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A Buck Named Sweetness

Sweet 16 Buck

Whitetail Journal

Relive the excitement of this 5 year quest for a legendary Illinois whitetail nicknamed “Sweetness”. As featured in the August 2012 issue of the Whitetail Journal , the hunt for Sweetness first started on a fateful day during the summer of 2007 when he was spotted feeding with a bachelor group of bucks.

As a four year old whitetail with an already impressive rack, Sweetness was photographed several times in velvet. At the time, his 16 point rack earned him the nickname “Sweet 16”. Later that fall, bowhunter Mike Bunning had an encounter with the giant that left both hunter and whitetail a little worse for wear, but still alive.

The following year, Sweet 16 grew an even more impressive rack as he continued to show up on trail camera. Although come hunting season, the buck vanished. The same story unfolded in 2009 with several trail camera pictures of the buck, which was now pushing the 200 inch mark, but no shot opportunities presented themselves.

In 2010 Todd and Mike were once again hard on the heels of this Illinois bruiser. Although with the addition of some more points, they now changed the buck’s name to “Sweetness”. Todd had several encounters with the buck during late season bowhunting, but was unable to get close enough for a shot.

When the 2011 season rolled around, Todd and Mike had one common goal between them and that was to hunt Sweetness until one of them got a shot. Then, on one fateful afternoon the buck showed up in the very spot where Mike had gotten a shot at him some 4 years earlier, only this time the end of the story was laying just 50 yards from Mike’s Lone Wolf stand.

Read The Full Story




Follow Sweetness through trail camera photos starting in 2007 all the way to trophy photos in 2012.

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Trail Camera Videos

Watch a series of trail camera videos of Sweetness.

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  1. Aaron Williams says:

    Unbelievable story! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Terry Rohm says:

    Awsome,Awsome story and video. Great to see two hunters working together with one goal! This story and video shows respect amoung two hunters but more importantly the respect for a great whitetail.

  3. Matt Duffy, The Coun says:

    Truly amazing work gentlemen. There is nothing I get more enjoyment out of than following an old buck for many years and finally getting him on the ground. For it to be an absolute giant like Sweetness, well that just sweeten's the pot!

    Great job!

  4. A Great Guy from a great family who thankfully, own a great piece of property!

  5. Joe Resch says:

    I like the emphasis on the hunt and not just the production. The production is good but most TV shows only care about the shot being on film and will pass great bucks that the rest of us would love to have. Nice work guys, keep it up!

  6. Cub fan from Husker says:

    Nicely done Mike! Exciting end to a great story. Thank you for sharing.

  7. A Man with a Bow in says:

    Quite a AWESOME JOB! Great story and even better ending being that the same guy that hit Sweetness with a arrow early on in his life got that 2nd chance and hit PAY DIRT!!!!! Congrats!

  8. 33Canuck says:

    What a awesome story and mega whitetail! Awesome job guys!

  9. Jeremy Yancey says:

    I think this is a story that any hunter dreams about! I wonder if the buck was still carrying the broadhead from the first shot?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Check out this link…might give a little insight as to where this buck was when he disappeared for a year or two.
    link to

  11. Joe Bear says:

    It's memories like these that make bow hunting so much fun!

  12. Lonewolf says:

    very nice buck and good hunting for your next one…


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