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Something to celebrate in what appears to be bad year for firearm deer

Terry Cramer made 150-yard shot with his muzzleloader Friday bag 13-point buck which had been caught trail camerduring rut earlier

Terry Cramer made a 150-yard shot with his muzzleloader Friday to bag a 13-point buck, which had been caught on a trail camera during the rut earlier this fall. | For Sun-Times Media

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A trail camera caught the buck during the rut earlier this fall.

On Friday, the second day of Illinois’ second firearm deer season, Terry Cramer of Burr Ridge made a beautiful shot of 150 yards with his muzzleloader on the 13-point buck. It’s one of the better stories to come out of Illinois’ split firearm deer seasons — seasons that desperately needed good stories.

Most expect the harvest for both seasons (the second one ended Sunday) to be down significantly. When preliminary harvest figures come from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, I will post them in Stray Casts (

Here is Cramer’s story:

‘‘I was walking around in 18-degree weather, trying to move some deer for my cousin and father-in-law,’’ he emailed. ‘‘I already had arrowed a 10-point buck a couple of weeks ago, so I just wanted them to get a shot at something.’’

Bowhunting for deer in Illinois runs from Oct. 1 to the middle of January.

‘‘I got to the top of a ravine and noticed some movement ahead on my left,’’ Cramer emailed. ‘‘It was obviously a nice buck. I kneeled and leaned against a tree. The buck was about 150 yards away through a wall of trees. My muzzleloader is good to about 200 yards, so I put the scope on the buck and fired.

‘‘It seemed like 10 minutes before the smoke cleared. As luck would have it, I could still make out the rack through the trees. A short while later, there was no more movement. I figured he had either slipped away or was down.’’

It was down. When Cramer came up on the downed buck, he knew it was the one captured on the trail camera.

And he noticed something else.

‘‘You can see on his right beam that three points are busted off,’’ Cramer emailed. ‘‘So he would have been a 16[-pointer]!’’

That was a buck.


Canada geese remain active all over the suburbs. That’s a good thing for waterfowlers because options for the final week of duck hunting in Illinois’ north zone, which ends Tuesday, are icing in. I would expect launches at Heidecke to be locked in for the final weekend of duck hunting.

Wild things

The stunning invasion of snowy owls continues, with sightings reported deep inland in Illinois and Indiana. The prime spots have been along the Waukegan, Chicago and Indiana lakefronts. At least two have been spotted at Montrose Harbor.

Stray cast

Putting shows featuring Sarah Palin and Ted Nugent on the same outdoors channel is like baking pumpkin pie with imitation vanilla and ungrated ginger.

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