Illinois Giants

There were so many giant bucks at the Illinois Deer and Turkey Classic—I’m talking gagger-style—that picking out the best-scoring bucks was difficult without the aid of the score sheets hung with each trophy.

I also had help from big buck nuts like volunteer Mike “Woody” Armstrong. With Woody’s help I was able to wipe the drool from the corner of my mouth and keep stumbling in a delusional state past the 170-class deer to view the true kings. The two best I saw while at the show were a bragging-rights nontypical and a mesmerizing typical. Bbzthurs

I apologize if a larger buck showed up later, but I had to catch my flight home to Wyoming. Connections are few and far between. The nontypical (shown here) scored 238 2/8 inches and was shot by Kevin Radke in Jasper County this past hunting season. Although its inside spread doesn’t look wide, it does span more than 19 inches, but the buck’s true character begins with the bases and keeps on going. It has 6–inch bases protected by massive sticker points, nearly 7-inch brows, G3s of more than 11 inches and a 13-by-15 point configuration for scoreable points.

On the opposite wall was a mind-blowing typical shot in 2006 by Charles Rives in Greene County with a net score of 197 6/8 typical. Its most impressive feature were the main beams with the longest wrapping around at 31 4/8 inches. The inside spread is also incredible at 21 0/8 inches. Brow points average about 6 inches.

To be a 190-class buck you need long points, but the G3s really grab your attention at more than 14 inches each, but not to be outdone, the G4s extend 11 2/8 and 10 2/8 inches respectively. Typical bucks that score close the magical 200-inch mark are rare indeed and this buck was a show-stopper.

Next time I need to remember to bring along a handkerchief to wipe away the drool.

—Mark Kayser