By Browning Trail Camera customer Clint Bell
The summer of 2018 we acquired a new hunting lease. With the lack of actual scouting time, the fastest way to see what we had on the farm was to get some trail cameras out. We set out with our Browning Trail Cameras to the best spots we thought we'd see movement. A few weeks later we pulled our SD cards and quickly realized this was going to be an awesome farm, loaded with deer and a lot of bucks worth chasing.
Once the food plots were in and growing, we adjusted our cameras around food and pinch points. We continued to get bucks on camera, excited to see the velvet fall off and the temps start to drop. Hopes were high for opening week of bow season in Illinois. The first week passed, seeing only some smaller bucks and does. Although the shooters we had our eyes on weren't coming around during daylight, our Browning Trail Camera footage kept our hopes high! We were able to locate the bedding area and trails to the preferred food source at that time. We adjusted the cameras again and set a couple on video mode for the next couple weeks.
Knowing that the middle of October can be slow in Illinois, we left the cameras alone and remained patient. Once we felt confident that the movement had started back up, we went back in to pull the SD cards. We were shocked at what appeared on our footage! The buck of a lifetime had made his appearance just a few days prior!
Immediately a game plan was made on how we would need to hunt this deer. We had 5 Browning Trail Cameras placed, and this allowed us to pinpoint the food and beds he could be using on this farm. Our goal was to somehow position ourselves between the two.
On the morning of October 26th, we head into the woods. We split the bedding, hoping that we could spot him coming to bed. Right around 7:10a.m. a small 6 point appears across the field and walks into a grass patch to rake his antlers on a nearby tree. Shortly after, I notice another deer standing at 45 yards in the middle of the field. I look through my binos and I quickly realize what buck is standing within range, right in front of my stand! My heart is racing as I gather myself, my bow at the ready, and begin to predict his next move.
One swift swirl of the wind, he trots into a shooting lane at 35 yards. I pull back and aim. The release of the arrow sends my Nockturnal straight through his right side. The buck runs up on the hill and stands for what feels like an eternity, then vanishes into the thicket. I make a quick phone call to tell my hunting partner what has just happened. We decide to let him lay for a while and head into town to suffer through a few anxious hours.
When we return to the farm, a short walk of the blood trail leads us to this gigantic buck. I was finally able to put my hands on the biggest buck I had ever seen in the wild! The few months that we spent strategically positioning and monitoring our Browning Trail Cameras had ultimately produced the opportunity to be where we needed to be in order to land the buck of a lifetime.