Illinois Freak
Mike Gabriel is only 21 years old, and he is already off to a great bowhunting career. Earlier this season he took this great 11-pointer in Cook County, Illinois. But he was just getting started. _
_ Photos property of Mike Gabriel
With a nice buck already down, Mike decided to go out again on December 3 after he finished work in the afternoon.
After a few hours he spotted this monstrous double drop tine buck. It was about 80 yards away with a doe wandering through the soybean field that Mike was hunting.
Mike hit his grunt tube hoping to sound like another buck to bring the big boy in.
The tactic worked, and the buck left the doe he was tending and started making his way toward Mike’s stand. Mike gave a few more grunts and got his bow ready.
The buck was walking toward Mike and didn’t offer a good angle. There would be no hope for a perfect 15-yard broadside gimme shot on this encounter.
So finally, when the deer got to about 22 yards Mike let fly. But he hit the buck too far back. It spun in a few circles and then trotted back out into the field to find the doe and they walked off.
Mike knew that he hadn’t made a great shot, so he took his gear back to his truck, waited an hour and recruited his two buddies, Steve Stocklen and Dan Krupa, for help.
They tracked the buck in the dark until 11:30 that night when they eventually lost the blood trail. “I was like ‘Oh man it wasn’t a good shot,’ I was freaking out,” Mike says.
But Mike came back early the next morning and picked up where he left off. And after he was able to pick up the blood trail again, he finally found the huge buck lying dead.
It is a freakish 23-pointer with two long drop tines.
The taxidermist gave it an unofficial green score of 236, but said it could push the 240-inch mark.
It’s the biggest deer Mike has ever taken and will go down as one of the biggest bucks ever taken in Illinois with a bow. The archery nontypical record is 268 1/2 inches. All photos property of Mike Gabriel
The South Dakota Drop tine
Robert Foos shot this beautiful buck in South Dakota this season on an epic spot and stalk hunt.
Robert got himself in a long-distance stare down with the buck. It was standing on one side of a draw and on the other side of the draw, 396 yards away, Robert was laying prone.
The buck finally turned broadside, and Robert decided to take the shot. “I was thinking ‘You’re never going to know if you don’t try.'” And Robert’s aim was true, he dropped the buck with one shot.
The buck was unofficially green scored by a taxidermist at 203 inches non typical.

There is something special about deer with big drop tines. Check out the stories of these two successful drop tine hunters.