Ill. hunter gets 25-point buck with Google's help - KMOV.com

Ill. hunter gets 25-point buck with Google's help

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) -- It took Google Earth, a little deer psychology and a freak shot for a bow hunter in southern Illinois to bring down one of the largest deer in the state so far this year -- a 25-point buck.

"Deer of a lifetime -- easily," said Joe Graber, who's previous personal record kill was a 12-pointer.

Over the past four years, the 35-year-old construction worker from Edwardsville had caught glimpses of the monster whitetail as it darted across rural roads in Madison County. Other hunters also saw the elusive giant but had no success in tracking and killing it.

Graber added the Internet to his arsenal, using the Google Earth mapping service to pinpoint paths the buck would likely follow to pursue female deer. It was raining Oct. 26, when the buck wandered down one of the paths by a creek at dusk. Graber was lying in wait.

"He stuck his head up and knew something wasn't right," the hunter said.

From about 40 yards out, Graber let fly an arrow aimed at the buck's lungs. But a tree deflected it, and the arrow ripped through the deer's ear. The startled animal flipped into the air, slid down an embankment, fell over a 20-foot cliff into the water -- and drowned.

Graber said other hunters later gave him some grief for how he scored the kill, suggesting he may not have taken a clear enough shot. He said he took what he thought was a sure shot at the buck's chest, but he couldn't have anticipated the deflection.

"It wasn't like I didn't know what I was doing or didn't feel comfortable with the shot," he said. "It hit something, and I got lucky."

One official measured the total length of the deer's rack, including its two main branches and all its points, at about 209 inches -- or more than 17 feet. Another put it at about 217 inches. If the rack is 215 inches after a minimum 60-day drying period, Graber could win a trophy from the Missoula, Mont.-based Boone and Crockett Club, which compiles hunting records and scores.

The lifelong hunter jokes about foregoing future hunts now that he's bagged a deer of a lifetime.

"I told everybody I'm selling all my bow stuff and all my deer-hunting stuff," Graber said, "because I won't be able to top that one."

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

 

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