photo of a deer killed by Keith Swillingphoto of a deer killed by Keith Swillingphoto of a deer killed by Keith Swilling

Hunter: Keith Swilling

Points: 10 (5L, 5R)

County: Murray

Season: 2020-2021

Hunt Story

I just returned from my first Illinois bow hunt where I harvested a 145” 11-pointer, my biggest deer. I knew that the time was right on my Murray County lease for bucks to be cruising. I almost didn’t get up Friday morning but I woke up early and decided to go. Our club is roughly 500 acres and I ALWAYS go to a rickety old box stand I built many years ago. Although it looks downright dangerous, it is safe. I’ve killed several deer from that box that have become decor on my walls so I know exactly where the deer come. Sure enough, at 7:40 I see a deer walk into the very end of my shooting lane 190 yards away. A quick look through my binos and I knew he was worthy of my last buck tag. Experience has taught me that he’s not gonna stand there but a second. I grabbed my trusty .270 and put the scope on him only to see my power was turned all the way down on 3. I rushed the shot and made a clean miss. And he never moved. I bolted another, turned my scope up to 9, took a deep breath, settled the cross hairs and squeezed. When I look back through my scope, he had disappeared. I grabbed my binos again and could just get a glimpse of him laying in a depression barely out of sight. I watched the spot for about 5 minutes before climbing down and heading to check him out. He’s likely my 2nd biggest deer ever. I’ve hunted deer over 40 years and I killed my two biggest deer within 9 days of each other. Persistence pays off.
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