Illinois Bowhunting Success – Two Does Down

My bowhunting season started off pretty slowly with only 3 trips to the field over the first 12 days of October.  Last week however, things definitely started picking up.  A mid-week trip to Northwest Illinois with Todd resulted in a close encounter with a few does, and then a weekend trip to West Central Illinois ended with a couple passed bucks and a doe for the freezer.  With November looming just around the corner the best is yet to come.

Last Wednesday Todd Graf and I headed out to try and lay down some footage for our new weekly video production here on called “Bowhunt or Die”.  If you haven’t seen the first two episodes, click here to watch them!  We will be posting new episodes every Friday morning throughout the season so be sure to check back often for new action from week to week.

After a rather uneventful morning with me behind the camera Todd and I hung a new treestand and then got ready for the afternoon hunt.  I was up to bat that evening with Todd taking over camera duties, but unfortunately a rather undesirable wind direction spoiled our chances at a few does that come to eat in one of Todd’s food plots.  Even though we didn’t score on any whitetails, getting back in the stand after a 10 day layoff got me back in that familiar October mindset and ready to get back at it.

With a packed truck in the parking lot Friday evening couldn’t come fast enough. After work I hit the road with my buddy Jeremy Enders, fellow staff member Cody Altizer and’s cameraman/editor Brian McAlister.  After a 5 hour drive and 4 hours of sleep we were up and headed to our stands for the first time this season.

Over the course of the next few hours we saw a combined total of about 25 deer including 5 bucks who spent most of their time sparring with one another, making scrapes, and harassing the local doe population.  I certainly wasn’t expecting that type of behavior for Mid-October but it was a great way to start things off!

One buck in particular tested my resolve to hold out for a bigger buck this fall as he walked directly in front of me at 22 yards, stood still, and then looked in the other direction.  Although this buck has great G2’s and brow tines he’s just not the caliber of animal I’m after so I let him walk.  Trust me, it was a tough decision!

Here’s a still frame from this week’s upcoming episode of Bowhunt or Die.  “Rudy” was testing the air for estrous a mere 22 yards in front of my stand while the camera rolled and I tried to refrain from shooting him!

A trailcam pic of Rudy from mid September.  You can really see his great bows in this photo here.  A tough buck to pass!

Before the morning was over both Jeremy and myself were fortunate enough to harvest does, both of which were captured on video.  This was Jeremy’s first archery harvest and it was really great to be a part of it.  A big congratulations to him on a perfect shot!  Both Jeremy and myself are shooting NAP Nitron broadheads, which took down these does within 60 yards of where they were shot.  I know huge cutting diameter is all the “rage” right now, but there’s no replacement for accuracy and you will not find a more accurate head than the Nitron, guaranteed.  Look for both of these hunts, as well as footage of Rudy, in this week’s episode of Bowhunt or Die!

Jeremy and I with our October does, shot 1 hour and 300 yards apart.

A big thanks to Brian and Cody for filming us this past weekend.  Without these guys we wouldn’t be able to bring you these exciting bowhunts, so they deserve just as much credit as we do!

With a full moon coming and rain in the forecast for this weekend I’m not sure how much deer movement I’ll see, but you can’t kill them on the couch so you can bet you’ll find me in the woods somewhere!


  1. Neal McCullough says:

    Nicely done Justin! Good luck in the coming weeks!

  2. Michael Baker says:

    nice does, if you want some good hunting in other parts of Illinois come to Adams Co. I live here in Adams and we have some monsters here. Come on down and have some fun.

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