November 3: Bart Goins

What a rollercoaster ride the last three years have been for Blair and I. So many dreams have come true for this southern boy, including this story that I am about to share. Since I was a little kid, I always dreamed about two things: hunting on tv, and killing my first gross Boone and Crockett buck. With hard work and God’s blessings, I can now say I have accomplished both.

Eight months ago, Blair and I started seeking a lease of our own in Illinois. For the last couple years we have hunted Illinois through friends and outfitters. This year we decided we wanted our own lease to see what we could do on our own. Our efforts led us to a 600 acre tract in Brown County IL. Throughout the summer months we ran several Reconyx cameras, prepared and planted food plots, and put up stands and box blinds. The grunt work was not easy, but we were determined to make our new lease the best we could.

Opening week of season I hunted our new farm for seven days. I seen several of the named shooters we had on the farm, but just could not get them within bow range. Our biologic plots had turned out beautiful and I could not wait to hunt the farm the remainder of the year. Just before I left the first week, I decided to put a Reconyx over at the far west end of the farm. One problem… I didn’t know where or what to put it over. Like a good ole southern redneck I made my own scrape, urinated in it and left the Reconyx ☺. This played a huge role into killing this buck.

October 26 rolled in and I was packed up headed straight north to our lease. I was so jacked up about hunting the rut; I could have run through a brick wall! The very first morning of the hunt, I look up and one of our big shooters is coming right at us. We nicknamed the deer Kodak. He is a 175 inch frame 10 point with several kickers. He is a giant to say the least! I missed Kodak that morning at 34 yards. My arrow had hit a limb in front of him, which caused my arrow to land about 6 feet below him. To say I was dejected is an understatement. As he trotted off into the draw, my heart sank below my feet. In a matter of 3 minutes I had seen and shot at one of the largest deer we have on Reconyx. The next 8 days were hard. Some hunts we saw a ton of deer and other hunts we didn’t see hardly any. I had so many shooters on camera… Where were they? The full moon was definitely not helping my hunts. I stayed positive and persistent regardless.

After the morning hunt of November 4, I decided to go check the Reconyx on the far west end of the property that I had set out back first of October. You know, over the scrape that I made ☺. The scrape was tore up with over 1000 pictures taken on it. One of which was a huge main frame 10 point with a drop tine. He had been on that scrape morning and evening the previous two days! I recognized several of the bucks in the photos, but there were two new shooters on it. This buck was one of the two. He was definitely mature! The game plan was set and looks like we were going to be in the hot seat that evening. The only problem was, when I hung the set back in October, I did have anything right then to trim limbs around the set. I sure wasn’t about to then either with all the recent pictures.

We were tucked into the set by 2 P.M waiting for the unknown drop tine buck. The wind was marginal, but was suppose to switch southeast for the next three days. Southeast would totally bump us from hunting the hot scrape during that time. I was a little worried about the east wind we had, but I was covered in Scentblocker head to toe. I also sprayed with TI4 every thirty minutes! This made me feel a little better. The evening started out pretty slow. A little after 4, I decided to let out a few grunts from the Hypergrowl. Within seconds of putting the call down, I could hear a deer coming through the thicket towards the scrape. The scrape was on a field edge. As soon as the deer came into the field I could definitely see who it was. He was at 60 yards and was closing the gap fast. I had one good hole to shoot through. When he stepped in it he was 24 yards and looked like a buick! I released the arrow and immediately could see the arrow was right on line. As he was running off, I heard my cameraman saying I wasn’t on him good! Turns out the buck had slightly gone behind a tree for him. He had called me off of him, but I had simply gotten mixed up. Big brother could not take off work during that time so I had gotten another guy to film me. I was a little upset about the footage at first, but that’s reality of filming hunts. We do everything possible to get these big bucks on video day in and day out.. It always doesn’t work out perfectly. It hardly ever does actually! I was excited that I had just killed the biggest buck of my life!

We decided to give the deer over night just in case. I knew I had lethal shot, but I just like to play it safe- big Midwest bucks are tough!! After a sleepless night, we were there searching the next morning. It was raining and had rained most of the night. We started searching the bottom he ran into first and found him within no time. He had only made it about 80 yards from where I had shot him. As I lifted his antlers for the first time so many emotions hit me. I had only dreamed about killing a deer like this for years. I had watched so many people kill deer like this, but never happened to me. Now this was my time. The unknown droptine 10 point gross scored at 172 2/8!! Both of his base mass measurements were over 7’ 5/8 inches. His smallest mass measurement was 4’ 5/8 inches. Total mass measurements were over 35 inches! Dreams do come true with hard work and persistency!

A big thanks goes out to my family and Rachel putting up with me being gone most of the fall. Also thanks to the Drury brothers for believing in Blair and I. I am just a good ole southern boy who is getting to live his childhood dream. Stay tuned, there is still a lot of hunting left to do ! Big brother is up to bat next in IL.