Persistence Pays With An Illinois Brute [Big Buck ALERT]

Nine straight days of hard hunting. Frustration and exhaustion. Then it's down to the last morning, and a few final checks of the HuntStand ScentCone.

by Mark Melotik

HuntStand Pro Contributor MORE FROM Mark

Nine straight days of hard hunting. Frustration and exhaustion. Then it’s down to the last morning, and a few final checks of the HuntStand ScentCone.

Honea1 900

Few sportsmen know how much persistence can pay off like avid bowhunters. As the popular saying goes, even after many fruitless hours and days in the field with bow in hand, things can change from ‘Zero to Hero’ in a heartbeat. Chicago’s Paul Honea, 42, an avid and dedicated HuntStand user, knows that feeling well. Both his persistence, and regular use of HuntStand, would pay off handsomely last November, in his big-buck-rich home state. Here, in his own words, is how Honea’s hunt shook down.

“I killed this 10-point buck on November 13th, 2017, at about 9:20 a.m. This had been my 9th straight day of hunting and I was getting really frustrated and exhausted. I saw many deer during those nine days (both bucks and does) including a huge 12-point that was way out of bow range.  I also accidentally made a noise with my boots and spooked another big buck that came in from behind me one evening, while I was using a Primos grunt call. Needless to say, I was frustrated by November 13th, so I was planning on heading home that afternoon and returning for the first Illinois firearms season on November 17th.

Honea2 900“On the morning I killed this deer my plan was to hunt until 10 a.m. On this morning it was chilly and partly sunny; the wind was blowing mildly out of the west down a trail that I use to get to my treestand. A west wind is not the best for this particular treestand; I had checked my HuntStand app several times that morning to monitor my ScentCone (as I do every time I deer hunt).

“Originally that morning HuntStand showed that I had a northwest wind (which is better, and the reason I decided to hunt the stand); then the wind switched straight west.  My stand is positioned in some timber about 100 yards from a grass field next to a farm house. Several fields surround the approximately 20 acres of timber that holds my stand. Some of the fields held both standing and recently cut corn, as well as some winter wheat. A small creek flows through the timber about 60 yards north of my stand.

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“Luckily on this day my stand just blew up with action at about 9 a.m.  I saw two smaller bucks chasing does; I also saw several does passing through that were not being chased. One of the small bucks was grunting and chasing a doe straight downwind of me. Suddenly the doe and small buck both just stopped about 25 yards in front of me and didn’t move. Then I heard a deep loud grunt come from the east of my stand, in the timber. A second grunt sounded closer. A few seconds later I saw this monster trotting straight down my trail, totally downwind of me.  He was trotting straight westbound with a west wind blowing my scent straight at him. I first saw him about 60 yards away so I drew back on my Mathews bow and waited. At 32 yards away the buck stopped dead in his tracks and looked 20 feet straight up at me, in my Big Game Odyssey ladder stand.

Honea3 900“The buck started to turn to his right, when I let the arrow go. I saw the arrow make contact with him near his left shoulder area, but I was worried about the shot. I definitely had ‘Buck Fever’ going on, which included tunnel vision and a lot of shaking. I waited an hour before I got out of my stand. I walked back east down my trail and saw a lot of blood. Then I walked back out to my truck and left the area for another couple hours. I came back with some friends and found the buck approximately 80 yards east of where I shot him. My arrow was still in him. I had never seen this buck before on any of my trail cameras; however, I would later learn that another hunter who has a stand about 200 yards away from me saw him a few days prior chasing a doe. It was a struggle for four of us to get this big deer out of the woods and loaded into my truck.

“I am definitely thankful to have harvested this big 10-point buck and I will honor this old warrior on my wall sometime in late 2018, when I get the mount back from the taxidermist. Thank you HuntStand, it was an amazing hunt! The HuntStand app and website are both awesome; your app is such a great tool in the field, and I really enjoy reading your informative website. Keep it up!”

Bino-Harness-X1 900For his Week Six win, Honea 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 900You’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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