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A few years after Kyle Lamore built a home on his family farm, he and JJ Kolesar decided to place a trail camera in the back corner of his property.

With no timber on the property, Kyle made a food plot and put a camera up to see what might be in the area. 

The first deer to show up on the camera was a big mature deer that they estimated at three years old. The big buck had split G2’s and G3’s that earned him the name Ponderosa Splitter but shortened to P Splitty. 

The deer was a homeboy often caught on camera but seemed to be a ghost as he was never seen on the hoof. Not seeing him during the daylight they began thinking he may be spending the majority of his time in the timber that was adjacent to the property. So three years ago they decided to make a play and see if they could lease the adjacent property to catch up with P Splitty. And they did, camera wise.

Running 6-8 cameras across the property P Splitty would pose and smile every four or five days all year round. But like a wise old deer, the nocturnal ghost was never seen from the stand. It wasn't until last year that anyone spotted him on the hoof. While driving the perimeter of the property they saw P Splitty trailing a doe in the edge of a field for just a few seconds before disappearing back into the timber.

This year P Splitty seemed to become more active as they captured a few daylight pictures of him. JJ said, “Over the past three years we have over 500 pictures of this deer and less than 10 of them are in the daylight.” And on November 3 for the first time they saw him from the stand. He came within 40 yards but did not offer a good shot for Kyle to release an arrow. After the personal encounter, they had two pictures of him on camera and by the second week of November, they feared that Illinois gun season had harvested him. 

On the last day of Illinois gun season, they headed to a stand overlooking a half acre of standing beans. With no MRI and no shooters on the camera, they felt this set would give them their best chance with the beans being the only food left on the farm. With only 20 minutes of shooting light left, P Splitty emerged from the timber. He eased his way into the standing beans. When he stopped at 100 yards JJ Kolesar dropped him just before the sunset on Illinois second shotgun season.

JJ and Kyle have changed a lot of their tactics over the past three years as they have tracked and learned more about P Splitty. Being open to learning, willing to adapt, and determined persistence led them to be able to harvest this 170 ⅜ inch 7-year-old Illinois giant.

Gear Used:

Winchester SX3

Leupold

Winchester firearm

Winchester Deer Season XP

Nomad

Tenzing

Reconyx

BioLogic

Scent Crusher