The Full Story Behind the Xen Mcallister Buck, a Giant 22-Point Nontypical
This Illinois buck got plenty of attention in forums and on social media. Here's the story on how it was tagged
Most monster nontypical bucks carry messy antlers that look more erratic than uniform. One look is usually all it takes to tell the buck isn’t symmetrical. For Xen Mcallister’s 22-point archery whitetail, it’s a different story. At first glance, it’s a little hard to tell one brow tine forks twice while the other only forks once. The drop tine off the left beam camouflages with most backgrounds in the daylight. And counting the scoreable points on each side takes a little longer than usual.
But here’s what you do notice, Mcallister’s 10-by-12 buck, which was shot on Nov. 16, is a truly giant whitetail.
Mcallister will get the Boone & Crockett and Pope & Young scores completed in early December. The rack’s Buckmasters score was an incredible 243 2/8. While that doesn’t quite edge out the Illinois state record-and world record-Brewster buck, which sits pretty at 327 7/8, that’s still one impressive number.
The 29-year-old lineman hunts a small plot of timber between a corn field and a bean field in Fayette County, Illinois. Work is busy and Mcallister doesn’t get out as much as some other whitetail fanatics, but he monitors trail cameras and puts in as many hours of hunting as he can. This one patch of timber has produced a few nice bucks in the past for Mcallister, but none like the one that showed up on camera last year.
“He was a big deer then. He was probably a 190-inch, maybe 200, maybe 210, but I never did see him in person,” Mcallister says. “The first pictures I got of him this year were in April, and you could tell he was just a weird-looking buck in velvet. He was just starting to grow, and his antlers were huge.”
Mcallister saw him again on camera in mid-August and decided to chase him that season, since he seemed to be hanging around the area.
“I was trying to get it done before shotgun season,” Mcallister says. “So I hunted that morning until about 10:30, then got back in right at 2:00. From the time I saw him out in the field—he was about 150 yards out—to the time I watched him die was probably about 45 seconds. It happened so quick.”
Mcallister used a variety of tools to call this buck into close range.
“I grunted at him twice, and he started working his way to me, then stopped. I snort-wheezed at him pretty loud, he was still 100 yards away, and he started coming in a little more and put his head down. I hit the antlers together and that’s when he started charging in,” Mcallister says. “He came into about 15 yards, quartering away. I made the shot, I knew I hit him good, he was pumping blood immediately. I watched him run through the timber like a bull in a china shop, destroying everything through there. He hit the field, slowed down, started dragging, and tipped over. He ran maybe 80 yards from where I shot him.”
The buck fever held off until after Mcallister let the arrow fly, but it kicked in shortly thereafter.
“My next thought was ‘get out of your treestand without falling,'” he laughs.
This buck was, understandably, a local legend. People would line up on the road to glass whatever bean field it was feeding in. One hunter even took a shot at it two weeks prior and missed. That hunter visited Mcallister and congratulated him, bringing him the arrow that missed, shattered into five pieces.
After the rumor mill started churning, Mcallister called the game warden out to show him exactly what happened. As is the case with a lot of local legend bucks, some people in the area couldn’t believe Mcallister shot the deer legally.
“There were guys an hour away from where this deer was killed, telling me ‘people are saying you poached this deer or shot him off the road,'” Mcallister says. “They had pictures of this deer at 10:00 a.m. two miles away from where I shot him. And even the game warden was like ‘that’s pretty unbelievable.’ But a human can run a mile in four to seven minutes, so it’s nothing for a deer to travel 10 miles in a day if he wanted to.”
Mcallister plans on getting the buck shoulder-mounted in a way that allows him to move it around to shows. Ultimately he chalks his experience up to luck, good timing, and making the most of the time he had to hunt.
“If I would have stopped at the gas station or been 10 minutes late, I probably would have never seen him,” he says. “I don’t have the opportunity to hunt every day, but every chance I get I try. I’ve always heard you can’t kill them on the couch.”