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After logging some serious highway miles traveling to hunt three states chasing the rut, Jarrod needed a win. Killing the biggest archery deer of his life was a decent way to end his journey.

We’ve all been there. No matter how hard you hunt, no matter how many hours you log in the woods, it just doesn’t come together. It’s not for lack of effort either, especially in Jarrod’s case. He’d had a slow year in 2016 and 2017 was starting out the same way, but the magic of bowhunting is that it only takes one instant for all that to change.

Jarrod was hunting in Illinois with DOD team mate Steve Frantz. Steve had located a buck he nicknamed “Kongo” due to the deer’s gorilla-like stature. This was a deer Jarrod was familiar with via Reconyx trail cam pics. After a few days of sitting without Jarrod seeing anything, the guys made a plan and hung a stand in the afternoon 800 yards from where Steve had last seen the buck tending a doe.

On that evening’s sit, they guys weren’t in the stand five minutes before seeing Kongo at 150 yards. The buck appeared to be chasing younger deer off his turf. A little while later, Jarrod watched Kongo come up a ridge towards them. With his Leupold range finder, he ranged the buck at 60 yards but there was no clear shot. The timber was thick around the stand leaving just a few shooting lanes to choose from. Kongo slipped back into the woods shortly after the encounter.

With just 45 minutes of shooting light remaining, Kongo once more approached Jarrod’s position to check out a spike behind the guys’ stand. Once more, he hung up at 60 yards, this time for 30 minutes. He was running down the clock on shooting hours.

In an attempt to budge the buck while there was still light to shoot, Jarrod grunted at him and rustled some leaves.

Nothing.

Then, in the wee scant light of day that was left, the buck decided to come closer to investigate the spike, walking directly under Jarrod’s stand but still not offering a shot. In that proximity, Kongo made the guys in the tree and bolted out to 40 yards…this time there was a shot.

Jarrod came to full draw on his PSE Decree and ran a Rage Trypan through both lungs, sending Kongo on a mad dash lasting only 20 yards.

After a tough 2016 and a slow start to 2017, Jarrod killed the biggest archery buck of his life because he didn’t give up.

As told to Tim Kjellesvik.