Had Bill Ullrich stuck to his original plan on Oct. 26, someone else’s deer would be on this page. Had his son, Matt, also been able to leave work early that day, his might be the grin behind this fabulous Illinois buck.
But Bill was bowhunting alone that afternoon, and he chose to head to a different spot almost as soon as he parked his truck. The 53-year-old diocesan maintenance worker’s hunt concluded 30 minutes later.
Oct. 26 was a Friday, and Bill left his job early with an itch to be in a tree.
“I go to the woods every chance I get,” he said.
With a particular food plot in mind, he parked, sprayed down with a scent eliminator, doused his boots with estrous doe scent, and then reconsidered his destination. The little valley he hunts in Peoria County has a couple of small fields. He wound up going to the other one, not far from the main road, where he’d seen some big scrapes.
Fresh buck sign aside, Bill likes that half-acre turnip and clover patch. He’d shot five bucks there.
Bill was 24 feet aloft in his climber by 2:45, a little sweaty because of the warm temperature and the walk. As soon as he cooled down enough to shrug into his coat, three does came in from his left, fed and then bedded down about 60 yards from his stand.
Fifteen minutes later, as he was putting on his second coat, a fourth doe arrived. She walked a little closer to his tree than the others had. She was at 35 yards when Bill realized from her body language that she might not be alone.
If that were the case, though, it couldn’t have been close.
The doe eventually left, perhaps joining the others bedded nearby. Ten minutes later, a buck came in on the same trail.
Bill didn’t realize, at first, that this was the same buck he’d spotted the previous year, just beyond bow range and un-turnable. Not that it would’ve made a difference.
Still sitting, Bill grabbed his bow and waited for the deer to take the same route the doe had followed.
When the buck cleared a tree at 35 yards, Bill’s arrow buried up to the fletching into its side. The deer ran for almost 70 yards before lying within a blowdown beyond a hill.
Bill left and waited about 45 minutes before returning to trail the buck, which wasn’t difficult. As soon as he crested the hill, he saw the deer, apparently still alive, in the blowdown. Rather than jump it, he eased back downhill and went home to Washburn.
He and Matt returned at the crack of dawn on Saturday and found it. They estimate the 5 1/2-year-old buck’s weight at 225 pounds.
Hunter: Bill Ullrich
BTR Score: 247 3/8
– Photos Courtesy of Bill Ullrich
This article was published in the October 2013 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home. Read Recent RACK Articles:
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