Friday November 4th, 2011, the first day of nine days of bow hunting in west central Illinois proved very fruitful. My morning hunt was a good one, with several small bucks chasing does and a big eight point that I rattled in only to have him hang up at fifty yards.
After a quick lunch and fresh shower I decided to change stands to take better advantage of the movement I had seen in the a.m. I climbed into my stand at 1:30 p.m. and it did not take long for the activity to start. Right away I had does feeding in the cut corn. At 3:25 I heard deer coming through the brush in the CRP behind me. As I slowly turned, a 2 ½ year old eight point was chasing a hot doe and she stopped 15 yards from my stand. Unaware of my presence, the doe turned and ran back in the direction she had come from. As I was watching the chase, I looked beyond the eight point and doe and could see two big “shooters” in a lower hay field beyond them also watching the action.
The doe trotted back toward me, with the 8 point in tow. The two shooters decided to join the chase and were staggered apart following. That is when things got interesting. The doe trotted by at 25 yards with the 8 point following close. One of the two shooters, a 160 class ten point was following about ten seconds behind. Already at full draw with my 72 pound Mathews Z7, I tried to stop him with a couple of progressively louder mouth grunts, but he stayed steady on the trail of the doe, stopping at the top of a small hill in the CRP 60 yards from me. Staying at full draw, I waited a few second for the third buck to enter the picture. When he didn’t, still at full draw I took a peek around my tree in the direction they came from. Standing in the CRP 60 yards away was the third and biggest buck. I couldn’t help but notice the mass and proportions of this buck. He was a giant! My shooting form is with a bent elbow, so when I turned my torso to look, I relaxed slightl y and the string went forward. Fortunately the arrow stayed on, and the big buck intent on watching the progress of the other deer didn’t even flinch. Then he started coming.
I brought my Z7 to full draw again. The big buck decided to leave the trail of the other deer as he swung out around some willows. At that moment, I thought there would never be a shot opportunity. Just as I thought that, he came around the willows and picked up another trail that eventually paralleled the route the other deer had taken. Just as I started to mouth grunt and stop him, he stopped on his own almost perfectly broadside at 38 yards. I quickly estimated the yardage, settled the pin behind his shoulder and squeezed the release. The Montec 100 tipped Easton ACC found its mark and the monster buck went ten yards and stood. The thought crossed my mind about a fifty yard follow up shot, but I feared he might bolt from adrenalin after a second hit. Then his back legs started getting wobbly and he stumbled to the ground.
In the past, having harvested quite a few bucks over 140 inches, a few over 150 with my best being 173 inches, I knew this one was in a different class! Still sitting in the stand while I calmed myself, I texted my three buddies hunting other areas of the property and told them I had shot a 180 plus buck.
The buck has 15 scoreable points and 194 total inches of antler green, making it by far my personal best buck ever. Family members and friends have asked me if I look for something bigger now, and my comment is; “ No, I just go back to looking for 140 inch plus deer.” I thought when I arrowed my 173 inch buck in 2005 that it was my “buck of a lifetime”. Now in 2011 I have a 194 inch buck. I wonder if this is my “buck of a lifetime”? For now yes, but only time in the stand will tell.
I had shot a Mathews LX for quite a few years since it first hit the market, and really was quite content to continue hunting with it. My wife surprised me with a new Z7 for Christmas 2010 from Blythes Sports in Griffith Indiana, and cash to accessorize the bow. I outfitted it with a Down Force rest, a Mathews two piece quiver, Axion sight and Axion stabilizer. A great setup! I quickly fell in love with the smoothness, quietness and overall shootability of my Mathews Z7. I strongly feel that choosing the right equipment and having confidence in it has gone a long way in the bow hunting success I have enjoyed. Thank you Mathews!