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Oct. 1, 2011

Big Bucks Corner

Tim Welker’s 9-pointer

Sat, October 01, 2011

Tim Welker buck

The first time Tim Welker went bowhunting he had a shot. A good shot.

A 10-point buck stood about 13 yards in front of him.

So the 49-year-old Kickapoo resident drew back and shot. “I hit that 10-pointer in the leg and he walked off,” Welker said.

From that point on, for nearly three full archery seasons, Welker did not get another opportunity. Until Saturday.

Opening morning of the 2011-12 Illinois bow season found Welker arriving late at his family’s farm in Fulton County. “I was late getting out and I didn’t even need a flashlight,” he said. “I was feeling rushed from the get-go.”

But things worked out better than expected. First a group of five does walked within 20 yards without noticing Welker. They were on the wrong side of him, though, so he did not shoot.

Then just 20 minutes before he was going to call it a day, a buck appeared.

“When I first saw it coming, I just caught a glimpse of the rear end of it. I knew I was going to shoot it before I even saw its head,” Welker said. “But I’ve been busted in that stand so many times I just figured for sure he would smell me.”

This time, Welker went undetected. Eventually the buck walked to almost the exact same spot as that deer Welker missed four years ago.

But a lot has changed since then for Welker. For starters, he has since purchased a new Hoyt bow to replace his old Fred Bear model that “was long past its prime.” He now shoots with a release, not with fingers. And he practices regularly. “We shoot 100-150 arrows per week, probably,” he said. “The difference between four years ago and now is I am pretty confident about shooting something now.”

That confidence showed Saturday. With a big-bodied 9-point buck in front of him, Welker drew back, let loose and dropped the buck with one shot.

No, it wasn’t a perfect shot. Actually, he spine-shot the buck. Excited? Probably. But the deer dropped and he dispatched the buck quickly.

That created a new problem for Welker, who had never before killed a deer. What to do? Fortunately, his brother’s stepson, Chet Taylor, was also hunting. Taylor gave a quick seminar on field dressing a deer.

From there, it was time to celebrate for Welker, who admitted to being very excited by the experience.

“I get excited killing a squirrel, let alone something that literally is bigger than I am,” he said. “It’s hard to describe. The best way I can describe it is, in the next two or three hours following I misplaced my keys. I dropped my cell phone in my brother’s driveway. I couldn’t find my hunting license. I misplaced the camera. I guess I was just so excited I started to lose it.”