Heartland Outdoors magazine is published every month.
Subscription Terms

Or call (309) 315-2981 or e-mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

deer illinois cover


June 2021
30 31 1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 1 2 3
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
April 2020
February 2020
January 2020
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
Nov. 4, 2011

Big Bucks Corner

Don Flatt’s 17-pointer

Fri, November 04, 2011

flatt main

Don Flatt had no idea the buck was around. Trail cameras had never snapped the deer’s picture. Scouting trips had never caught him sneaking through a bean field on a summer evening.

Ultimately, how the big buck arrived at the woods Flatt was hunting on Nov. 4 doesn’t matter so much.

“I had a buddy ask, ‘You never saw him before?’” Flatt said. “I saw him for five seconds. That was long enough.”

And now the 43-year-old Mulkeytown archer will have a lifetime to look at his impressive Franklin County 17-point buck. The 12-point main-frame buck also had five sticker points and is the best Flatt has taken in 28 years of bowhunting – though he also has a cool-looking 164-inch 8-pointer and a big 130-inch 6-pointer to his credit.

Flatt was hunting in an area he typically leaves alone until November. Once the morning dawned with a north wind, Flatt headed to a stand overlooking a thicket and adjacent to a deer trail.

But the first few bucks he saw approached from the opposite direction of what Flatt expected. After the second buck arrived unexpectedly, Flatt decided to stand up and be ready “just in case.”

Not long after that, an 8-pointer showed up and walked to within 12 yards of the stand. “Then there came this big crash from the north,” Flatt said.

He saw antlers. Big antlers. Coming at him.

“I think he had a hot doe in there is what I think,” Flatt said. “He came running straight in and was going to run those other little bucks off.”

Flatt drew his bow quickly. The buck turned down the trail Flatt had hoped to see deer on all morning. He grunted. The buck stopped, 20 yards away. The hunter’s shot was true.

“It was over fast and I’m kind of glad it was,” Flatt said. “It happened so fast I didn’t even know how big he was.”

The busy day made up for what had started out as a slow bow season for Flatt and many of his friends.

“I’d seen probably three bucks all year and then I had five bucks on me that morning within 25 minutes.”

So goes the whitetail rut. Bucks you’ve never seen might just show up and make your year. Certainly that was the case for Flatt, who has had trail cameras scattered around this particular spot for the past three years.

“The taxidermist told me he thought the buck was 7 1/2 years old,” Flatt said. “That’s what blows me away. I hunt this spot and have hunted it for years. So I don’t know if he was travelling through or what.”

flatt buck