3-Year Quest For An Illinois Booner [Big Buck ALERT]

Three years of occasional sightings. Then a once-reclusive buck is caught regularly on game cams. Will HuntStand point the way to the killer stand?

by Mark Melotik

HuntStand Pro Contributor MORE FROM Mark

Three years of occasional sightings. Then a once-reclusive buck is caught regularly on game cams. Will HuntStand point the way to the killer stand? DoyleBuck1 900

A big part of the difference between a good hunt and a great one is the backstory. Not one of us is likely to pass on a huge, unknown deer we might stumble into three minutes into our first hunt of the year, but the fact of the matter is many of us live for the chase. A spine-tingling adventure that comes complete with a rollercoaster of emotions. When we finally taste success after an intricate, protracted chess game that is fairly typical when chasing trophy whitetails, well, it’s hunts like those we live for. Mike Doyle knows those feelings well. In his own words, here is Mike’s award-winning story:

“I first saw this buck three years ago when he was three years old; he offered me an opportunity in January that season but his rack was all broken up, plus I knew he was young, so I passed. The

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following year I never saw him at all, and was thinking he was likely gone forever…until early January when he suddenly reappeared at my stand, and again, his rack was badly broken up. Aside from his brows, he only had one of his eight other points left. That’s some serious fighting.

DoyleBuck2 900“The next year I saw him multiple times but my only opportunity for a shot came once again in January, and this time the buck had already dropped one side of his rack, so I passed on him yet again. Then the summer of 2017 came along and he was on my trail cameras regularly, even in daylight. This continued all the way up until October 25. I had also seen him about five other times from my stand, but never close enough for a good shot.

DoyleBuck3 900_edited“I use the HuntStand app daily to track wind and weather conditions including barometric pressure and the general forecast, and I always check the ScentCone feature before picking a stand for my next hunt. On that fateful late-October day conditions were right for one of my favorite stands, and I was sitting in it watching multiple deer in the field, when to the east, through the trees, I could see my dream buck chasing a doe. The pair eventually crossed the creek onto the south property, and my heart sank as I thought he was gone for the evening. And then I caught a break. About 40 minutes later there he was again, just east of me, now with a different doe.

DoyleBuck4 900“As the duo headed my way the buck lagged behind, but then another buck, a smaller three-year-old following another doe behind me, grunted twice. The larger buck heard it and reacted quickly. He headed my way in a hurry and at 20 yards, as I drew my bow, he must have caught my movement. The buck stopped and stared right at me…with a large tree limb completely shielding his vitals. I waited until he took another step and let the arrow fly. It was a perfect shot; the buck ran 50 yards and dropped in the field in front of me. He green-scored at 172 5/8. Thank you HuntStand! Along with helping choose the right stand for this hunt, I’ve found the app’s logging feature to be a great way to track deer movement from year to year.”Bino-Harness-X1 900For his Week Seven win, Doyle will be sent a Team HuntStand-approved Bino Harness X from ALPS OutdoorZ , a $49.99 value. One of the first product extensions to the popular and successful Extreme line from ALPS OutdoorZ, the Bino Harness X (shown above and below) is the ideal companion for your hunting optics. Designed to keep the pocket close to your chest and reduce the amount of movement you’ll feel in your optics, the Bino Harness X is constructed using extra-tough 1680D ballistic nylon fabric, with an easy-to-use one-handed opening mechanism for quick access. A handy lens cloth is included. bino-harness2 900Did you score big in 2017? You’re not too late to enter the HuntStand 2017 Big Buck ALERT contest! Simply send us a few clear, high-res. digital photos (two to four) of your 2017 buck, along with a brief story of your hunt that explains how the HuntStand app played a part. Be sure to tell us if your buck was known to you or a newcomer, then describe the area where your stand sits, or where the encounter took place, as well as the fateful day’s wind and weather conditions, and of course, the blow-by-blow account of the exciting action as it unfolded. Include your full name, age, successful hunt date and state, weapon used, and also be sure to include your mailing address. Your e-mail subject line should read: Big Buck Alert! Send your photo(s) and requested info to: [email protected]



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