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As told by Sergeant Major Glen Simpson

SITUATION: 15 October 2008, West Central Illinois, NNW winds at 12 M.P.H, 65 degrees

MISSION: Seek-out and harvest an early season Illinois shooter, without being detected and without mission failure!

EXECUTION: As the trees begin to change from summer green to their beautiful fall colors only one thing comes to mind…those giant bucks of my home state of Illinois.

Over the past several months Chris and I had made several trips to my lease property in Schuyler county Illinois with the primary mission to set new stand locations and to put out several Reconyx cameras around the property.

The value of time spent in reconnaissance through the use of Reconyx surveillance is invaluable as the pictures of deer came flowing in each and every trip. The pictures received were proof positive that some cameras were in the right locations as others needed to move! So on the last trip before the October season rolled in we adjusted the last of the cameras and stands in hopes of coming back the second week of October to harvest a shooter buck in the early season. With a week trip planned between 12-18 October all that was left to do was load up the camper and the back of the truck and head west to the Land of the Giants of Illinois.

With everything packed we pulled out of the driveway and left Kentucky with the rising sun in the rear view mirrors. The anticipation of getting to Schuyler county made the six hour trip seem like an eternity but we made our way across Indiana and into Illinois in good time and arrived at our final destination with plenty of day-light to shoot our bows and take inventory on the Reconyx cameras.

Pulling the cards we left for Dad’s to check the footage only to be amazed that we had captured several nice bucks on a particular camera with one buck being a very mature ten point that we estimated to be in the 150’s. Unfortunately, all the pictures of this buck were during the hours of limited visibility and the stand to hunt him out of needed to be a North or Northwest wind.

With a west wind, the first couple of days were spent perched up big walnut trees in the bottom stands on the south part of the property. However, the morning of the third day we woke to a Northwest wind….but heavy rain as a low pressure system blew through and washed out the entire morning. With the rising creek, the possibilities of getting in the bottom stands were gone as were my spirits of getting in my north wind stands for a late afternoon hunt as the rain continued to fall.

Finally around 1500 (3:00 P.M.) the heavy rain subsided down to showers and after a little coaxing from my cameraman we were off to hunt what we’ve come to label “the corn hole stand.” This stand is on a ridge sandwiched between a corn field in the north and a lush clover field in the south and the same stand that we captured the nice 150’ on Reconyx just a few days earlier.

We arrived to the stand and were mission ready at 1600 (4:00 P.M.). The next hour brought scattered rain showers with no deer movement but we were confident that deer would be up on their feet soon as they had been down all night and morning due to heavy rain.

The first deer movement came in the form of a small six point that came running by the stand at 1745 (5:45 P.M.). At 1815 (6:15 P.M.), we heard what sounded like a deer jumping the fence to our Northwest. Could it be him? The disappointment set in when a doe appeared at the edge of the timber and CRP. She slowly made her way toward the cornfield as the sound that was heard next was unmistakable! A loud snort-wheeze came from the same location that the doe had just come from. Could this be happening? Could this actually be a doe coming into estrus in Mid-October and better yet…is this the giant from the Reconyx?

The doe continued on her course that brought her directly in front of us and as she stopped and looked back they appeared at the north edge of the timber! It was him…the giant 10 pointer and he wasn’t alone! There was another buck with him a solid eight point and they were both tracking the same doe. This was happening…and the tactical advantage was in our favor as there was the doe almost at the edge of the corn and the bucks shielded behind a small but very leafy white oak tree. If I could get drawn early and without the doe seeing me I knew I would have the advantage.

The giant buck charged the smaller eight point running him under the white oak as he then continued on his course towards his prize or in this case his demise. I quickly checked the doe and found her unaware of our position so I drew back my PSE X Force and waited for him to clear the leafy white oak and step farther out for an over the shoulder shot at twenty-five yards. Once I heard my cameraman say he had him, I stopped him…settled the pin behind his shoulder… and let loose the fury of the rage tipped arrow at lightning speed. The buck took the full impact and all that came with it as the arrow hit its mark! The buck spun and ran underneath the stand running full force down the hill dropping off camera in a deep ravine. So deep that it took us almost 3 hours to get him out as the rains began to fall again.

Mission complete! Until next time… waiting for helicopter extraction and follow-on orders.

P.S. As always, let’s all keep our Soldiers and their families in our hearts and prayers and especially our fellow Drury Outdoors team member and my best friend, Command Sergeant Major Ken Barteau and his Soldiers. God Speed!