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Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog


Dalton Phillips

By Mike Handley

Had the state of Illinois not changed the rules for 2011's October youth hunt, allowing kids to shoot bucks (not just does), Chapin, Ill., taxidermist Jason Donovan might've earned one less truck payment.

Nobody was happier to hear the news than 12-year-old Dalton Phillips.

Not that Dalton was new to hunting, not because he minded being on doe patrol, and not because he'd never shot a buck. He began accompanying his dad, Travis, when he was 7. Going into the 2011 season, he'd already shot a 6-pointer, 8-pointer and a couple of does with is shotgun.

Just knowing that bucks were fair game was enough to put a spring in his step when he and his dad headed to a farm in McDonough County on Saturday, Oct. 9.

"We sat for a long time (on the ground), but saw nothing," Dalton said. "So we got up and started walking through an oak bottom, just easing along, working our way down a big hill.

"When we saw this deer, it was eating grass and berries. It didn't know we were there," he continued. "I got down on one knee and put my elbow on the other one.

"I had to shoot really quickly," he said.

Father and son searched for the deer for an hour, and then they had to leave because Dalton's little brother had a football game. When they returned the next day, they found the 17-pointer within 10 minutes.

"I think Dad was about ready to jump out of his pants," Dalton said. "I didn't realize how big the deer was when I shot it."

Big, in this case, is a BTR composite score of 215 1/8, nearly 46 of which is mass. Those bases are 7 3/8 and 7 4/8 inches.

Lisa Price shares the whole story behind this glorious whitetail in the upcoming Winter issue of RACK magazine.

Jim Wilson Dylan Beach-Bittner Michell Trevathan BTR

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