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Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog


Josh Riggs

By Mike Handley

It fell to a veterinarian's scalpel to decide whether an Illinois 15-year-old could keep the deer he shot on Nov. 18, opening morning of the state's (initial) firearms season.

Because three telephone callers claimed he'd shot the enormous buck with a rifle, which is illegal in Illinois, Josh Riggs, a straight-A student and football player at La Salle-Peru Township High School, was forced to prove his innocence.

The allegations were taken seriously until Josh agreed to take the whitetail to an Ottawa, Ill., veterinary clinic for X-raying.

The teenager told authorities he shot the buck three times with his 12-gauge shotgun. But the X-ray showed more than three foreign objects. One was an expandable broadhead buried in the deer's shoulder. The rest were indeed fragments of three shotgun slugs, Josh said.

The finding lifted the kid back onto Cloud Nine.

"That was a three-hour ordeal," Josh said. "I wasn't happy about it at the time, but now I couldn't be happier."

Josh was hunting from a 17-foot-high double ladder stand on his father's 80 acres in La Salle County. He'd lost track of a 10-pointer that had followed a couple of does across a power line when he happened to look in the opposite direction and into the glare of this magnificent buck standing only 20 yards away.

"As soon as it turned its head away from me, I blasted it," he said, adding that he got off two more shots as the deer fled. The animal went to ground about five feet after the third slug hit it.

Winning the local big buck contest's $200 prize helped take the sting out of Josh's being wrongfully accused of shooting this 29-pointer with an illegal weapon. It scored 199 4/8 by the BTR's yardstick, and that doesn't include the 15 4/8-inch inside spread.

Josh's story will appear next fall in Rack magazine.

Andy Lloyd Robert Miller Taylor Fortenberry Matt Nolan Kevin Johnson Lee Greer BTR

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Todd Bruce
# Todd Bruce
Monday, April 09, 2012 9:30 AM
Why do people try to ruin a young hunters future with false claims.Jealous attutide a guess and envie it does not wear well on the people making false accusations.Great buck young man good luck topping that one.My first archery buck was a record book buck,so now I meat hunt for the love of the hunt.
I don't hunt to kill,I kill to hunt. Todd Bruce
# Vince
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 9:27 AM
WTG Josh! GREAT buck! Sorry you had to endure all the malicious nonsense. I'm always amazed by how petty and pathetic some people can be. You keep up the good work. Your setting a great example for young sportsmen and women.
Alan Lenske
# Alan Lenske
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 9:34 AM
Beautiful buck Josh!! and to put two more slugs into him after the first shot,,good shooting Josh!!!
frank peterson
# frank peterson
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 10:23 AM
Josh You have just killed a buck of a lifetime, something few hunters can claim. Congratulations and may you get another one some day even bigger. You did a great job.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 10:41 AM
ron macdougall
# ron macdougall
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 10:50 AM
Congrats on this beautiful harvest,never mind what everyone else says,when hunting season comes along there are so many jealous hunters they come up with all kinds of stories.You know what happened and tha's all that matters.
Andy Swatik
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 2:04 PM
Great job Josh ,dont let someones jealously bring down your high you shot a real trophy that no one else will shoot a buck like that.

Nice job buddy !!!!
Colton Lee
# Colton Lee
Monday, April 16, 2012 11:14 AM
Great job Josh. I got a nice ten point this past season in WV. I am glad there are Elk in Kentucky. There needs to be a Elk herd developed in WV.

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