Another Slow Weekend Bowhunting in Illinois

By Justin ZarrNovember 24, 20087 Comments

LAST UPDATED: May 8th, 2015

Well, another weekend has come and gone here in Northern Illinois without even a sighting of a shootable buck.  In fact, in three trips to stand this weekend I saw two 1 1/2 year old bucks, one doe, and two unidentified tails running through the woods.  With the good weather we had and the stands I hunted I'll be honest, I was really expecting something better!

Saturday morning brought 18 degree temperatures and a SW wind which was perfect for a spot I had hunted earlier in October.  It was right in close to a good bedding area in a small woodlot where I hoped one of the many bucks I had captured on my trail camera might be hanging out, either with a doe or looking for does.  I packed my Lone Wolf stand in and hung my set in the dark, then set up my camera arm and camera right before first shooting light.  The morning brought a sighting of a 1 1/2 year old fork buck making a rub, and two unidentified deer who either spooked because they saw me before I saw them or because the little buck was getting too close to their position.  All movement was within the first 1/2 hour of light and I didn't lay eyes on another deer after that.  I froze my butt off until 10:15 before climbing down for the morning.

That afternoon I hunted the other end of the same farm near another bedding area, hoping the deer would come out to feed on the freshly cut corn field.  However, all that showed up was the same fork buck from the morning, cruising around looking for something to do apparently. 

Sunday morning I slept in and didn't hunt.  I know you can't kill a deer if you're not out in the field, but you also can't get any sleep if you're in a treestand at 5 am either!  So with some renewed energy Mike and I packed our stands into a brand new spot and hung them up for an evening hunt.  We were in a super thick piece of woods that hasn't been hunted this year and that we haven't scouted much in the past.  We found the first good trail heading to some open fields, the first good tree, and got set up as quietly as possible.  Only 20 minutes into our hunt a big doe skirted our stand at about 30 yards.  After that the movement was slow until right before dark when we had a 1 1/2 year old Super Spike come stand directly underneath us until it was too dark to shoot.  We ended up spooking him away by throwing my handwarmers at him, and even then he didn't want to leave!

And so ended another weekend in the fields of suburban Chicagoland.  Deer sightings seem to be way down this year, and I haven't seen any bucks older than 1 1/2 in more than a dozen sits so far this season.  Considering it's almost the end of November I think you could say I'm getting a little discouraged.  However, I'll be back at it on Wednesday morning.  I know there are some good bucks around, I just need to keep plugging away if I hope to catch up with one.

Justin Zarr
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General Manager at Bowhunting.com
Justin has been bowhunting for more than 25 years, harvesting a number of P&Y whitetails in his home state of Illinois during that time.  He co-hosts the popular bowhunting show 'Bowhunt or Die' and is a frequent guest on numerous hunting podcast.  Justin lives in the NW suburbs of Chicago with his wife and 3 children.
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