posted on November 24, 2013 07:35
By Mike Handley
What-ifs can Swiss-cheese a deer hunter's confidence like a swarm of Formosan termites ripping through floor joists.
Before Scott Siefert and his lease-mates witnessed Illinois' mid-November rut from their treestands in 2012, they were convinced they'd have been better off buying the proverbial Florida swampland instead of leasing a farm in the much ballyhooed Pike County.
Ponying up for the 420-acre farm was Scott's idea. He was the Indiana group's Madoff. The tract in neighboring Illinois had everything necessary to attract and hold deer: crop fields, winding creek and a perfect mixture of thickets and hardwoods.
"After closing on the lease, we made many trips to erect stands, trim shooting lanes and set out trail cameras," Scott said. "The most exciting part was checking our cameras."
He should've said the THOUGHT of checking them.
When there were no decent bucks among the photographs (from the cameras that weren't stolen), excitement turned to doubt. The gang had paid a lot of money for a lease that didn't seem to have any mature deer, though it was indeed a magnet for trespassers and thieves.
"To make a long story short, we were disgusted," Scott admitted.
But that was then, before the floodgates opened.
When they returned to bowhunt the week leading up to (and including) the state's first firearms season, deer were everywhere.
Scott's first chance to burn a tag came on Nov. 16, opening day of shotgun season. He wound up taking the third (and biggest) shooter buck he saw that morning, after he calmed down long enough to squeeze the trigger.
"It was almost impossible not to dwell on the fact that the buck had everything we all hold dear: spread, tine length, dark antlers, muscled-up neck and bunches of tines," he said.
The 13-point Typical has a BTR composite score of 180 4/8 inches. Scott's story appeared in the August issue of RACK.