posted on June 30, 2013 07:54
By Mike Handley
Bob Weber of Ottawa, Ill., would've gladly remained under the blankets on Jan. 19, but his 12-year-old stepson, Jake, doesn't have a snooze button.
The boy rousted him at 4:30 a.m., eager to usher out the 2012-13 season. Bob, who'd been fighting an upper respiratory infection, might've preferred to stay indoors, but Jake's birthday also fell on that weekend, and he wasn't about to deny him an opportunity to shoot a deer.
Rather than go to their usual box blind, they hunted from the ground. About an hour after sunrise, Bob circled well out in front of his stepson with the intent of pushing a deer into the boy's lap.
He hadn't gone far when he saw about 20 does heading northwest up a ridge, away from Jake. There was no way he could get in front of them.
Bob suspected that one or more bucks might be following the herd, so he rested his muzzleloader against a tree and scoped the area behind the does. Sure enough, he spotted three bucks, the largest about 50 yards behind the others - all too far away to shoot.
It took awhile, and the stalk was stop-and-go, but Bob wound up creeping within 60 yards of and shooting the big one.
"Afterward, I walked back to Jake to tell him what had happened," Bob said. "As I neared my stepson, the cough I had been suppressing all that time finally erupted.
"Jake laughed and said, ‘You sound like John Coffey from ‘The Green Mile,' hacking up something fierce!'" he added.
The boy was elated. Bob was, too, when he finally stopped coughing long enough to smile.
The LaSalle County 25-pointer has a BTR composite score of 233 7/8 inches. An official score of 215 6/8 lands it in a tie for third place among Illinois' top blackpowder bucks.
The rest of the story will appear in RACK magazine this fall.