 3 year old and he was able to recover his sheds that year. This brut had blown up to this monster when he stepped into an Imperial Clover field on the opening friday afternoon of the season. Watching him feed for over an hour Wes let a meat seeker loose from his Bear Anarchy at 30 yards. Claw ran about 100 yards and wound up at bottom of a huge Pike County ravine.
Parks McConnell traveled from Louisiana to his Uncle Wes McConnell's Pike County farm for the Illinois’ youth season. Hunting from a Banks blind with one side bordered by Mississippi River bottom fields and on the other an Alfa Rack plus food plot Parks settled in for only his third deer hunt ever. This main frame 8 with a sticker coming off his G3 on his left beam followed 2.5 year old into the plot and feed to 44 yards. Shouldering his Remington 870 20g with a rifled slug barrel, Parks folded his first buck, a 127” stud up and dropped him in his tracks.
Agent Jeff Heil took his 12 year old daughter, Kaydi on her first whitetail deer hunt October 6, the first day of Illinois youth season. Hunting his farm in Greene County, Jeff set Kaydi up in a Banks blind next to an Imperial Clover food plot. With 9 does and fawns feeding in the plot this 130" bully stepped out and started trowing his weight around. With just 15 minutes of camera light left Kaydi let loose her TC Omega muzzleloader at 40 yards. After making the short recovery the next morning, Jeff got to hear Kaydi say, "my dads farm rocks!”
Clay Craft son of agent Bryhn Craft is familiar with holding horns. Many of you may recall his stellar year last season. The farther son team traveled to a new lease in Pike County for the Illinois youth hunt. They had very little scouting history of the property but armed with some Reconyx photos Clay had set his eye on this big 8. Set up in a Banks blind overlooking standing corn deer where moving at daybreak. This 146" brute showed up around 8 but did not present a shot until he ad moved away to 165 yards. Taking aim through his Brunton scope Clay pulled the trigger on a TC Encore Pro Hunter and placed the shot perfectly.
Jordan Gizdic, 12 year old daughter of agent Joe Gizdic claimed this 120" with an 18.5 inch spread on the opening day of the Illinois youth hunt. Hunting from a ground blind overlooking a standing beans and clover fields at there Greene County farm, Jordan dropped this stud at 80 yards with a TC Impact youth muzzleloader. This is Jordan’s third deer and she is "hooked!"
Joe Gizdic had plenty of history on this Decatur County, Iowa buck. Joe was hunting a friends farm who had had multiple encounters and multiple Reconyx photos over the last three years and the green light if he this big boy showed up. Hunting an hour glass shaped food plot of Pure Attraction on October 18 it took Joe 4years of tag draws to get to this spot! Patience pays off but on this day Joe had payed his dues, at 40 yards the Bear Anarchy worked it's magic. This 5.5 year old buck has stickers on both G2s but the left G2 is particularly interesting with a “turkey foot” looking set of stickers and scores 173". An invite to hunt a good friends well managed farm and pure luck that catching a cold front was well worth waiting 4 years to draw an Iowa bow tag, “I got my deer of a lifetime."
Rich Baugh named this buck "Steve" after his good friend Steve Surace. Sporting a head dress in the mid 150s Rich had passed on him several times as a 4.5 year old wanting to see what would develop at 5.5. Living in the center of his Henry County, Iowa farm new Steve was the biggest buck around this year. On October 26 set-up on a funnel between a block of timber and a corn field Steve with his 179” set of antlers walked within 28 yards and Rich sent a Rocket Steelhead from his Bear Anarchy through the heart. Steve ran to within 10 yards of Rich's Lone Wolf and piled up! . “It happened so fast, was so easy, and the footage was so good, it seemed like a fairy tale!"
Agent Paul Kitslaar hunting his home farm in Buffalo County, Wisconsin knew the history on this massive body buck he calls "Dead Eye." With 2 sets of sheds and hundreds of Reconyx trail camera pictures he had been watching him for over three years. On the morning of October 29, Paul got to the stand a little late but not too late! Shortly after settling in on a pinch point between two food plots at the base of an oak ridge this Wisconsin Cranker walked by at 18 yards. The Bear Anarchy shot was true and after a short time and short recovery, Paul had his hands on Dead Eye, 145” 4.5 year old that field dressed at 215 pounds.