Successfully hunting trophy deer can be a numbers game. Of course you need to outwit them, but you also need the tenacity to keep after them even if it takes a few months worth of sits.

60 days of hunting.

Over 100 individual sits.

62 degrees.

These numbers all colluded on December 2nd on Tom’s Illinois farm hunting the muzzleloader season.  It had been a long season and this particular hunt didn’t stand out on Tom’s calendar. In fact, he expected so little from it that he didn’t bother to bring a camera guy along. He self-filmed because he didn’t want to waste anyone’s time.

His expectations were about to be exceeded.

Hunting out of the same blind his daughter Elle killed out of back in October, Tom suffered through the heat of an unseasonably warm December afternoon. Since the wind wasn’t ideal for hunting this location, he kept the windows up, locking in the heat as the sun beat down on the blind.

Between wiping his brow and scanning the BioLogic Last Bite food plot, Tom ran the clock out on his afternoon…until the last 15 minutes of daylight. A buck he hadn’t seen Reconyx pictures of for over a month showed up at 130 yards. It was “Tusk”, a buck with a double brow tine on its left side that resembled an elephant tusk. This deer also frequented a plot that was shaped like an elephant, hence the pachyderm moniker.

For eight minutes the buck fed directly towards him without offering a shot. Once at 116 yards, the deer turned giving Tom the opportunity to settle the cross hairs of his Leupold scope on the buck’s vitals. Tom pulled the trigger on his Traditions StrikerFire.

Filming and shooting from the same window, smoke from the shot obscured the footage momentarily but through his Leupold binoculars, Tom saw the buck scuttle off into the wood line, tail wagging. After a 60 yard run Tusk was down and the numbers finally broke in Tom’s favor.

The more you hunt, the more likely you are to have opportunity. Tom kept at it and his persistence was rewarded with a great Illinois buck.

As told to Tim Kjellesvik.