“Worth The Wait”
Many of men dream of Pike County Illinois. With images of corn and monster bucks as they witness a sunrise sitting high atop an oak tree nestled in a hardwood funnel. For twelve years I was one of them. With each passing season I would come up with another excuse why not to go. Finally, in 2008 everything came together and I wasn’t backing out. But which outfitter should I book a hunt with? Over the years I have probably seen hundreds of advertisements and websites. By this time prices tripled and demands were high. After a few weeks of research and a couple of emails, I had a phone conversation with a gentleman named Tony May. He is a guide with IMB Outfitters. As Tony explained how their operation worked he also answered every question that I had for him. Long story short, after a couple of emails and a few detailed phone conversations I booked the last week of October. The only bad thing, it was March 15 and I had a long wait ahead of me.
Fast forward 7 months, some Midwest flooding, and back to back hurricanes in Louisiana, it was now late October and time to drive 12 hours. I arrived at Kinderhook lodge on Sunday 10/26 and was welcomed by Miss Pat and some of the staff. It didn’t take long to feel welcome and feel like part of their family. As the sun began to set that evening, a couple of us were sitting on the back porch. With the temperature dropping, we watched 25 deer pour into the cut cornfield behind the lodge. The weather was perfect and we were all anticipating a great week!!
It was now supper time and we all gathered around the dinning area. As we enjoyed Andy and Miss Pat’s delicious cooking, it all started to sink in. My dream of 12 years was finally reality! After supper we were introduced to our guides. At this time our guide showed us detailed aerial photos of the farms. We discussed wind direction, food sources, bedding areas, travel routes, stand details and some possible deer that were in the area. Feeling well prepared and informed about my first morning hunt, I headed upstairs and tried to get some sleep. I couldn’t wait for the alarm clock to ring Monday morning.
To kind of sum things up, my week in Pike County with IMB Outfitters was without a doubt, one of the best times in my life!!! Unbelievable!!
I saw a total of 90 deer while on stand, including 12 shooters, 6 of them in one night within 70 yards with the biggest being a 160” non-typical. I had a couple of close calls, but a limb or a footstep in the wrong direction cost me a shot. My third night I did have a shot at a 130” 8 pt. and if it wasn’t for a poor placed arrow, he would have came home with me. On my last evening hunt I saw 14 deer. As light started to fade, my last image of Pike County was breathtaking. I had 6 bucks, including a shooter 10 pt. chasing a doe on a western hilltop, highlighted by a beautiful purple skyline. What a way to end a trip of a lifetime!!
In short I would like to thank every member of IMB. For without you, I don’t think my expectations of Illinois would have been met. You have exceeded everything I imagined. I am grateful and thankful for sharing this experience with you all. From my guide Clint, Tyler, Tony, Joe, John, Miss Pat, Andy, and the rest of the gang, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this great experience. I know you were just doing your jobs, but you made me feel like one of you. I honestly will never forget my first time in Pike County. Even though I didn’t harvest an animal, I returned home with hundreds of memories and new friendships!!
Thanks again guys……God Bless
See you soon,