Brad Stricker had been after a buck he named Sweet Pea for the entire season.

He saw the buck three times, but never could get close enough to harvest the brute. That all changed when the Illinois gun season opened. 

It was the first morning of the first shotgun season, and Stricker was armed with his Winchester SX3. The night before, he went through all of his trail camera pictures, to try and figure out where the mature buck may have been. The last picture he had was from the day before, 100-yards from a stand he had rarely hunted. So, on opening morning he and camera man Mitch Hessel went to a Muddy blind in the area he frequented most. 

They had some movement early, but no Sweet Pea. Stricker told Hessel, “If he shows today, it will be between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm. At 11:09, Hessel tapped Stricker on the leg, “He is right here and I am not joking!” Hessel had spotted Sweet Pea outside of his window, 20-yards away. 

A mad scramble occurred, and Stricker got on the buck and fired. The time it took from when they first saw the buck until the shot was a mere 22-seconds. The buck ran a short distance and piled up. Stricker finally had his hands on his largest whitetail to date!

-Ryan Miloshewski, DeerCast Senior Writer