LAST UPDATED: May 8th, 2015
The premiere episode of our new web show “Bowhunt or Die!” could not have gone any better. Our Pro Staffers were anxious to get in the woods with bow in one hand and camera in the other, eager to test out the best gear while sharing our hunting experiences with you. Our first episode followed the Illinois opener as we had 5 Pro Staffers hitting the woods looking to arrow an Illinois giant.
Bowhunting.com President Todd Graf introducing Bowhunt or Die!
After a slow start to the season in Wisconsin, Illinois native Mike Willand was excited to hunt his resident state of Illinois and chase those familiar whitetails. Mike had hunted hard in Wisconsin the previous two weeks and, without seeing a deer, was keyed up for the Illinois opener. Sunday October 3rd found Mike sitting in a tree on his new lease in Northwestern Illinois watching a nice buck and a few does feed just out of bow range for the majority of the evening. The potential shooter never got closer than 36 yards and opening weekend in Illinois left Mike with no deer down, but a good encounter with a nice buck nonetheless.
Mike Willand played cat and mouse with this low 130s buck the afternoon of October 3, but was never presented with a shot.
Justin Zarr experienced the exact opposite on his first outing of the 2010 deer season, as he hunted hard opening weekend and never saw a deer. The particular area Justin was hunting doesn’t have a high concentration of deer; however, Justin worked hard and put in the time and effort. It can be discouraging to wait all year for opening weekend and then not see a deer, but Justin knew that the season was young and that better hunting days would certainly come along soon.
The Illinois opener was literally a dream come for me, as I was fortunate enough to hunt Illinois for the first time ever. Growing up as a kid I dreamed of bowhunting Illinois whitetails, and on the afternoon of October 1st, I was doing just that. After slow afternoon hunts on Friday and Saturday, I went to my best stand site Sunday afternoon hoping for better luck. Around 6 o’clock, I was surprised by a mature doe just 30 yards away and closing. With little time to get nervous, I turned on my camera, grabbed my bow and prepared myself for my first chance at an Illinois whitetail. I came to full draw on the doe when she was at 8 yards, released an arrow tipped with the NAP Thunderhead Edge and watched her tear out of sight all in less than 10 seconds. After a short tracking job, I recovered my first Illinois whitetail, a big mature doe captured all on film!
I was fortunate enough to harvest a mature doe on film during the Illinois opener. It was a dream come true!
Bowhunting.com President Todd Graf experienced what he described as the best Illinois opener of his life. While he didn’t harvest a deer, Todd had great deer activity all weekend and had close encounters with two shooter bucks. Despite not being able to close the deal on either of those bucks, Todd learned a great deal of information about their patterns and habits which will help him put the pieces of the puzzle together and help harvest a mature buck later on. As most bowhunters know, hunting mature bucks is a chess match with each move requiring careful calculation. I trust in Todd’s ability to hunt big bucks with a bow, so I know he can get the job done.
This shooter buck slipped past Todd Graf just out of bow range opening weekend. Nevertheless, seeing a buck on his feet during daylight hours this early in the season is definitely a good sign.
Richie Music concluded our series premiere by making a great shot on a mature doe as well. Richie and his camera man had just gotten in the stand and had deer all around them, literally within minutes! Richie remained calm and collected and waited for the best shot opportunity to present itself and when it did, he made it count. His Diamond bow tipped with the NAP Bloodrunner made a quick, clean kill and the doe ran less than 100 yards before expiring. Richie’s opening weekend went beautifully; harvesting a beautiful doe and capturing awesome footage of the entire hunt is what bowhunters dream about. Congrats again Richie!
Richie Music pumped after making a lethal shot on a doe just minutes after getting settled in his treestand.
The 2010 deer season started off with a bang (or should I say THWACK?) for the Bowhunting.com team. Two whitetails fell victim to the hard work and dedication of our Pro Staffers and with the best hunting yet to come, we’ll be sure to lay down some more great footage for you to see on Bowhunt or Die!