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In mid Oct. the Chiago Whitesox's own Jim Thome gave me a call and asked if I would be willing to come up and join him on an early season "doe" hunt.Well as any baseball fan would do I thought about it for oh about a nanosecond before I agreed to make the trip.Anyone that knows Jim can tell you he is a passionate baseball player but as much as he loves baseball I think deer hunting atleast shares an equal piece of the pie in his heart.His excitement for deer hunting is infectious! When talking with him about the trip I found myself counting down the days! The day finally came and off to Lodge 25 I went with high hopes of taking several does before the weekend ended.

Evening one in the stand would change our outlook on what we expected to try and harvest that weekend.Before the weekend was over Jim had passed on a couple of real fine bucks,one that still to be honest, kinda haunts me.A solid 8 point that was certainly in the 140's and maybe a tick higher.Jim knew he had some giants on the farm and was bound and determined to lay claim to one of them.When the weekend was done I left with an invite to come back during the late IL muzzleloader season.Jim will tell you in a hurry this is his favorite time to hunt.
Dec.11th rolled around and I was again pointing the truck north for the 3 hour trip to the lodge.To be honest the weatherman was not telling us what we wanted to hear.Friday a high pressure cool day was going to be in place but after that it was suppose to warm up over 20 degrees and be very windy with storms for the rest of the weekend.It looked as though this was to have to happen on friday or the season was going to be literally a wash!

Friday afternoon we put our heads together to pick what we thought was going to be our absolute best opportunity to get a big one within range.The blind we picked was the exact blind Jim had shot his buck in during the earlier shotgun season.Our plan was to have Jim's brother Randy take us in right to the blind in the truck at 1:45 p.m. drop us out and then if unsuccessful,drive right in and pick us up at dark and let the truck rather then us push the deer off the field in an effort to not spook deer getting out of the blind.Well as it turns out that effort,atleast the at dark part,wasn't needed.Less then 15 minutes after Randy drove off the first deer hit the field.After that it was a free for all! Deer were coming in at the plot from every angle.By 2:30 the first buck hit the field and it was a dandy 4 year old 8 point.Jim elected to pass him,as I have now become accustomed to,so we sat back and watched the show.At right around 3:00 Jim said here comes a big one! One look and I knew this was a shooter even by Jim's standards! Jim looked him over real well and said ," I am going to shoot this one!" Those were the words I had been waiting to hear him say all year! With the Thompson Center in hand Jim put a perfect heart shot on the IL giant and he ran only a few yards before going down in the field on camera! There was no ground shrinkage on this guy,Jim had just harvested a 171" giant to close out his IL season.Man am I glad he didn't listen to me and shoot that deer in October! Thanks Jim it was a blast!