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What to Expect on Your Hunt  What To Expect From Illinois Bucks

About Illinois Bucks
Antler Growth

Illinois whitetails have great genetics, all the food they need and a short gun season. This allows many bucks to make it to maturity. Once they reach their 4th season, they are very hard to kill. Contrary to popular belief, they are not behind every tree and never "dumb". At two years, very few will make the record book. At three years old, most will. They make a big jump in antler growth from 3 to 4 years, and 50 inches of growth is not out of the ordinary. They are hard to pass up at 3, but are one year short of showing their true top end potential size.

I've seen a few that have maintained huge status into their 8th year. The big buck I almost shot in 2006 was a fine example. In the 2002 season, he was a solid 160". At age 5, his left antler scored 92". At 6 years of age in 2004, he was 220" giant. A local hunter wounded him with a high shoulder hit. We did not see him in 2005. In 2006 he was 8 1/2  years old scoring well over 200" on a 7x6 typical frame. Another buck went from a mid 150" 5x4 to a giant mainframe 8 point at four years old that grosses right at 200". I always wonder about how big he could have gotten if he would not have been shot. In one more year he could have been really "big". But you can't expect anyone to pass up a 200" fair chase whitetail.

“The 200’’ Buck"
A lot has been said and written about Illinois Deer and the "Holy Grail" of deer hunting, the 200" whitetail. As fun as a 200 Incher would be to shoot, you should be happy with any buck over 4 years old. A four year old buck is a super trophy and never easy to kill in a fair chase environment. It takes skill to consistently get within bow range of mature bucks. It's all luck if that 4 year old has the genetics to score over 200". There have been several bucks that would eclipse the 200" barrier on this property and dozens of other great mature bucks. Some years are better than others but that's what makes it challenging. Every time you go out, you never know what will happen. This is as good place as any to score on your first Boone and Crockett or Pope and Young whitetail. The odds are not good, but they are better here than most places the average guy can hunt.


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