November 7: Jarrod Gibson


Call it premonition if you want, but Jarrod Gibson calls it following your gut feelings.

“I’d been hunting the same farm in Fulton County, Illinois for the last three or four years,” he said. “I simply got the feeling it was time for a change, and I followed my feelings. I picked up a new farm in Adams County back in the summer. I quickly planted some food plots, hung 20  cameras and soon 20 stands.”

“I checked cameras in late October and had three or four shooters on camera,” Gibson said. “We quickly dubbed one of the shooter bucks, “Mr. Clean,” because he was a big, clean typical 11-pointer.”

Gibson and his brother-in-law, Steve Frantz, hunted hard for a couple of days, but didn’t see anything spectacular. He was determined to make the best of his time, because he knew he wouldn’t be able to hunt a lot. His third child had been born a month earlier, and family obligations came first.

Then the rains came and kept coming, keeping Gibson out for of the woods for five days. When the rain did finally come to a halt, Jarrod and Steve made a move to the woods. They quickly saw some good deer, but passed on them. They just weren’t what they wanted.

Then on Tuesday November 6 the rain stopped for good and the duo went back to work on the deer. Again they saw lots of deer, but not close enough for a shot. Steve had called Jarrod at 10 a.m. suggesting that they move some stands.

Up on a ridge they moved stands closer to side fingers where they had seen deer. A little additional scouting sealed their feelings they were set up in spots that would greatly increases their chances of a shot. They hunted the new sets the afternoon with no results.

They returned to the new sets well before daylight the next morning, Wednesday, November 7. “The day brought perfect hunting conditions,” Gibson said. “It was a high pressure day at 30.4, DeerCast predicted great hunting and it was a new moon that Wednesday. On top of that we had seen a lot of new rutting activity the day before.

As soon as Gibson and his new cameraman climbed into the stands, they began seeing deer movement. “Communications between the two of us were tough,” Gibson explained. “Because  of our location and thick vegetation, Cody had to have his stand six feet above me.”

A couple of shooter soon worked their way in behind the hidden hunters, but it was far to thick for a shot. Gibson grunted at the pair of bucks and one halfway committed, but eventually turned back to its travel mate and continued on.

Jarrod and Cody decided to take a break and sat down on their stands. “As soon as we sat down and lost focus for a few seconds, it happened,” Gibson said.  “I looked to my left, and there stood Mr. Clean at 30 yards.”

Gibson tried to get Cody’s attention, but wasn’t having any success. When he  felt like the buck was about to bolt he risked getting louder.  Cody heard him, but didn’t want to move too quickly. “it took a little longer than I liked, but he got the camera on the buck. Mr. Clean started walking quartering away from Jarrod at 35 yards.

“Mr. Clean gave me a shot that I had to take,” Gibson said. “The camera angle looks like there were trees in the way, but from my angle, all was clear. It was a good, ethical shot and my PSE bow is one of the fastest ever made. The arrow was like a lightning rod.”

Jarrod shot turned out to be back, so he elected to back out even though his arrow dripped blood bow to stern. “We watched the deer run, stop, and walk about 150 yards,” he said.

Gibson felt confident about his shot, but from knowing the history of deer hit too far back and how they react, he backs out and called tracker John. “John is one of the most renowned trackers in the area and agreed to help us the next morning.”           

Tracker John put his dog on the trail the next morning from the pint of first blood. The blood continued for 150 yards and stopped. Gibson worried but kept faith in the dog. The dog worked diligently for another hour and a half, before finding a single drop of blood in a dry creek bed. The dog took off, causing everyone to believe the dog was hot on the trail. Several hundred yards further to no avail. The tracker explained that something wasn’t right.

Tracker John felt that the buck was till alive. Gibson’s heart sank with disappointment and virtually gave up hope of finding his buck. The party headed back towards their trucks.

They stopped at the point of where they found the single drop of blood in the sand of the dry creek. “We were discussing plans for the rest of the afternoon,” Jarrod said. “Steve’s cameraman, Kyle all of sudden yelled that he saw the deer. It was bedded in the brush staring at us.”

“I maneuvered to get a good shot on Mr. Clean, “ Gibson said. “The shot killed the buck instantly. Having given up hope of finding the deer, I was literally within a minute of leaving. In mere seconds I went from an ultimate low to the highest high. I was truly blessed by finding Mr. Clean, a solid 161-inch Illinois Buck.”

Perseverance pays off!

Gear Used:

PSE Decree

Nomad apparel

Leupold optics

Reconyx trail cameras

Muddy stands

Rage broadheads

LaCrosse boots

Tracker John Bloodhounds


-Bill Cooper