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A trip up to Illinois to Jim Thome’s farm during the second shotgun season starts this story. There were many great friends in camp, giving it the more traditional hunting camp atmosphere and reminding us all what it is really about. We had the ball players Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye, his chiropractor and trainer Corey and Terry, Jim’s brothers Randy and Chuck, and then the camera men Arron Bennett and me Tim Seigler, oh yeah Terry Drury was there too. With all these people in camp we knew that something big was going to get knocked down that weekend. Hunt after hunt we came in and no one had connected yet. A few had good encounters but nothing quite mature enough or close enough.

As the Saturday evening hunt rolled around with sunny skies and halfway warm temperatures, Jim, Corey and I decided to sit on a green field surrounded by cover that leads to a fresh cut corn field. This was going to be Corey’s first ever deer hunt also, so we had his luck with us. With the wind right and all other conditions pointing to this spot I knew we made the right call. After we got settled in the stand it was not long before the deer started to pile on to the field, one doe, two does, five does, it was not long and we had 15 deer in the field. Then Corey said buck, BIG BUCK! As I filmed this deer walking onto the green field I knew he was big, but Jim and I were not sure if he was at least 5 or older. Then the deer gave us a little better look, he was 6 or seven and had 160 inches of horn to show off! As the the deer worked closer we knew we were going to get him, so we waited ever so patiently until the deer got into our roundhouse, but right as he approached the deer got the drop on us somehow and escaped. We were deflated, but we knew we still had late muzzleloader season coming up.

As muzzleloader season approached Jim, Corey and I headed back to camp for another round. It was just us this time and we had a chip on our shoulder and had to knock a big one down to get it off. We arrived that Thursday and bow hunted...we saw two shooters but nothing in range.  The following hunts with the gun went about the same way, seeing shooters or near shooters just not close or old enough.

That Saturday was a little different then the previous Saturday when we sat on green. The weather was cold and cloudy with falling temperatures. The decision we made was to sit on a knob overlooking a standing bean field that has a ditch opening up to it with some of the nastiest cover you can find. I told Jim if we were to kill a 200 inch buck it would be in this spot. We knew the evening was going to be good so we got in early and it seemed slow until around 3:15 we had  several does working through the timber and towards the beans. Then around 3:30 Corey and his knack for spotting the big bucks rang out once again BIG BUCK, BIG BIG BIG BUCK!! As Jim and I fixed our attention on this deer we immediately knew he was a monster. The buck was trailing two young does through the timber towards us and he was coming at a steady pace. The two does jumped a creek and bolted for the field, I knew our shot was going to be as soon as the deer cleared the creek, so we had to get repositioned in the blind to allow Jim a shot out of the side window. The deer went broadside and the shot rang out... and all we really saw was smoke. With it slightly raining and more rain coming we decided to go and look for blood, we found blood, more blood and then after looking just over the creek bank Jim saw him piled up. It was time to celebrate. After dragging the deer out we got to sit back and reminisce about the hunt, we watched the footage with Jim’s brother Randy probably a half dozen times and laughed harder at our reactions every time. The deer turned out to be Jim's biggest ever...the biggest I have ever filmed and Corey's first hunt with a kill. A great time was had by all in camp and we can’t wait to pull off a repeat next year.


As told by cameraman: Tim Seigler