Rack Report: Wesley McConnell's Opening Week Illinois Bruiser

White-Tailed Deer

United States

Rack Report: Wesley McConnell's Opening Week Illinois Bruiser

Posted 2012-10-30T19:48:00Z  by  Julie Wilkins

Rack Report Details
Buck:173 1/8 inches
Time of Year:October 2012
Place:Pike County, IL
Weapon: Bear Archery bow  Bowhunting 

A cold front blew in the night before the opening Friday of bowhunting season in Pike County, Illinois. This only meant one thing to Whitetail Properties' Wesley McConnell: Claw.

McConnell has kept up with a large buck nicknamed Claw for a couple of seasons. The name comes from the crab claw-like antlers the buck had when it was 3 years old.

He also had a split brow as a 3 year old that showed up again this year, McConnell said. We found both his sheds; he blew up into a monster as a 4 1/2 year old.

A Reconyx camera setup on a post near one of the blinds on the property McConnell hunts caught several photos of Claw this season near an imperial clover field. Some of the photos were even in daylight, so McConnell had confidence that opening week would be prosperous for him.

A cold front blew in the night before he planned to hunt. The temperatures dropped fast and there was a northerly wind. McConnell headed to his stand early Friday afternoon, expecting the deer to be out early because of the weather change.

Claw was the second deer to show his face that afternoon, and was spotted near a food plot where another hunter was located. The buck continued to feed there for more than an hour. Claw finally headed toward McConnell at a brisk pace and stopped to feed again about 30 yards from him - the wait had been worth it. McConnell took the shot.

The shot was a little back, but I was very confident that the Rocket broadhead did the work, McConnell said.

Claw made it about 100 yards and stopped dead at the bottom of a ravine. The buck scored 173 1/8 inches and had 10 points.

Opening week - biggest buck of my life, McConnell said. What a way to start the season!

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