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2005 Fall Deer Hunts
by Robert Hoague

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A Deerhunt In Progress - 2005

| Arrival | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6

Bowhunting For Trophy Bucks
at WELLS CREEK OUTFITTERS - Pictures & Hunt Logs

Nov 17 - Too Cold For Me
But I went anyway. After 4 hours of 7 degree weather my only warm places were covered by my Wolverine 1,000 gram Thinsulate boots or touching the Hot Hands in my pockets. Four does came by, no bucks. I beat Fred to the truck. He saw another bomber but it was out of range.

And here are more pics of bucks taken at Wells Creek Outfitters in 2005 during the rut.

Jeff Worley's buck had the most points.

Shirley Strickland has hunted at Wells Creek Outfitters for 8 years and this 2005 buck is her 7th trophy. Mike Sanford's buck had very long brow tines.

Mike Runkle and MikeBarner got their bucks before the cole weather came.

Chad Wilson and Jeff Capizzano with their bucks.

Brian Wineberg and his 2005 trophy buck.

Nov 16 - Rain's Gone. Winds Back. But Bucks Move Anyway

I'm not the only one taking pictures on this Illinois hunt. Rob McNeff has photographed the majority of the successful bowhunters with his 35MM camera and he just got the film developed and put on CD pics today. When I asked about the details of the 4 recent hunts below they were all the same scenario, a doe lead a rutting buck right by their stand.

Jeff Worley, Rob McNeff (owner Wells Creek Outfitters), Vinny Condallo, Justin Neel (guide), Joey Caffee, Pete Scott (guide) and MIke Sanford with their 2005 bucks.

I thought yesterday was windy but it was tame compared to today. In the field adjacent to my wooded funnel I saw 2 does, a young buck and a bomber that was headed in the direction of Fred's ridge stand. 

At 4:12 an large buck walked off the ridge 100 plus yards away, into the narrow, flat area my stand is in. As I put my grunter (Haydell's) in my mouth the buck stooped and smelled the ground. He had found the scent trail I had laid down with the Boot Buddy (Triple R Outdoors) containing Active Scrape lure ( Nose to the ground, the buck started following the trail, but the wrong way!. 

I and gave him 3 girl deer grunts. He switched directions. When he got closer he pulled off the scent trail and made a quarter circle and stopped in front of me, 35 yards away, and carefully looked my area over. He was an 8-point, just outside his ears, nice tine length and heavy beams.

The stage was set. I was ready if he came closer. He turned away. I girl grunted him again, he stopped a few seconds but didn't look back. Then he flipped his tail and walked into the creek bed and up the opposite ridge.

Fred saw a bomber buck out of bow range, possibly the same one I had seen earlier. 

Four of the New Jersey guys saw monster bucks and 3 got shots. One went low, one high, and the other shot something between him and the monster that splintered his arrow and broke the broadhead off.

Nov 15 - Rain, the temperature drops and the wind shifts into high

Fred and I returned to the same stands we hunted yesterday afternoon. A light drizzle started before daylight and turned into rain of varying intensities, all morning. We returned to camp and used the camp dryer to dry our web clothes. Oh, this morning we both saw the same thing, nothing.

For the afternoon hunt the rain was light until it stopped .... probably because the wind started blowing it past us and into the next state. It was zinging. Back at camp the news said we had 40 mph winds. The deer were smarter than us and hid out in some unknown less windy place.

But not everyone was zipped. Adam Goodwin saw the huge buck with the broken main beam.   The 3 New Jersey guys saw 5 big boys and another 11 bucks and one doe were seen. So the wind didn''t keep them all down.

Nov 14 - Way To Go Joe !

Joe Parks from Cedarville, New Jersey has seen deer every day and missed a great opportunity when his arrow didn't connect with a bomber buck. This morning he saw a big 10 point and a sixer. For the afternoon hunt he went to another stand and jumped a big buck on the way to the stand. At 3:0-0 a 4-point bedded down behind him. 

The weather was cold and it started to rain.

Joe saw a good buck come up out of a gorge 60 yards away and took a trail toward the treestand. Since the 4-point was still bedded behind him Joe had to be extra careful as he stood up and turned to face the tree so he could shoot. 

He had previously used his Nikon rangefinder to get the yardage for the spot the buck was headed for ... 26 yards. Joe drew and and aimed at the spot and when the buck entered his pin window he led it 4 inches and released. The buck ran 25 yards and stopped. It turned 180 degrees and collapsed.

Joe Parks works as a Sergeant for Southwoods State Prison and is an 18 year veteran of DOC. This is his second trip to Illinois and he has taken a buck on both trips. 

His advice for hunting Trophy Class bucks Illinois is the place to start for quality bucks. Rob and Bob McNeff have "a top shelf operation, no doubt about it."

Bill Goodwin reported "I saw 8 bucks, 6 were shooters. The big monster buck I watched all October came in to 20 yards and herded her out away. The left main beam was totally broken off past the brow tine. He was ok on October 25. A big 9 pointer came in range also."

Bill has taken his buck already and is now doe hunting, but mainly he was  checking out a second stand 190 yards away on a ridge for his son Adam (who is coming this afternoon).. Bill watched 5 of the 8 bucks go within range of the stand.

Fred Lutger saw 5 bucks that were what he was looking for but they were out of range.

Back at the stand I hunted Saturday afternoon I rattled at 7:00. An 8-pointer came over the ridge and walked around my area. By 8:15 I had seen 4 more bucks and 8 does. 

For the Afternoon hunt Fred and I drove to the area I hunted on Saturday morning. Fred left for a ridge top and I went to my stand. There are two scrapes, one on each side of the stand. It rained for half an hour and when it stopped a buck came up out of a creek bed 35 yards away and all the way to my right. The buck had the right stuff on its head, more than 8 points and main beams that turned and almost touched. He was at the scrape -- 15 yards -- and moving on before I could turn so I leaned to the right side of the tree, ready to draw. He kept walking and went up the hill behind me without giving me a chance for clear shot.

Deer moved steadily and I saw 8 bucks and 8 does this afternoon. Fred had a does only afternoon.

Nov 13 - Rub Hunting Pays Off For Joe Ermatinger

Today the wind blew brutally hard up all day long. I had web work to do and it looked like a good day for it. Fred and Joe both had good luck today. 

Fred Lutger's Hunt: High on a ridge on a different farm Fred had a young buck walking toward and past him and was still in view when a big 8-point came down the ridge and by Fred's stand at 15 yards broadside. As he watched them walk away Fred wondered if a 3rd buck was to follow. In 5 minutes a 3rd buck walked down and came by Fred. 

Two hours later Fred saw movement in a thicket and glassed a doe and saw a bomber buck walked right up to her. She walked ahead and the bomber walked along with her. They went behind the ridge and as Fred watched a different high racked, heavy beamed buck appeared at the top of the ridge 50 yards away. It stayed on the ridge and walked out of sight. Fred told me, "All the bucks I've seen are traveling during daylight looking for does."

Yesterday Joe Ermatinger noticed that there were 5 new rubs, all on very thick trees, uphill from his stand. This morning he heard a buck behind him as it started raking one of the trees 40 yards away. Joe checked his watch, 7:30.

The buck's rear end was facing Joe and he could not get a look at its rack. Fifteen minutes later  the buck stopped ripping the tree up and walked toward Joe's stand. Joe saw its nice rack as it walked by him. Earlier he had put the range finder on a tree the buck was walking toward and it had read 35 yards. But, being a veteran Wells Creek bowhunter, Joe knew that was the yardage from his treestand to the ground and not the actual yardage to shoot. He put his 20 yard pin on the buck and released. The arrow hit right where Joe was aiming.

The buck bolted uphill, past Joe and right to the tree it had rubbed. The buck stuck its neck out and appeared to sniff the rub ... and then collapsed. Here is Joe and the 2nd buck of our hunt.

Nov 12 - High In The Trees 

MORNING: Bob McNeff me took through two creeks to the treestand. When he drove away I was 3/4 up the tree and a deer chase came down the nearby hill and ran all around my area. I stopped climbing until the sound was long gone and continued the climb. Daylight came and I noticed a fresh scrape to my right. Ten does and one young buck came through my funnel. The buck walked down the hill and bedded down by a log. Twenty minutes passed and he got up and loudly raked the overhead limbs in the picture on the left and then raked the leaves away and urinated, making his own scrape. 

The overhanging limbs or the scrape the buck made. The stand, that's Bill Goodwin's of North Starr Treestands Step Rails and Mega Starr treestand.

AFTERNOON: Bob McNeff took me to a different area with hills behind and to the right, a bottom in front and a field 150 yards to the left. They hunt higher here than I usually get. On the uphill side the deer are above you or eye level when you see them. And on the downhill side it looks real far to the ground to me. That's deceiving, in terms of yardage estimating, but I never thought about it as I got out my Nikon rangefinder and took the yardages of things all around the tree.

I grunted at a buck that came off the hill and into the bottom about 80 yards away. Promptly, a big doe walked out of the bottom to the edge of a trail I range findered at 17.5 yards. I waited for a buck but none showed. It started raining hard. My rain gear was in my backpack but I couldn't make the movement without spooking the doe, so we both got drenched.

Eight does and a glimpse at a buck later I heard deer coming down the hill behind me. I strained to see it watched a doe come right below me and turn on the trail in front of the tree and go up the ridge to my right. And something else was coming and I saw a thick main beam bouncing in the thick brush. The buck cut out the part where the doe had walked under me and went to the ridge leaving me ready to shoot but without a clear shot. I put my binoculars on the buck. Wow. Wider than I thought and long tines too. Five minutes later a younger buck sniffed its way on the does trail and went under me. 

Fred's Hunt: Fred saw 5 bucks, but the big bodied buck with massive antlers that he wanted to shoot was 150 yards away.

Nov 11 - Bill Goodwin Starts The Hunt Out Right

Rob McNeff  took Fred Lutger and I to a nearby farm. An 8 point buck chased a doe right under Fred's stand. It wasn't what he was looking for. "But I was excited to see that the rut was kicking in full bore.," said Fred. I had two does come from the nearby field and pass right under me. Rob McNeff really knows where to place his treestands.

Bill Goodwin has been down 4 weekends and has seen several bucks. He was hunting on a ridge and a good buck passed him 60 yards away. When the buck got further down hill the buck stopped near 3 big Hereford cows on the edge of a field. Bill grunted.

The buck looked back uphill. Bill gave a soft grunt and the buck walked straight up to 25 yards from Bill's tree. Bill aimed and shot when the buck was broadside. 

It ran along the ridge for 80 yards and stopped and then piled up and rolled down the steep hill.

Bill Goodwin is the president of North Starr Treestands in Hillsdale, Michigan.

Nov 10 - Had a later start than planned yesterday. Made it to Northern Oklahoma and got a motel and a good nights sleep. Still have 600 miles to go so I should make it to Wells Creek Outfitters between 8 and 9 tonight. I'm back on the road as soon as I finish today's update to the web site.

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