October 24: Mark Drury

Pike revisited...

This year I had an opportunity to go back where it all began....Pike County Illinois.

October 18-20, I had a wonderful weekend hunt with Taylor and Kyle McClellan of the St. Louis Cardinals with Stacey Ward and the gang at Hadley Creek Outfitters. We saw countless number of deer and a few good bucks were on their feet. When Taylor headed back to school and Kyle headed back to St. Louis, I decided to check out a farm with Stacey and guide Chris McDonald. I based my decision around very slow movement both in Missouri and Iowa. Terry and I have not seen a mature deer on their feet since the first week of October. In fact, we haven’t seen any racked bucks at all! I really felt something was about to pop in Illinois.

I sat in a couple of observatory box blinds that were strategically placed to overlook a huge bean field. After watching the farm for two nights, we decided to move in on one particular 5x5 with forked G-2s. We moved down a long finger ridge where we thought the deer were coming from and started to find huge scrapes, forearm sized rubs, and monstrous tracks. I quickly recognized a pinch point on the ridge and decided to hang a double set. With a WSW wind coming, we had the perfect wind for a morning hunt on October 25th.

We slid into the new set at about 6:15 am, and by 6:45 we had the first shooter on us. Over the next 60 min, we had 8 different bucks within bow range. The largest of which was by my estimation a 5 ½ or 6 ½ yr old 8 pt. The buck stepped out at 50 yards and slowly but surely walked to 25 yards and gave me a dead broadside shot. The Rage tipped Carbon Force 100 found its mark and the buck expired within seconds.

It was awesome getting back to where it all began there in Pike County Illinois. It had been some 8 years since I had taken a buck with my bow in the county where we had learned so much about whitetail deer and their tendencies. It was kind of cool depending on interpretation of sign and observed movement to crash in and kill this buck. No cameras, no long history with the farm, just good ole whitetail 101 basics. I don't know which buck made that huge track that I found, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it was this big 8 point that I was lucky enough to harvest!

As far as the 5x5 with the fork G-2s, I didn't have a chance to see him but Terry is headed there now to see what plays out. The movement was so good that we would be crazy not to go where the deer are on their feet! Anybody that is in Illinois right now should be in for a "Treat" for the last week of October!

A big thank you to all the gang at Hadley Creek. I can’t wait to go back.