For the past three years, Pete Harmon Sr., of Luling, has hunted the 30,000 acres of free-range property at Hadley Creek Outfitters in Pike County, Ill.
But this year, Harmon used his experience to bag his biggest deer ever – a 140-class white tail.
Harmon picked his spot on a long, sloping hilltop next to a farm that had a cornfield, plenty of red oaks and even sawtooth oak trees. He climbed into his lock-on at 5 a.m. with temperatures in the mid 20s.
Several doe and smaller bucks began moving along the long shooting lane. Harmon likes to put his lock-on about 20 feet off the ground and many of the deer passing below him never knew he was there.
At noon, the outfitter called Harmon to see if he wanted to move to a new location.
“I’m seeing plenty of deer and I would like to stay in this lock-on for the rest of the day,” Harmon replied.
Harmon had packed food and drinks for an all-day hunt and didn’t want to relocate. At 3 p.m., deer started moving again.
“I had several nice shooter bucks in the 120 class come by and plenty doe. The deer were 5 to 10 yards away from me,” Harmon said. “I figured something was going to come out with the rut starting.”
Looking down the shooting lane, Harmon spotted a big deer 20 yards from his stand. He took out his bow and took a shot. It was all he needed to do to drop the buck.
“The deer ran about 30 yards before he stopped,” Harmon said.
Harmon likes shooting a PSE bow with the Rage 2-inch broad heads.
“A big key to hunting with a bow is I shoot 12 months out of a year. I also practice shots from different hunting positions as far as 60 yards,” Harmon said. “This 140-inch class buck I harvested will go in my office with the other deer taken with my bow.”
Harmon has used a bow to hunt deer for the last 40 years. In fact, the last deer he killed with a gun was 23 years ago.
“My gun stays home,” Harmon said.
Harmon’s deer was the only deer killed that day out of 10 hunters at the lodge.
“I guess I got lucky but some of my deer hunting skills paid off,” he said. “Now it’s deer sausage from Schexnayder’s Acadian Foods. I’m having jalapeno and smoke sausage made.