Illinois 16 Point Buck
Opening morning of the 2007 Illinois shotgun season would be a test in patience for my 18 year old son, Joe Smith. Joe would be hunting an out-of-the way finger of timber surrounded by cut corn known simply as the curve. A handful of nice bucks had been shot on the property by my Uncle, Steve Hayworth, but when I scouted the property in October of 2007 during bowhunting I was skeptical. The property consisted of less than an acre of timber surrounded by cut corn as far as the eye could see. The nearest big woods was to the North approximately 400 yards away and to make matters worse the owner of the adjoining property was building a house 200 yards behind the tree stand Joe would be hunting from. Joe considered all these factors when agreeing to hunt there opening morning and really listened when our Uncle gave him some very important information about hunting this property. Uncle Steve stressed to my son that he must demonstrate patience when in the stand and allow does, and immature bucks to "walk" and he would see a shooter buck..
Well opening morning arrived and I saw Joe off as he loaded up his car for the 5 minute drive to the curve. I reminded him of basic hunting safety issues and even tried to give him directions to the property since he'd only been there once before. Joe insisted he knew how to navigate the 5 miles trip in the dark so off he went and off I went to my stand. Sure enough 5 minutes into my hunt my cell phone vibrates and its Joe who can't remember exactly how to find the property. I tried to give directions quietly as first light approached and deer were moving. Well the phone vibrated 3 more times the next 10 minutes and I began to worry when I didn't hear from Joe for the next hour and a half. At about 7:30 a.m. my phone rang and Joe stated with great joy that he had just shot the biggest deer he had ever seen. I instructed him to stay put and I would drive over to help him dress the deer as well as drag it out.
Upon arrival Joe took me to the buck and it was laying on its side 20 yards behind Joe's stand. I was amazed that his description of the deer was accurate. It was the biggest deer I had ever seen as well. Joe relayed his events of the morning hunt from getting to the stand as it got light, to letting numerous does pass without shooting. I was proud of Joe for heeding his Uncle's advice of having patience and excited to share this moment with my son. The deer was a massive 16 pointer that had double brow tines, palmations, and kicker points and field dressed at 275 lbs. Patience paid off...