In the fall of 2020, a 230-inch whitetail was taken at Illinois Connection Outfitters that was likely one of the largest if not the largest buck taken in the state of Illinois during the 2020 deer season. Doug Benefield, the owner of Illinois Connection, said they had been chasing the buck for 3 years. “We are not entirely sure how old the buck was, but he first showed up on camera a few years ago. We figured he was 7 or 8 years old at the time he was shot by my client, Jay Culpepper,” Benefield explained.
From the moment the buck showed up on camera, Benefield put him on the hit list but it took several years to connect the dots. “The truth is this buck continued to get lucky over the years,” Benefield explained. “Multiple times this buck was within 60 or 70 yards of a hunter, but the deer never presented a shot. We would see him on camera and a hunter would see him and then he would disappear for a while. A buck like that is difficult to kill.”
Many hunters think that by the time a buck is 7 or 8 years old, it will start to go downhill but that is not always the case. “What we have found here in Illinois is that if a buck has the proper nutrition and good genetics, it can have an amazing rack at 7 or 8 years of age,” Benefield noted. “This particular buck was a a 7×5 one year, a 7×7 the next year and this past year when he was killed, he was an amazing 20-pointer. He truly is a one-of-a-kind buck.”
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