Thanks to a rule change, Lyle Begner of Peoria Heights has the bowkill of a lifetime.
Hunting Saturday (Dec. 3) during the third day of the second firearm deer season on his father’s farm near Princeville, Begner used his bow to down a 20-point buck.
That Begner was able to hunt with a bow during gun season is thanks to a new rule change implemented by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources this year.
“I had to wear orange and tag it with a shotgun tag and be on private property,” Begner said. “It was kind of a neat thing.”
What made it extra neat for Begner is that he would not have been hunting if not for the rule change.
“I’m more of a bowhunter than a gun hunter,” he said. “I wouldn’t have been hunting if it wasn’t for the rule change.”
As it was, seeing the impressive Peoria County 20-pointer was unexpected. No trail cameras had snapped pictures of the buck and no neighbors had mentioned seeing it, Begner said.
“It just came out of the (Spoon River) bottoms, I guess,” said Begner, who hunts just a quarter-mile from the Spoon.
The memorable hunter had plenty of family ties for Begner, as well.
For one, he was wearing his father’s lucky orange vest.
“He said, ‘Then that’s my deer,’” Begner laughed.
For another, the buck earned Begner top honors in the ongoing family bowhunting pool, which his son Blake had been leading.
“I was only out with the intention of trying to beat my son in the deer contest and then up walked that,” Begner said. “How lucky can someone be.”
Finally, for Begner it was once again a reminder of his late friend Howard Rieck, who first got him into bowhunting 13 years ago.
As for the season overall, Begner said hunting was much better than in the past three years. “We’ve seen a lot more deer and I’ve heard of a lot more big deer,” he said.
Including his own.