Today’s guest post (part II) is from Ellie and Zach Atkins, BIG DEER’s favorite hunting couple:

Hey Mike, it’s Zach, so I’ll tell you my story now.

I take “rutcation” every year from November 1st-15th from work. Well, this year was amazing! I saw a ton of deer but I was after 2 particular bucks, and by the end of my vacation I only saw them twice. They weren’t close enough to shoot.

My rutcation ended and I went back to work. The following weekend coming up would be shotgun season here in Illinois, on November 20th. On November 17th, my birthday, Ellie told me, “Hey, go try and buy a buck tag for Mclean County and go out this weekend for a birthday hunt.”

I bought a tag and went out to my father-n-law’s property to a stand I hadn’t hunted in 3 years. It only took 2 hours before this tank walked by. That’s why I love the rut because who knows what’s going to show up!

He weighed in at 302 pounds and I broke 2 ropes trying to hang him! He is my biggest buck to date and probably the most mature deer I’ve ever seen.

All I got to say is you should have seen Ellie and me try to load him up, ha ha!—Thanks, Zach

Zach, what a pig of a birthday buck, congrats! I’ve seen and shot only a couple 300-pounders in my day, and to see one on the ground in all its maturity is a sight indeed!