Hey Mike: I love checking out your site and reading about big bucks. You featured my brother, Daniel, and I couple of years back when we teamed up on a 176-inch 13-point buck during the Illinois shotgun season. I’ve got another story for you from the first Illinois gun season 2014 in Adams County.
We had been watching this buck for 4 years. The first picture we ever got of him, we guessed him to be a 3.5-year-old 10-pointer. The next year he put on some inches and had long G-2s and G-3s but short G-4s. We had never actually seen this buck in the woods, and we hadn’t gotten any hard-horn pictures of him.
In 2013 the buck really blew up in size and added some stickers to his rack. We knew the deer was something special, but we were not very optimistic about seeing him while hunting, since we had never gotten any pictures of him in the fall. Again, all the trail-cam pictures we had of the buck were in velvet, and we figured this was just his summer range.
But one day in late November that year, I rattled and grunted and he came in downwind of me. But he presented no shot, and we never saw him again. We finally did get a hard-horned picture of him that fall, and he was huge. We guessed him to be in the 180s.
We searched long and hard last spring for his horns, and Daniel finally happened across one side of his rack. He was super excited. It measured right at 85 inches, the biggest shed we’d ever found. A friend of Daniel’s nicknamed the buck Batman because he said the points off the rack’s G-2 looked like Batman’s sleeve, lol.
My dad, Daniel and I knew we had to hunt this deer hard and try something different. Daniel found the shed only a couple hundred yards away from where I saw the buck that one time in 2013, and where we always got summer pictures of him. We were starting to figure out his range, but it was a hard place to hunt–a deep, long ditch with a few fingers that ran through some crop fields and cow pastures. We scouted and scouted. There was only one tree suitable for a stand and it wasn’t very good, but we put a stand in it anyway.
The summer of 2014 came and went with no pictures of Batman, and we were a little
discouraged. But we figured that if he was still around, he would still be in this area. My brother bowhunted that stand in the lone tree a few times during the rut and saw a few deer, but nothing special. He planned to hunt it again during the first gun season because the farmer on the land was going to move his cows around on opening day, and that might have the deer moving.
Wouldn’t you know it, at 9:30 a.m. that morning Batman came out of a thick bedding area and chased a doe right by the tree stand! The buck was about 80 yards away when Daniel put a slug through the buck’s shoulders and dropped him instantly.
Man, the phone calls were ringing that morning between me, my brother and dad. This is the biggest buck anyone in our family has ever killed. Daniel shot Batman a mere 100 yards from where he found his shed last spring, and very close to where he and I had doubled-teamed the 176-incher a few years back. It was so awesome and my dad and I couldn’t have been prouder of Daniel.
Batman’s rack has 13-inch G-2s and G-3s and grosses 185 inches. We figured he was 7.5 years old. I hope you enjoyed another story from us.
–Thanks, Alex Ippensen
THIS is a great story… congrats man on your hard work & patience.
That is one cool buck! Love the G2’s & 3’s on him. Dean I agree it’s insane how well whitetails adapt to their surroundings and learn how to blend and hide when there isn’t even anything to hide behind. Out here in Arizona up on the flat mesa’s where there’s knee high grass you can look through binos for a mile and see nothing out there, but five minutes later there may be 40+ deer that stand up out of that tall grass and amaze you because you just could’ve sworn there weren’t any there. I once hunted a buck that used a ditch like this big boy did and he would never come out of the ditch unless he was in some thicket. Congrats to your brother and good luck to you next year!
Awesome story! And, congrats to all of you on such success. It’s amazing how those big dudes can be there and yet you’d swear they’re never really there at all. They seem to have that uncanny ability to hide in plain site. I would wager to guess that that fellow was a fencerow user. I have a friend here in Indiana who lives and hunts in fairly open country and the bucks he hunts have adapted to using those fencerows for much of their bedding/security areas. It makes sense if you think about it. They’ll bed up in certain portions of the ‘rows and use the wind and their ability to see danger coming…and then adjust accordingly. Thank goodness his lady friend got him up and coming your brother’s way.