The Bucks of Tecomate 2009 Season Hunts - I

The Midwest Is A CHALLENGE!
In late November, Gary Schwarz and I headed to Pike County, Illinois, the heart of Midwest big buck hunting. Gary and I were there for two purposes – hunting for The Bucks of Tecomate TV show by day and hosting the Versus Whitetail Challenge by night. That kind of schedule made for a wild four days in Illinois! If you saw the Challenge, which aired in December on VERSUS, you know hunting was tough. Larry Weishuhn and Challenge winner Olivia Angelloz (yes, Olivia won the Challenge against the 3 veteran men hunters with a last-minute kill) shot the only two deer taken, the biggest of which was a 137! It was tough in Pike County for the Challenge contestants ... and Gary and me! I never saw a buck over 2½ years old. Gary had a 160-class 10-pointer at 75 yards on the first morning, but the cameraman couldn’t get on him. We came home humbled and more than a little frustrated.

Let me hasten to say that our problem was NOT where we were hunting and certainly was NOT our outfitter. It was tough for everybody in central Illinois during this particular three-day hunt period. Our outfitter, Carroll Berry and his Illinois Extreme Whitetails, did an awesome job and has great country. The deer just didn’t come to the party.
About 80 miles north of us, Blaine and Mali were having the exact same experience on Mali’s prime Tecomate-managed Illinois farm. Last year, the place was crawling with big bucks, and Blaine shot a 176 16-pointer. Mali has reams of StealthCam photos of big bucks. But during this year’s late November Illinois firearms season, the big bucks had apparently moved to China!

Rans Thomas, Tecomate head biologist, has had his share of bad luck and unsuccessful hunts over the last couple of years. When he went back to Nebraska for round two, he was feeling the pressure. It was nip and tuck until the end, but Rans pulled it off with a great shot on an old 9-pointer scoring in the 140s. He was delighted. I was too ... and hoped the Midwest jinx was broken. It was not.

Sako rifle in tow, Blaine returned to Kansas ... and came back with naught! Heat and high winds got him. Then, he headed to Iowa on a hunt he was sure would end with a big buck on the pole. He came close ... had a 170-class coming to him on the last day just as light was fading. But as so often is the case with big bucks, "Stuff Happens!" You’ll have to see the show.

More to come on The Bucks of Tecomate 2009 Season Hunts ...

Posted by David Morris

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