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South Side Sammy....

Usually when Illinois gun season rolls around, I just kind of cringe thinking that the rut is winding down and bow hunting is going to get a whole lot tougher for the next two months..however, this year was going to be different. Our farm is bow hunting only (landowner's decision..not mine :) ! ) so we are always looking to find a spot when the guns start blazing. Rewind back to springtime, at the NRA sports show in St. Louis and we met up with some great guys from Illinois Extreme Whitetails in Brown and Adams county Illinois. Shawn and Joel offered an invite and we jumped at the opportunity.

In the Summer, we headed north to check things out and judging by the deer hanging in the fabulous lodge, we knew we could be in for a treat. Kolesar and I split on county tags, allowing us to hunt as many of the farms as possible. Opening morning, JJ was up to bat b/c we were in Adams county, we saw a lot of deer but nothing close enough for a shot. That evening we headed to a different farm in Brown county, so it was going to be my turn. We had been in the stand about an hour (with the sun shining down making it kinda difficult to keep my eyelids open) when all of a sudden 2 does came screaming down the fence line with a giant in tow right behind them. Despite the buck being about 700 yards away, my heart was pumping like he was 7 yards instead of 700. I remember thinking "that buck is alll I want for Christmas".

About a half hour later, a doe steps out into the food plot for a brief moment before vanishing back into the brush. I couldn't help but think that the big boy could be right behind. I gave out a few loud grunts on the MAD call and a few minutes later the ol boy came out and starting working over a small tree in his frustration at the grunt. As soon as he did, I asked JJ if we was on him, knowing I was not going to let a deer of this caliber get away. When he said yes the T/C roared and the buck kicked heading back into the brush. We met back up with the guys from Illinois Extreme Whitetails to pursue the track job and I saw him not 75 yards away from where he was shot. I also found out that neighbor Dan had numerous trail cam pics of this buck as well that he was willing to share. I was pumped to finally get my hands on this deer and cannot thank Joel and Shawn enough for their hospitality. We have hunted so many outfitters in Illinois it would make your head spin, from the biggest to the smallest, but I can honestly say these guys were the most prepared and diligent we have ever come across. I couldn't wait to get back to camp and show off the buck and see the several other great deer already hanging at the lodge. Hoping muzzle loader season treats JJ as well and cant wait to head back in a few weeks. Good luck to everyone! ~Kyle