Todd Graf's 190 Monster Buck Harvest in Illinois

Illinois Monster Buck Harvest
190 Illinois monster buck harvest by Todd Graf.

After more than two decades of bowhunting and countless hours spent in pursuit of whitetail deer I finally scored on a true giant. Words can’t even begin to explain the feeling that I still have right now, less than 24 hours after harvesting the biggest trophy buck of my life. Although we haven’t put an official tape to him yet, our rough numbers put him at just over 190”. He truly is the buck of a lifetime!

This story began last year when I started getting pictures of a massive buck on my trail cameras. Throughout most of the summer I got pictures and trail camera videos of this buck as he grew into a giant that I was dedicated to chasing that fall. But as so many mature bucks do every year, when October bow season finally rolled around he was nowhere to be found. In fact, I never laid eyes on this buck even one time during the 2007 archery season here in Illinois. After the season was over the buck showed up again on my trail cameras so I was able to confirm that he was still alive and set my sights on him once again for the following fall.

This spring as the bucks started showing their racks in June and July once again the buck showed up on my trail cameras, this time a little bit more consistently. It appeared that he had moved his core area into the heart of my hunting spot and was living there for good. Now I had to come up with a plan to finally harvest him.

When the 2008 bow season opened I did my best to hold off hunting this spot until the time was right, and last week I decided that it was. With the pre-rut just starting these big trophy bucks are up on their feet during daylight more often now, so I figured I might be able to catch up with him. After several close encounters with this giant I was finally able to pinpoint his bedding area and on the evening of Ocotber 28th he presented me with a 10 yard shot as he walked along a trail from his core area headed towards a doe bedding area.

I made a perfect double lung shot and the brute only made it 150 yards before expiring. My best friends Paul Mazur (Horseshoe), his son Brian, and Justin Zarr were there with me to share in the celebration as we recovered him a short while later. I honestly can’t put into words the feelings that I have right now after so many years of dedication and hard work to finally pay off with the buck of a lifetime. Thank you to everyone who supported me and encouraged me to keep chasing this giant, I might have given up if it wasn’t for you guys!