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Dave told me this summer that I was going to get to hunt the magical bean field this year for early season muzzleloader, so I was stoked! I made sure to buy my tag within a few days of them going on sale, so I didn’t miss out like I did last year. Finally opening day of muzzleloader season came and we hiked our way into the shooting house overlooking the field. Dave got up the ladder first and discovered that mice had taken over the shooting house and tore up every carpet, insulation, and basically anything they could get their paws on besides the fact that the smell was horrible. We weren’t pleased, but opened the windows and aired it out and sat down to watch what would come to this freshly picked cornfield.

A group of young bucks made their way to the field first, a spike, a fork horn and two other small bucks. They made their way across the field and went to get a drink from the nearby creek. No sooner had they disappeared from view and I saw our next animal. It was a coyote and then I saw 4 other coyotes making their way into the field. They pranced all over the field and even found a lone doe and chased her off before one of the coyotes plopped down in the middle of the corn field. I was half tempted to take one of the dogs, but didn’t want to ruin what might still be left of the hunt. They finally made their way out of our view and the wait was on again. A big doe made her way into the far corner of the field next and I watched her closely as she kept looking behind her.

All of sudden my Nikons were full of antlers. “Big Buck!” I whispered to Dave as he jumped to life getting the camera ready. I got the gun up and dialed the scope back to so I could get a better view of him. I ranged him and he was at 165 yards. I was going to wait a bit to see if he would come closer but no sooner had I decided that and the buck started to walk away towards the woods. So I got ready, dialed the scope in, Dave stopped the buck with a little doe bleet, and I let the TC Encore do its work. The buck didn’t even walk one step, he dropped in his tracks. This buck is a reward for all of the hard hunting that I did last year. I was 6-8 months pregnant during last hunting season, but I climbed so many trees last year trying to get my first bow buck and also muzzleloader hunting in Illinois with no buck to show for it. I never hunted so much as I did last year with no reward, so I am counting this as my reward!