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December 8: Matt Drury

"Patience is a Virtue"

Been a tough season as I eluded to in my previous journal entry back in November!  You would have thought with colder temps ushering in that it might have changed the deer movement, but for the larger part it really hasn't.  Of course there is the exception...a Giant here or there may fall.  But for the most part the movment hasn't been quite what we had hoped for.  Just not seeing the deer numbers in general.  

Illinois has continued to be a tough state to figure out.  By all accounts (talking to other teams and reading articles regarding the topic) the state is down as a whole from year to date on harvest numbers.  With the 2nd Illinois shotgun season coming into play last week we were aiming to get even! 

This year we got in on a lease in Fulton Co IL and were extremely excited about the potential based on the Reconyx pics and sheds picked up.  The unfortunate part happened once EHD set in to the area during late summer.  Two years in a row pretty much wiped out the deer herd.  We still had a couple of "Jim Dandy's" as dad would say.  But just nockturnal as could be.  Main movement on the Reconyx cams was from 1-4am.  

What can you do, but go out and sit and hope that one decides to move daylight and feed with the extremely brutal temps.  They have to eat.  Just hope that it happens during daylight while you have a gun in hand :)  So we sat a Big Game Redemption Ground Blind on a picked corn field the farmer harvested about a week earlier and waited.....and waited.....and froze.....and waited.  See a pattern?  Lol.  Tough sits when you aren't seeing deer.  We had hunted our spot for 3 days of the 4 day season and saw next to zero deer.  

Meanwhile, over at Jim Thome's place he had killed an absolute giant on Saturday afternoon...giving us all hope that it might start kicking in!  The big cold front brought in snow on Sunday so dad and I decided to change plans and both sit on a 60 acre piece he owns (instead of me sitting the lease).  He had been hunting his 60 acres for the previous 3 days and hadn't really saw much.  But it was our last afternoon hunt so he took the box blind in the bottom field on the cut corn...and I got the top field on the picked beans and Biologic.  

It wasn't long and we started seeing deer as the snow was coming down.  I could tell it was going to be a good night.  We ended up seeing 25 or 30 deer between 2pm and last light...just happened to be in the right spot!  Well at 4:30pm this guy showed up with some does at the end of the field slowly feeding and as soon as I put my Nikon ProStaff's on him I knew he was a legitemit shooter!  Something I don't often get to say :)  I put the bino's down and picked up the Thompson Center Omega and proceeded to find him in my scope.  As soon as he stepped onto the field a little further and gave me a good broad side shot I stopped him and let the TC do the rest!  Dropped him right there and the rest was history.  

He had 13" G2's.  25" main beams, close to 20" spread and great mass measurments all the way through!  We kept adding and adding and I honestly couldn't beleive it when it all stopped.  A main frame 8 point that reaches the 160's is a giant.  I was ecstatic! 

My best deer to date by far and to do it after a fun weekend over at Lodge Two Five with dad, Dillon, Jim, Ryan, Koop and Timmy....was fun for all involved!  A lot of eating....a lot of strategizing....a ton of laughing and at the end of the 4 days we had two Illinois studs on the ground.  Couldn't ask for much more.  

Safe hunting to those of you still grinding it out!  Patience is a virtue...it can certainly happen.  Just try not to get too discouraged.  It can always turn around at any minute!  

-Matthew W. Drury