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October 31: Keith Kuehn

November 1st was here and I had not been hunting yet this fall. To say I was anticipating this hunt was an understatement. My hunting partner Rod Wilson and I arrived in Illinois for the evening hunt and I was the first one up to bat. Rod had several pictures of a large 10 point working a scrape right under the big oak we were hung in.

The night started off slowly. The movement we had anticipated did not happen. It quickly approached dark and I had only a brief glance of a doe that entered the field but left soon after.

I just started a discussion with Rod if he had any filming light left and assumed the first hunt of the year was in the books. Just then I heard that wonderful crunch crunch crunch of the leaves heading straight at us. In the woods the light was so poor I could not make out what the deer was. As he stepped closer I could see the white of antlers bobbing up and down with each step and knew it was a buck. A few steps closer and I knew it was the buck. It all happened so fast as always, I grabbed the bow, came to full draw, confirmed Rod had the buck on camera, stopped him, and released the arrow. I was not sure I hit him as I lost the arrow in flight. I arrowed another and clearly missed over his back with the second before he scooted out of range.

Just out of range the buck stopped and hunched up. Then I knew the first arrow had hit its mark but where. We slipped out of the tree and went back to camp and reviewed the tape but still could not be sure so the longest night of my life started. The next morning I waited for Rod to complete a short morning hunt and we went to look for my buck. I found the arrow, a complete pass through. Looked like liver blood to me. We went to the location the buck had stood for so long the night before and found good blood. A few more steps and I saw tines sticking up 70 yards away along the corn field. My 2009 bow season was over in one hunt and we were standing over the biggest deer of my life.

To Rod, thanks again for letting me enjoy your Illinois farm with you. To my son Adam who has made sure everyone knows he had taken a bigger whitetail than dad, look who's in second place now!!!