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It was 4:30pm on the first weekend of Illinois gun season and the deer gods had blessed me with a southeast wind, just what I needed to crawl into a very familiar stand. Out into the cut cornfield he walked, a giant deer at 70 yards just like he read the script. The giant was in full velvet, it was quite a site. The Thompson Center found its mark and my IL gun season was over as fast as it started with a 180 inch buck on the ground. BUT, that is just the end of the story.

The deer was named Goliath, a name given to him in the 2009 season. We had been watching Goliath since he was two, then a beautiful 12pt three year old, then he grew to a disappointing mid 150's four year old. We knew this deer would be good some day, but we never saw what happened in 2009 coming. At five he exploded into a 200 inch giant. The crazy thing about watching this buck is we never saw him once in the day light hours during bow season. But like clock work as the gun season rolled around this buck would show up in the same field to feed every day, early. In 2008 Keith passed this deer three nights in a row first gun season.

2009 was no different than previous years. No sign of Goliath during the bow season but a 100 trail camera photos of him. So flash back one year ago to the day as I crawled into the same box blind overlooking the same field, as crazy as it sounds, I knew I was going to kill a 200 inch deer. What should have been the best hunt of my life turned into a nightmare as my slug just grazed the front of his chest at 85 yards. A year long state of depression set in. On a January trip to the farm as I was driving by the food plot I noticed something, as I got closer I knew exactly what it was, a shed from Goliath laying not 10 yards from where I had missed him. Now I was obsessed with finding the other side. After a couple of failed attempts on my part I gathered a group of 8 guys to go try and find his other shed. As we arrived at the lodge Keith points out the window of his truck and laying in the yard of my lodge is the other shed of Goliath. I am thinking this deer is taunting me. It was great to have both sheds on one hand, but on the other it confirmed that I had blown a chance at a 204 inch whitetail.

As the 2010 season approached I could not wait to see if Goliath would show up on trail camera. Just like before there he was, we thought he might be smaller but it did not matter, he was big and he was back. Then unlike before he disappeared. No pictures all through bow season, I was out of my mind. So the week before the Il gun season was to start, out of desperation, I just hung cameras around the food plot. Getting to the farm early that Thursday to check the cameras I could not believe my eyes. There is Goliath, 4:30 in the evening, 4 out of 5 days. So, back to the beginning of my story, as Friday evening approached I knew I would have a chance to write the final chapter to this story. A story that I will never forget and this year it did turn out to be one of the greatest hunts of my life.