I have heard whitetail bucks grunting only once before, and I thought it was pigs coming through the brush. Turned out to be a big Texas bruiser that blew past me so fast I couldn’t swing my rifle.

Well, these Illinois bucks grunt like a whole pen full of hungry hogs. I heard three different grunts today during my 12 straight hours on stand. I grunted back to two of them, had them coming in, then they broke and disappeared in heavy brush. But the sound of that guttural, throaty roar will stay with me a long time.

The guys who are on their return trip here to Illinois‚ Golden Triangle warned me about the grunting. “Dude,” said one of them, “you might doze off on the stand, but you have to keep your ears open. It sounds like a cabin full of old men snoring.”

He was right. So tomorrow, I’m going to start the dialog, breaking out my grunt tube and see if I can draw one of those bad boys in.

I’ll also have my rattling bag and my bleat can. Today I got a buck to come charging through an overgrown willow patch when I hit the bleat. Then he must have hit my scent trail because he stopped cold and disappeared in the jungle. A couple hours later I rattled in a ratty 9-point. His right side was perfect, and would have made around 150 inches with an equivalent left side. But the other side was busted off almost slick.

But he came in on a rope to the rattle and stared at me at 35 yards long enough to make me wish he was just a little big bigger.

But, as the waterlogged farmers around here say, this is tomorrow country. I’m hoping it brings me a great buck.