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The October Lull in Kansas and Illinois

October 31, 2011 by  
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Kansas 2011

Even though it’s a tough time to hunt, the “October Lull” has been very good to me this year! In my last column I talked about a couple great bucks I was chasing in Kansas, and even though they are both still walking, I managed to take a great buck before I left for Illinois!

After his initial appearance on trailcam, the giant non-typical I was after “Pig Giant”, never showed himself again, but another really good buck did. The new buck was also a non-typical, but with an additional unicorn point growing out of his skull just above his right eye. I managed to get several video clips on my trailcam of the new buck and after studying the clips I guessed the new buck to be in the 160” range. I immediately hung a stand for the deer and on my first evening in, I had him at 24 yards – but no camera light and had to let him walk. The next evening I saw the buck again, but this time he was across a crp field, and being chased around by a 140” ten point. After watching his reaction to this buck and seeing his body size in relation to the other deer, I came to the conclusion he was a young buck and needed at least another year to grow. That buck has tremendous potential and I can only hope he makes it through the season!

I spent the next day scouting an area I was very familiar with, just across the street from where I had been hunting the first few days of my trip. After finding some great sign, I set a stand at the tail end of a long, small draw, right where it dumped into a huge crp field. I knew the area had the potential to be a great morning stand and planned on being in there to following morning if the wind permitted it.

After settling into the stand an hour before daylight the next morning, I heard something I’ve only heard one other time in the last 30 years of deer hunting, and it sounded like Clash of the Titans! I knew it had to be a couple mature bucks fighting, and I just hoped that one would come my way once it got light enough to see. About an hour after daylight, I caught a glimpse of something coming up the draw, and as I settled my binoculars on it I confirmed it was a shooter and he was heading my way! I could see the buck had a big frame, alot of mass, and both his G2’s were split. As soon as I spotted the big buck, he dropped down in the draw and out of sight, but I could hear him getting closer. As I prepared myself, my bow, and my camera, the buck emerged from the deep draw at thirty yards and began angling towards my position. As the buck neared my tree he was quartering towards me, and not wanting to take a chance on a bad shot angle, I chose to wait for him to get closer. As the buck passed my stand at under 10 yards, he finally gave me the broadside shot I was waiting on and I watched my Lumenok tipped Blue Streak disappear right in the boiler room! The bruiser of a whitetail made it less than 50 yards before piling up and with two weeks left in the month of October, I had my 3rd trophy whitetail for the year on the ground!  After spending a couple days taking care of my Kansas trophy and collecting all my tree stands and trailcameras, it was off to Illinois.

After arriving at my destination in Schuyler county, I made my rounds checking the trailcameras I had set before heading to Kansas. One camera in particular I couldn’t wait to check was positioned on the edge of a 50 yard wide stretch of picked corn that was about 300 yards long, bordered by the remaining standing corn on one side and woods on the other. To make the spot even better it was on the top side of a long bluff, and 20 yards into the woods was a steep drop off about 150’ straight down, creating one heck of a natural funnel! To my surprise, I had a pic of a great 10 point on that camera, and it was from that morning, less than an hour before daylight! Time to hang a stand. I had a perfect wind that day, blowing from the field into the woods and right out over the steep drop off, you couldn’t ask for a better wind! That evening I watched 7 does and two young bucks feed by my position, completely oblivious to my presence. Like I often do, I left everything in the tree that night, and planned on sneaking in there bright and early the next morning.

I was able to use the contour of the land and the edge of the woods to my advantage and  reach my ambush spot undetected the next morning. I don’t make a habit of hunting the edge of a food source on morning hunts, but I had a pretty good idea the deer would be at the opposite end of the property before daylight, and I didn’t have to cross the corn to get to my stand. From just before daylight till an hour after, it was a steady stream of deer passing the hedge tree I hung my Lone Wolf assault in, but no 10 point. I thought that maybe he had gotten by me in the dark, but it was a late morning moon time (close to 10:00am) and I thought that may be enough to bring him by my set a little later than the day before. At 9:30, I was just thinking about calling it quits for the morning when something caught my eye, it was him and he was only 15 yards away, hugging the edge of the steep cliff and on a course to pass directly under my stand!  The sneaky buck caught me totally off guard and unprepared, and at 5 yards the big buck saw me reaching for my bow and froze, locked on to my position.  After a 2 minute standoff, the mature buck decided to change course and head into the picked corn, his last and final mistake! When he hit the field edge he turned to parallel my position, offering me a 15 yard broadside shot. After making a perfect shot, the buck ran 40 yards into the picked corn, stopped, then crashed, and he never left the screen on my video camera! In less than 10 days I had tagged a couple great bucks in Kansas and Illinois, making this an October Lull to remember!

Illinois 2011

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