It was November 3rd 2007; the day I had been waiting on for nearly two hunting seasons was finally here. For the past seventeen years my hunting partner “Gregg Childers” and I have been taking hunting trips together. I knew this year was going to be special for me, however at this moment I did not have a clue just how special it would be. Last year I was only able to hunt the opening week of Illinois archery season, due to my lovely wife Jill giving birth to our daughter Lilly, a very special blessing from God. I have two other boys, but this would be the first girl in our family for nearly twenty years. So while I patiently sat out last season, this year was looked upon with much anticipation.
Gregg and I, along with two other hunting buddies “Smokey Clay and Aubrey Marshall” were on our way to Iowa for the very first time to enjoy an archery hunt with IMB Outfitters. While we were driving along the question came up “Do you think it is possible to leave Iowa with four shooter bucks?” The answer at the time was possible (yes) probable (no). If we knew then that “Joe Gilliam” would be our guide we might have said definitely (yes). However, the reality is we only left with three ( one 8 point & two 10 points). The only reason we did not bring home four shooter bucks was our fourth hunter passed on a 130 " 8 point. We would not have had the success we did without Joe’s local knowledge and expertise.
I was the lucky one that had the privilege of filling their tag on the first evening of our Iowa bow hunt. Since I am fortunate to be a Season Pass Holder with The Best Outfitter in the Midwest, IMB OUTFITTERS, I now had the option to continue hunting in Illinois, Missouri or Nebraska. It was a tough choice so I decided to call Darrin Bradley owner of IMB to see where the big deer were moving at. This was November and I was in prime big buck country during the rut! Darrin advised me to call Bob Cramer manager of the Illinois Division to see how the deer were moving. After talking to Bob it was clear that Illinois was my best choice.
Talk about luck, my first evening in Illinois I made a clean pass through at 43 yards with my Mathews bow on a fine 8 pointer. How could I ever forget the look on Bob and Tony Mays face when we walked upon the mature 300 pound plus buck that was laying a mere 80 yards from my stand. We stood there scratching our heads wondering how we were going to get this bruiser in the back of the Husky. Come to find out, this was the largest body mass ever taking at IMB. What an honor to be the archer that connected on such a magnificent animal!
Next on my list was to call Darrin. Missouri or Nebraska, keep in mind I still had to go back and pick up Gregg from Iowa at the end of the week, so Missouri here I come. While driving back to Missouri I keep thinking is it possible for me to put my tag on a third trophy buck within the same week. Ryan Lewis manager of the Missouri Division along with my guide Jim worked very hard at trying to get me to three-peat this week, but it looked like my new found luck was running out. I was enjoying my hunt so much (no pressure to score on a trophy buck now that there were two already in the cooler) that it didn’t matter if I saw another deer this week or not.
Gregg and I are now in Missouri for first gun. It is opening day and guess what...THREE-PEAT! Lady Luck showed her face again and brought a heavy beamed 8 pointer with her! Wow! Darrin is not going to believe this! Gregg and I doubled up and tagged out the first day of gun season, ( he also tagged a nice 8 pointer). Our guide Doug did an excellent job putting us on deer the very first day. Since we both have season passes we are now headed back to Illinois to bow hunt. I’m on a scouting expedition for first gun in Illinois and to give Gregg moral support since my archery tag has already been filled. We hunted hard all week and finally on the last evening before gun season a small branch came between Gregg and the buck of a lifetime (180”plus Booner). Thats ok we still had Illinois gun season ahead!
We had what we thought was a good game plan for the opening day of Illinois gun season, since we had all week to scout and decide where we wanted to hunt. Opening morning 9 a.m. what can I say? When the smoke cleared from my Thompson Center Omega there was a 157" 8 point lying in his tracks 75 yards from my stand. How was I going to tell this? No one was going to believe me. Two weeks and four trophy bucks! I almost felt guilty, but when the Good Lord passes out blessings, we need to be thankful and take them graciously. THANKFUL I AM !!
Thanks to everyone at IMB OUTFITTERS! All of this was possible because six years ago we made the right decision to purchase season passes and hunt with the Best Outfitter in the Midwest! I look forward to seeing you again next season!