Nineteen-year-old Cole Foglesong of Astoria, Ill., a freshman biology student at McMurry College, has already made an impressive mark in the deer hunting world – thanks to an incredible 13-point buck he took during the Land of Lincoln’s 2003 season.
While hunting on his family’s property in Fulton County in 2001, Cole found an incredibly large shed from a buck known to inhabit the area. Some time and distance later, a neighbor found the other side of this once massive rack. No one knew the whereabouts of the buck that had worn it. It was never seen during the 2002 season.
“There is a lot of hunting pressure in this area, all during the season. I had even heard that the buck had been killed, but nobody could or would say how or by whom. It might have been hit by a car, when the antlers were off ... Who knows? It just vanished,” Cole said.
The buck was not seen again until Nov. 22, 2003, the first day of shotgun season.
It was a beautiful autumn day, though warm. The temperature eventually climbed almost to 70 degrees. Cole was a bit late getting to the woods due to some pressing issues on the family farm. He was finally situated just after daylight in a concealed ground hideaway in the large swamp on the family-owned Black Gold Ranch in western Illinois.
“I have been hunting this area for several years. It is one of my favorite places to hunt. I had a treestand nearby for bowhunting, but I like to stay on the ground for shotgun season, and there was plenty of good cover nearby,” Cole explained.
He had been watching and listening for quite some time, but had seen nothing. Around 9:30, he heard a noise off to the side and came to full alert.
“I spotted a very large deer moving from the swamp toward a nearby pasture field. There had been quite a few gunshots in the surrounding area, and the deer were feeling the pressure,” he said. “At first, I wasn’t sure if it was a buck or not, but it was a very large deer, so I prepared for the shot if it came close enough. When it passed through an open area, I saw enough to know it was a buck – a big one!”
The deer continued angling toward the hunter and finally stepped into the clear at a mere 15 yards. Cole raised the 12 gauge and prepared to send a rifled slug on its way. The deer was coming in broadside, a perfect target.
“When the buck was in the open, I forced myself not to look at the antlers. I aimed at the vitals, slipped off the safety and squeezed the trigger,” Cole said. “I must have been too close or shaking some because I hit the deer higher than I planned. The slug cut the spine, and it dropped right there.
“I walked right over to the downed buck as it was still moving but not going anywhere. I watched as the life went out of it. I stared at the rack. It was huge, just HUGE – bigger than I could have imagined. I sat and stared at the antlers and the beautiful drop tine that was more than 11 inches long. I counted the points twice.
“Right away, I knew that it was the same buck whose sheds we’d found two years earlier. The antlers looked exactly the same, just a whole lot bigger!
“After a good 15 minutes, I decided it was time to tell the family, so I got out the two-way and radioed that I had a nice buck down. I didn’t want them to know it was a monster, so I played it down as I told them exactly where I was and asked Dad to be sure to bring the camera.
“I guess Dad knew from the sound of my voice that it was more than just a small deer, but he and my brothers were all surprised at the size when they finally joined me. Lots of handshakes and high-fives were swapped, and lots of hootin’ and hollerin’ followed before Dad took some pictures,” declared Cole. “I don’t think there were any deer left for miles around from all the hollering that I was doing. I was really excited!
“Lots of people showed up at the check station to get a close look at my deer. Field-dressed, it weighed 205 pounds, and this was AFTER the peak of the rut,” Cole continued. “It was still in pretty good shape, physically, and none of the points were broken.”
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View Official BTR SCORESHEET for Cole Foglesong.
Taken By: Cole Foglesong
BTR Official Score: 191 1/8
BTR Composite Score: 212 7/8
Location: Fulton County, Illinois
Date: November 1, 2003