Swap Hunt, And HuntStand, Deliver Illinois Wall Hanger [Big Buck ALERT]

Two weeks to hunt using bow and shotgun, 1,000 miles from home. Can a Mainer (and his HuntStand app) find whitetail success in the Land of Lincoln?

by Mark Melotik

HuntStand Pro Contributor MORE FROM Mark

Two weeks to hunt using bow and shotgun, 1,000 miles from home. Can a Mainer (and his HuntStand app) find whitetail success in the Land of Lincoln?

Week10buck5 900Craig Anderson hails from Westbrook, Maine, which is noteworthy in this story for one primary reason: Anderson is our Week 10 Big Buck ALERT winner for a beauty buck he anchored this past November in Illinois—a full 1,000-plus miles from home. And if you guessed Anderson’s success in mostly unfamiliar territory was helped along by the HuntStand app, well, you’d be right on. Here’s how it happened in Anderson’s own words:

“I took this buck in Perry County, Illinois, during the state’s mid-November shotgun season. The HuntStand app was instrumental in my success; the mapping feature allowed me to locate a good-looking funnel to place my stand, a location that was very ‘wind specific.’ By using ScoutLook I was able to plan the best day and time to hunt the stand; the first day the app showed a favorable wind direction I was in the new stand, and it all came together.

Week10buck2 900“I was on two-week hunt accompanied by a friend of mine; 2017 was the sixth consecutive year I’ve hunted Illinois, typically bowhunting with my son Eric. Eric and his wife blessed us with our first grandson last June, and because of his new fatherly duties, Eric had to miss out this past fall.

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“I was also hunting with another friend from Illinois, Bobby Snodgrass; this year we were hunting on a new farm in Perry county, on private land where Bobby has permission. Early in the hunt while we were bowhunting, Bobby was showing us photos of the property, and I used my HuntStand Hunting app to zoom-in and get a better look. Instantly I noticed a small pond near the food plot Bobby and the farm owner had planted. Seeing this I set up in my climber between the pond and plot, and that’s when I noticed the deer traveling into the cut cornfield consistently, using a trail some distance away; soon we were setting a ladder stand to ambush deer using the funnel.

Week10 buck 900“The stand was situated on a small ridge overlooking a junction of well-used trails, in a block of hardwoods about 150 yards off the cut cornfield; the terrain featured rolling hills with a dried-up streambed about 40 yards in front of the stand.

“According to HuntStand, the afternoon of the first day of shotgun season (Nov. 17th) the wind would be out of the northeast, which meant the wind would be blowing, favorably, toward the cut corn. It was time for the ambush.

“I saw movement shortly after getting situated in the ladder early that afternoon. The first deer appeared to be a buck, but he didn’t look that big. He was quite a way off but headed toward me. Then I glimpsed a doe a few seconds later that was much closer and got ready, as the landowner had asked us to help with some doe management. At 20 yards, I was getting ready to shoot, when the buck came back into view. Instantly I saw he was a lot better than my first impression, and watched as he stopped to work a scrape and rub about 50 yards away. I forgot about the doe and got the buck in my crosshairs but there were limbs in the way. Then the buck closed to about 40 yards and was quartering slightly toward me; I put the crosshairs on his shoulder and fired. He stumbled, then ran in a wide loop away from me. I fired again just as the buck turned, but saw the slug explode in the mud to his right. As the buck crested a hill about 100 yards away, I thought I saw him stumble. I waited a few minutes and climbed down; at first I couldn’t find any blood, but near the top of the hill I found plenty. I soon found the buck in the streambed on the other side of the ridge.

Week10buck4 900“My friend Bobby is not an outfitter; I met him after posting a swap-hunt some 10 years ago; he has been coming to Maine for several years to hunt bears over bait with me and my son. He is an avid deer hunter, and we see great deer with him in Illinois every year. I have taken three bucks (blown it on a few more!) and my son has taken five, including one that just missed Boone and Crockett by an eighth of an inch.

“My son and I have been using the HuntStand Hunting app for at least five years, it is an awesome tool. I was never big on watching the wind until I started hunting with Bobby in Illinois. HuntStand also is great for learning the layout of the land, and navigating around when hunting new or familiar ground. Thank you HuntStand!”Bino-Harness-X1 900For his Week 10 win, Anderson will receive 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 900From all of us here at Team HuntStand, we’d like to thank all who entered the HuntStand 2017 Big Buck ALERT contest! Stay tuned for more info on the upcoming 2018 Big Buck HIT LIST contest, which will highlight the best summer-of-2018 trail camera images from the HuntStand community, as we prepare for the 2018 fall hunting seasons.

Got a 2017 HuntStand success story you’d like to share? Team HuntStand would love to help. Simply send us a few clear, high-res. digital photos (three to five) 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: HuntStand Success. Send your photo(s) and requested info to: [email protected]



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