Bowhunting the Illinois Rut – Day 1

By Justin ZarrNovember 12, 2010

LAST UPDATED: May 8th, 2015

With the firearm season looming just days away, it’s do or die time for many Illinois bowhunters.  We all know that after gun season the deer population not only decreases by a healthy amount, but the survivors become quite a bit more leary of their surroundings and thus harder to kill.  So with that in mind, a 3 day trip to West Central Illinois is just what the doctor ordered!

Record high temps across the Midwest has kept deer movement rather subdued lately, but with a cold front moving in the deer should finally be on their feet.  This morning we had temps in the low 40’s and the deer were definitely moving, I was just in the wrong spot!  While my cameraman Cody and I spotted a mere 5 deer from stand, our hunting partner Jeremy saw just shy of 20 deer including several nice bucks.   I guess that’s the story of my life, wrong place at the wrong time!

Enjoying a delicious Honey Bun during on a cool November morning.  Good times.

We did have a good encounter with one nice buck this morning who I elected to pass.  With only one buck tag left for this year I’m going to be very picky with the deer I choose to shoot.  I had this guy at 32 yards broadside for nearly 5 minutes.  Although I didn’t shoot, it was a really cool experience and certainly made the morning hunt a little more enjoyable.

Although he’s a nice buck, he’s just not quite what I’m looking for.

After the morning hunt ended I checked my trail camera and found that a couple of the bucks I’m after still seem to be hanging around.  I also discovered a pretty cool photo of the buck I shot on 10/31 taken just minutes before we met for the first, and the last time. 

Checking my Primos Truth Cam 60IR. So far I’ve been very happy with this camera’s performance.

This photo was taken just minutes before I shot this buck, as seen in Episode 5 of Bohunt or Die!

Buster” is near the top of my hit list for this farm.

Once again a day late and a dollar short.  This was taken yesterday morning, 40 yards from the stand I sat this morning!

With rain in the forecast for tomorrow morning Cody and I used our afternoon hunt as an opportunity to set up a ground blind.  After all, hunting in the rain is no fun – especially with camera gear.  So we got our Primos Vision blind set up and “brushed in”, then sat back for the night’s hunt.  Unfortunately we got skunked, but I wasn’t surprised.  We’re sitting in a spot that’s more suited for AM hunts, and one in which you can only see about 60 yards in a single direction.  Deer could’ve been 20 yards behind us and we never would’ve seen them.

Tomorrow morning we’ll be back at it, hoping a nice buck shows up in front of our blind.  If nothing else, we’re going to have a good time enjoying a beautiful November day here in Illinois.

The view from our ground blind tonight, and where you can find us tomorrow morning about 5 am!

Justin Zarr
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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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