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I was excited all summer and into this fall knowing I was going to get to spend time again this year at Hadley Creek Outfitters in Pike County, ILL. What is not to love about that place?! Excellent lodging, great food, fantastic guides… oh ya, and some good ole deer hunting!

For Bow Madness (Season 5 – to air in 2012), Jared and I thought we would do a little friendly competition… hunting private ground vs. outfitted, Iowa vs. Illinois, Jared vs. Justin… could it get any better?! Well, as luck would have it, you can see that I struck first, but I know my brother won’t be that far behind!!

I was able to get a family friend to come film with me this year, Wade Joggerest (son of Mike “Yapper” Joggerst on our team). I was very thankful he was able to join me this year and bring me some good luck! Wade and I had an awesome week over at Hadley. We met some great people all across the country and just enjoyed our time there. We saw a ton of deer and this deer would end up being the 5th “shooter” we had seen for the week.

November 9th started out to be a windy, rainy day and it had rained most of the day on the 8th as well. As our guide, Justin Waack, was taking us to our stand in the timber, it was still raining, so we started off in a box blind (to preserve the camera equipment) over a biologic maximum food plot that was 150 yards away from our tree stand location. Wade and I witnessed a nice 8 pointer coming onto the edge of the field dogging a doe & we knew we had to get into the timber ASAP.

The rain stopped around 1st light so we made the move and were set up in our tree by 7am. Not long after that, we saw our first movement. We saw a big mature 10 pointer tending a doe. When she took a step, he took one. When she would try to go one way, he would run in front and cut her off. I was just hoping he would push her our way, but they only got within 56 yards of our tree & he chased her off.

It’s tough (if not impossible) to call a mature deer off a doe like that, but I wasn’t sure that she was “in”, so I used the MAD Hypergrowl and was able to growl in a nice 3 year old and another 2 year old. Then all of the sudden, the mature 10 point came running down the ridge and chased them off (all of this was about 90 yards in front of us). Then I spotted movement out of the corner of my eye… it was a mature doe walking in front of our stand. Looking behind her I noticed this mature 8pt on her trail and I told Wade “Shooter, Shooter coming”.

By the time Wade got the camera up, this mature 8pt was 10 yards broadside directly in my shooting lane. I knew I couldn’t shoot as we had no footage of him, so I let him walk away from us a bit (hoping for a quartering away shot) and stopped him at 22 yards. Wade called me off as there was a tree between him & the deer. I tried stopping him again at 30, 35 & 40 yards, but to no avail… he had something else on his mind!

They ended up walking up the ridge with not a worry on their mind. You don’t get many opportunities like that (10 yard broadside shot) so I just knew that was our chance & we blew it, but I wasn’t about to take a shot on a deer we had no footage of.

As I was texting my brother to tell him of the encounter (before I could hit send), I spotted movement on our downwind side. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

It was the same doe with the mature 8 point right behind her (the mature 10 must have turned them around at the top of the ridge).

Was I going to get a 2nd chance to make this happen? Wade got on him immediately as he was 50 yards away. He was on the doe’s trail that just walked thru my shooting lane (on our downwind side). Thanks to Scentblocker for the great product they make as he continued to walk thru our wind to give me a wide open 35 yard quartering away shot. I squeezed the trigger and watched my Lumenok blow right through both lungs… perfect shot. He ran 75 yards and piled up.

As I was turning to Wade to give my reaction, we heard a grunt… I looked in that direction & guess what, the mature 10 point we uncounted earlier that day was on the same trail as the doe & the mature 8 that I just shot. He stopped 30 yards away in my shooting lane standing broadside to me & I was wishing I had another tag in my pocket, but I didn’t so we had to let him go for another lucky hunter! What a day! Thank you Hadley Creek Outfitters for a great trip!!

You would think something like this would be the highlight of my week, right? But as I got home to see my girls late that evening, I was looking forward to another major event… our 20 week doctor appointment. On 11/11/11, Mindy, Liv and I found out that we will be welcoming another little girl into our lives!! She is due on 3/31/12! I am so blessed to have a loving family that lets me pursue this Madness, so Mindy, Liv & baby girl Lurk… THANK you for all your support, I love you very much!

-Justin