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Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog


Matt Moore

By Mike Handley

Back in 2001, the year I first went to Pike County, Ill., and shot my first buck and doe with a bow (I was a late bloomer in archery), the area was 20 years beyond its peak.

I still remember the 1980s, when newspapers all over the country published stories about the monstrous whitetails being harvested in Pike County. The glowing reports made it seem as if giant deer were to be found behind every sparse bush.

In no time at all, every inch of ground - with or without bushes - was snatched up by outfitters eager to capitalize off the big deer and free publicity.

Unless they had land to lease, the locals hated it. Still do, I suspect.

Giant deer aren't as numerous as they were during west-central Illinois' heyday. But the food is still there. Ditto for the genetics. And the land certainly hasn't disappeared, though it might have changed hands a few dozen times.

It's extremely rare for hunters to tag world-class bucks while hunting with an outfitter. Deer simply won't tolerate the extra pressure.

If there is an exception, however, it's to be found in Pike County. When the corn is harvested, whitetails concentrate in the only cover left to them.

Matt Moore of Mississippi might never have seen those early newspaper articles. He might not know why some locals grimace whenever they see an out-of-state license plate. And he's probably unaware that the area probably has more outfitters per capita than any other place in North America.

It's all immaterial to him.

He and his father have hunted with the same outfitter for four years, and they couldn't be happier.

Matt has taken three great bucks there, his most recent a 193 5/8-inch (composite) Typical - a mainframe 5x5 with a couple of extras.

He climbed into his stand before daylight on Nov. 30 and saw the buck running right down the middle of a plowed up cornfield, heading straight for him. It stopped out at 100 yards, which is when Matt fired a slug into its chest.

A second shot anchored it.

"When I picked up his rack, everyone in Pike County heard me holler," Matt told Jill Easton, who's writing his story for RACK magazine.

I can certainly see why.

Post Rating


# Bass
Thursday, October 03, 2013 1:43 PM
It's a nice buck but it doesn't apply to 99% of bucks killed these days and hunters who don't hunt with outfitters. I get tired of hearing about big bucks killed with outfitters and certain private properties that most hunters don't get to hunt on. Let's get real about hunting.
Mike Handley
# Mike Handley
Thursday, October 03, 2013 3:16 PM
Well, 99 percent of the deer featured in this blog are not taken with outfitters because, like I said, truly world-class bucks rarely are. The ones featured in this spot are the cream of the crop, taken mostly on public and private tracts. How can one get more real than that? Even if this weren't the case, why is it wrong (or somehow less manly) for someone who doesn't own land to book a hunt with someone who does? Especially if they have the money and disdain hunting where they don't know who's behind the next ridge? Our community will never be any better than the current Congress as long as we nourish an Im-better-than-you attitude. Enjoy your sport. Do it your way, as long as it's legal. And stop berating others. Thanks

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