Bbz219 Alex Rutledge of Hunter’s Specialties is one of the most down to earth and humble television personalities in the industry. He is just a country boy from Missouri who has an unbelievable passion for hunting and for promoting the outdoors. Over the years, he has built quite a reputation as a turkey and deer-tagging machine who knows how to get things done when the cameras are rolling. Last season, Rutledge found himself chasing rut-crazed whitetails in the fabled big buck state of Illinois. On this hunt, Rutledge would be sharing camp with country music star Craig Morgan and Jerry Martin of Bass Pro Shops.

Rutledge’s first couple of days in the stand produced no shooter bucks, but he was very confident in the area. The second part of his hunt marked the opening of the Illinois gun season and Rutledge chose to use his T.C. muzzleloader for its extended range capabilities in the open country. On opening morning, Rutledge had constructed a makeshift ground blind along the edge of a secluded corn field about 400 to 500 hundred yards from his hunting buddy, Craig Morgan. As luck would have it, both hunters and cameramen spotted a monster buck trailing a hot doe along the timberline that morning.

However, the monster buck was in range of Alex Rutledge and his cameraman Jeff Lovett on the lower end of the cornfield. Rutledge steadied his aim and squeezed the trigger on the largest buck he had ever taken. Ironically, the cameramen of both Rutledge and Morgan were able to capture footage of the killing shot. This would be the first time in all the years of the Primetime Buck video series that two separate angles of the same hunt would be caught on film. After the shot, the buck ran a few hundred yards back toward Morgan before piling up and ending a very unique hunt. Rutledge and Morgan have hunted together for years and this would be a hunt that both friends will never forget.

Without question, the Illinois hunt had produced Rutledge’s best buck ever and this amazing whitetail green scored 173 2/8. The buck has an impressive 13-point rack and sports G2 and G3 points that measure well over 9 inches in length. Everyone can checkout this amazing hunt on the 2008 Primetime Bucks 12 DVD. By the way, Craig Morgan didn’t go home empty handed on this hunt. In fact, he was able to smoke a nice 147 class buck with his bow on the same trip. Nice job Alex and Craig on a classic hunt in Illinois.

—Travis Faulkner