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November 13 found Keith and I back in Illinois still on cloud nine from dads giant 181 several days earlier. Little did I know as I headed out for the morning hunt I would soon experience the best morning of my life in the deer woods.

Soon after sun up a doe came walking down the ridge and to my delight a 170 class 10 point was on her trail. The two stayed out of range and held up in the hollow below me. I grunted at the buck to try and bring him up the hill but he would not budge. My grunt did not go ignored though, as a young 8 point came crashing in. This did get the attention of the big 10 and up the hill he came to run off the younger deer. The two circled and postured each other and although he was in range and I was at full draw the old buck never stepped into an opening. Soon the young 8 pt retreated and back down the hill the victorious 10 pt strolled.

I knew I had missed my opportunity. I turned to my cameraman and as I was halfway through crying in my soup about the missed opportunity I heard a dear walking on the other side of the tree. I peeked around the tree and could not believe my eyes as anther giant buck was headed straight for us. We quickly regrouped and within seconds the deer was at 20 yards. I stopped the buck and the rage broad head entered right behind the shoulder. I had just killed one of my biggest bow bucks ever and I could not believe what had just happened within a few minutes time. But, this hunt keeps going.

As my cameraman and I are celebrating a great hunt and a great buck we were interrupted by the sound of deer crashing through the woods. I see four does are heading straight for us. I have an unfilled doe tag in my pack so I pick the big lead doe and at 20 yards send an arrow through her heart, she goes down at 50 yards. I turn to my cameraman and as I am describing what just happened my cameraman stops me and says here hears grunts behind him. I look around the tree and and about fall out of my stand. The does were in a hurry because at giant 170 class 8 point is pushing them. I know this deer well and believe him to be 8 or 9 years old. I can't believe it. He strolls in to 15 yards and stands there staring down the does that were still trying to figure out what had happened.

The big buck slowly made his way to the does and noticed the doe I had shot laying on the ground a short distance away. He walked to her and stood by her as if waiting for her to get up. In the meantime the other three does made there way back to the tree I was in. As I am watching the giant buck standing guard over the downed doe I here a deer crashing in off the field edge. Another mature buck enters the scene. As the giant 8 point stood vigil over the downed doe at 50 yards this 145-150 inch 10 point chased the other three does around right behind the tree. Within a few minutes the 10 point and does were off running through the woods and the big 8 point realized there was no romance in store for him and he slowly walked off into the hollow. That concluded the best deer hunt of my life and I was off to collect my buck and doe.

I know this sounds like a "deer hunting story". I killed a 161 inch buck and he was only the third biggest buck I saw in a 20 minute time span. I don't even know if Keith and my dad would have believed me. So, my thanks to Jeff Elbl for doing a great job behind the camera and laying all this down on video. Thanks to you Jeff I will enjoy this morning over and over again!

Talk about a trip around the world over 500 miles.  Joe and Dog left Illinois to check out a Missouri farm that Team members Rod and Keith were kind enough to let them hunt.  After checking out the farm for Joe’s wife, Pam, and Dog’s daughter, Alisha, it was time for a pit stop at Dog’s North Missouri farm. 

With Dog having a Missouri tag in his pocket, they decided to hunt a set the next morning.  The set was hung for structure and from an inside tip that Terry Drury gave him during turkey season.  Joe and Dog did not have to wait long.  Just after day break Joe spotted a buck in the green field.  As the buck began to scent check the timber, dog gave two soft grunts and the buck turned and came straight into the timber.  After the buck stood his ground checking the area for the grunt that he had heard, he made the fatal mistake of walking within 20 yards of Dog.  So with the PSE in hand, dog was able to put down his 2nd buck of the year.  With 2 days before Missouri gun season, Joe and Dog cannot wait to put the girls in front of the camera!

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Opening morning of rifle season found me like every other hunter in Missouri – facing a very stiff North West wind. I sat until mid morning with very little movement. I decided to get down and go to a spot that was about 500 yards away from where I had seen some movement during bow season. I snuck in and started setting up an Ameristep ground blind. While I was setting up the blind, a 135-140” 10 point walked by and didn’t even look. There’s no doubt the rut is going on when that happens! I sat in the blind until mid day, broke for lunch, then headed back around 2. As I settled in the blind for the evening hunt, I got a text from Terry saying he had killed a monstrous 10. The good news had us on high alert and anxious to see what the evening held.

At about 3:45 I saw a shooter come out at over 800 yards away. I thought he could have been a mature 9 point I had a lot of Reconyx photos of, but I wasn’t sure. He disappeared into a drainage that led towards us. About 30 minutes later some does bounced out of the drainage. They had been chased out by the buck who then stepped out at 175 yards. I hit the horns together and came in on string. He gave me at 75 yard shot after which he ran 50 yards and piled up. I immediately shared the story with Terry. What a great opening day! Our memories aren’t what they used to be, but I can’t remember a time when Terry and I both harvested bucks on opening day of any season.
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