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January 7: Kyle McClellan

I headed up to Pike Country Illinois not knowing what to expect for a late season hunt and what I got was a pleasant surprise.

I have been going to Hadley Creek for 3 years now and every time I go I fall more and more in love with it. I went to Hadley twice during the early season and ran into unseasonably warm weather both trips. We saw a lot of deer but mostly young deer. When I realized that I had one weekend left before I had to leave for spring training I knew I wanted one last chance up there and it paid off. Tim and I had hunted for two days thru a snow storm and extremely cold temperatures and hadn’t had luck seeing a mature buck which is common in late season. Saturday night our luck changed. We were sitting in a box blind on a fresh cut corn field and our guide Jared told us that there was a mid 150’s with a split G2 to be on the look out for. We started to see very little action at about 4:30. At 5:00 I looked off into the woods and saw a group of 4 does and 3 bucks. The split G2 buck was the last of the 3. It took him about 15 minutes to wander out of the woods and come into the field where we had a chance to get a shot. Right before he came into the field I had to move from a chair to my knees because of the shot angle. Once I got down to my knees I got a cramp in my right hamstring and almost blew the opportunity. Luckily I was able to keep the noise down and the three does that were 15 yards in front of me didn’t bust us. Once our buck walked into the field he gave us a good 30 yard broadside shot but when I tried to stop him he didn’t stop. He eventually turned around and headed back towards the woods but before he got there I got my 30 yard broadside shot and didn’t miss it. We let him lay for an hour and went and recovered him 150 yards away.

This was a hunt where a plan came together perfectly. We harvested the deer that we went in the stand looking for and that’s not an easy thing to do in January. Jared and the other guides at Hadley really do their homework and gave me the best chance to be successful. I’m glad that our guide was wrong about one thing... the buck wasn’t a mid 150’s he was a high 160’s. I cant thank Michelle and Stacey Ward enough for having us up to Hadley Creek Outfitters. I look forward to having more stories in the future to share.