By Mark Kenyon

While 2012 has now come to a close, we’re still reminiscing on some great hunts from the past year. Today we’re doing just that, with a great big buck story from Bryhn Craft. Congrats on a great Illinois buck Bryhn! – MK

“Being from the south originally, where I was used to long hunting seasons and liberal bag limits, you can imagine that moving to Kansas and having only 1 buck a year was a real change for me. But I figured out how to overcome that, hunt more states than just Kansas! In my search for somewhere to hunt, Pete Alfano and I found a 200+ acre farm in Pike County and wasted no time getting the farm ready to hunt in the fall. We planted several food plots, set up stands and got the Reconyx cameras rolling.

Mid October found me back at the farm checking the cameras and they did not disappoint. The farm had tons of deer and several nice bucks running around. My plan would be to come back and hunt the first shotgun season. I was hoping to hunt from one of the blinds we put out where I could actually see 3 different ridge tops where the farmer had left the corn standing. While scouting up there I noticed the corn was demolished in this area and I knew it would be a good place to intercept a shooter.

Our first morning in the stand we saw lots of deer including several small bucks but none of the 3 shooters we had pictures of showed up. The afternoon was about the same as the morning with the exception that one of the shooters showed himself down on one the ridge tops about 250 yards away. We waited and hoped the deer would come closer. I wasn’t going to shoot that far with the muzzleloader. After about 15 minutes a group of does that was in the field started heading my way and I knew he would follow, which is exactly what he did. With the camera light fading, he sort of hung up at 180 yards,  I felt confident that I could make a clean shot at that distance. As the hammer of the TC fell and the smoke cleared the buck was down in the field within 20 feet of where I shot him. Another tag filled!!

Illinois with its high deer densities and beautiful rolling hills was just what I needed to extend my season. We saw lots of deer, which is what I expected, and Illinois did not disappoint. I think I will keep this as part of my November pilgrimage next year as well!”

– Bryhn Craft

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