When Broc Atwood learned one of his neighbors had shot a buck in 2018 that scored in the 180s, he was heartbroken.
The 42-year-old fireman from Danville, Illinois, had trail camera video clips of such a deer in 2016 and 2017, when it would’ve been slightly smaller. He had collected no images that year.
Mystery solved, he reckoned.
Imagine Broc’s surprise and delight when the AWOL animal reappeared in 2019.
When the Land of Lincoln’s bow season opened Oct. 1, Broc wasn’t physically up for it. He was still recuperating from back surgery.
Two and a half weeks later, he checked his cameras and retrieved a 30-second video clip showing the enormous buck he thought his neighbor had killed the previous season. It was obviously the same deer his cameras had filmed in 2016 and 2017. The rack was essentially the same, only thicker.
The Oct. 16, 2019, footage showed the buck following a doe through the 20-acre tract in Vermilion County. The camera was set up at the same place the deer had been photographed two and three years earlier.
He collected more footage of the buck eight days later, and his doctor cleared him for work four days after that.
On Nov. 1, Broc put a trail camera over a scrape he’d doctored with fresh doe urine collected from a local deer farm. He checked it almost a week later, the first day of his scheduled vacation.
His Most Wanted had passed in front of the lens at 6 a.m., again following a doe.
That afternoon, Broc returned with his climbing stand and was aloft by 1:00. A little more than three hours later, a doe brought the buck of his dreams to within 30 yards, easy-breezy for his Ravin crossbow.
The heart-shot whitetail was 6 ½ to 7 ½ years old and weighed 187 pounds, field-dressed.
“His butt was all gone,” Broc laughed. “Chasing those does did a number on him. Plus, we think someone might’ve shot it earlier because there was a wound on its leg. I guess it could’ve been a gore mark, or someone might’ve taken a long shot at it. We’ll never know.”
The deer’s BTR score is 197 7/8 inches.
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