Al Labukas’s Whitetail Deer Hunt, Randolph County, IL

November 20, 2005

As my friend John and I drank coffee before heading out to the woods on the last day of the first half of the Illinois regular deer season, our spirits were a bit down. Although I had seen two does and a mystery deer the first day, I hadn’t seen anything since. John hadn’t seen that much either. What we did see, however, was that all the scrapes we had been watching were covered with leaves. We both thought the rut was over. Why bother to go out? We could go back to bed and go out later. Oh well, we thought. We were up, might as well get out there. 

Legal shooting time came and went with nothing to see but squirrels. Should we have stayed in bed? About 7:30 some rustling leaves up the hill to my right caught my attention. Another #%$# squirrel. Then an antler poked out from behind a tree about 50 yards away. I shouldered my shotgun and found the antler with my scope. Since John and his brothers were trying to manage the deer (we agreed to only shoot only 8-pointers with racks wider than their ears), I couldn’t wait for the rest of the deer to come from behind the tree.

He finally walked out and I could see a heavy main beam with five points on his right antler. He’s big enough but there were too many small tree branches in the way. He moved into an opening and before the ‘squeeze’ impulse traveled from my brain to finger, he picked up speed to jump a low wire fence. Recovering from the 12 ga. recoil, I wasn’t sure where or if I had hit him. I only saw him for a second before he went out of sight into a wheat field.

I climbed down from my ladder stand and slowly put my gear away thinking if he was wounded … I walked up the hill to where he was and found no hair or blood. I missed. Still hopeful, I crossed the fence and there he was about 10 yards away in the field.

When I shot, he was quartering away and I hit him just behind the ribs. The slug traveled through the liver, both lungs, his left shoulder and lodged just under the skin. The slug will make a good plaque to put under the 160 plus class mount.

Details of the Hunt
Shot Distance: 50 Yards
Measured Score: 160+ B&C
Size Of Animal: 172 lbs. (Dressed), 12 pts.
Hunting Method: Ladder Stand
Weapon Used: Winchester, x-2, 12 gauge
Ammunition Used: Lightfield 2 3/4″ Slug