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October 1, 2012

Big Bucks Corner

Vaughn Strube’s 18-pointer

Mon, October 01, 2012

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Vaughn Strube enjoyed a crazy, chaotic and enjoyable start to October.

After spending time living with his parents, the 23-year-old Glasford resident bought his own house and was readying to move in as archery season approached.

Despite being busy, he took a break from packing and moving to hunt on opening day of the 2012-12 Illinois archery deer season.

Savvy bowhunters will tell you that you get few chances at big bucks in October ­– most coming at the end of the month as the peak of the rut approaches. But every now and then, a hunter manages to bag a big buck early, before the bruisers wise up to all those folks with bows in their timber.

Such was the case for Strube, who left the timber on opening morning with an 18-point Peoria County buck that will surely earn prominent placement on a wall in his new house.

Unlike the storyline for so many early season trophies, though, Strube was not familiar with the buck. He did not have years worth of trail camera pictures and had not spent long summer nights studying the deer from a distance with binoculars.

“I have never seen that deer before,” he said. “My dad sets out trail cams, but we have never had much luck with it. But we know there are big bucks at this spot. My mom killed a nice one in 2009.”

That was the year Joyce Strube bagged a wide 12-pointer during shotgun season.

Her son did her one better with his 18-point non-typical, which may well break the elusive 200-inch barrier.

Strube was in his stand early on opening morning (despite missing his alarm and relying on his mother to wake him) and stayed out well after the prime time of first light. He was hunting a treestand located about 30-40 yards in the timber from the edge of a corn field.

At about 9 a.m., he saw a “nice buck” headed his way.

“I just happened to look over and see that first one coming,” Strube said. “It would stop briefly, then go, stop briefly and go.”

Behind the “nice” deer was an even nicer buck, though Strube did not get much of a chance to count points or to evaluate the rack in any great detail.

“It happened so fast. I didn’t even see the deer for probably 10 seconds before I shot him,” Strube said. “It was about 40 yards away and I wasn’t passing him up.”

Strube said the bucks were walking on a path that would have taken them directly away from his stand.

So he didn’t waste time with his new Hoyt bow. “I’m pretty confident with that bow,” he said.

And while his shot was “back a little bit” but the buck left a very visible trail of blood for Strube to track.

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“Then I lost the blood because the arrow fell out,” he said.

But his father, Troy Strube, found the blood trail again. Not long after that, the Strubes found the big 18-pointer along the edge of a towering bluff.

“It only ran about 80 yards total but it was ready to head down that huge ravine,” Strube said, in appreciation. “I would never have got that thing out of there.”

The celebration was instant.

“I couldn’t believe how big it was. I didn’t have a clue,” Strube said. “I didn’t think I would ever shoot anything like that.”

His previous largest buck was a 130-incher gun kill and this was the first “real deer” in a bowhunting career that stretches back to 2004.

Taxidermist Bob Hammerich of Glasford is mounting the buck and rough-scored it at 203 inches, though there are questions about a G3 tine.

No matter the final score, the buck is impressive. Among those admiring the deer were Vaughn Strube’s 1 1/2-year-old son, Beau.

“He loves it. My mom and dad have a few mounts in their house and the moment he walks in their house he always says, ‘Big deer. Big deer.’ And he likes to pet them,” Strube said with a laugh.

Before long young Beau will be able to pet a “big deer” in his own house.

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