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- Prostaff Member Steve Johnson
Hunt: Archery Whitetail Deer
Dates: October 24th - October 30th 2009
After not drawing a tag for the late Muzzleloader Season in Iowa, plan “b” was an archery hunt in Illinois with Performance Outdoors. I had talked to a couple of guys who had hunted with them in years past and were satisfied with their hunts and decided to book with them.
Purchasing our tags and getting setup with “pre-hunt” details went smoothly with the help of owner Jake Roach. I spoke to him many times leading up to the hunt and easily got answers to my questions.
We arrived into the Fulton County Camp the day before the hunt and were greeted by head guide Ron. He welcomed us into camp and showed us to our home away from home for the week. Each of us had a bunk bed, the top used for storage of clothes and gear and the bottom for sleeping. The downstairs had plenty of seating around the flat screen TV which was equipped with satellite. I haven't been to many deer hunting camps, but I have to say this is a pretty nice setup. The place had everything we needed for our week long hunt.
Food was good, breakfast and lunch was do-it-yourself, which wasn't a big deal. Breakfast was quick and easy cereal, pop-tarts, etc. Lunch was sandwiches with plenty of deli meat choices or left-overs from dinner the night before (which as good as the cooking was, there wasn't much). Dinner was cooked every evening and ready shortly after we arrived back at camp and was VERY good!
Now for the good stuff, the hunting! Performance Outdoors has quite a few (17 I believe) farms they hunt from their Fulton Lodge, and my partner and I were assigned 3 farms for the week, along with 2 guides. They had aerial maps of all the farms with every tree-stand marked pinned up on the walls so strategies could be worked out. This also allows them to choose stand locations based on wind direction. They are sticklers when it comes to the wind, and I believe that accounts for a lot of their success.
The first evening we rode around to a couple of “our” farms and watched the fields before dark and just got a feel for the lay of the land we would be hunting. First morning of our hunt we were perched in comfortable hang-on style tree-stands well before daylight. Over the course of our week long hunt I saw 3 shooter bucks including one that I believe would go well into the 160's and could possibly make B&C. On the second to last day of my hunt I passed a young 2 Â½ year old mainframe 12 pointer at 15 yards. I am sure this buck would have made the minimum 130” required by Performance Outdoors to harvest, but he wasn't what I went to Illinois to hunt.
We hunted hard for 6 days and ended coming home with our tags in our pockets. Although I truly believe the standing corn had a lot to do with that as none of the corn had been picked due to heavy rains throughout October. I believe there were 12 guys in camp that week and 4 bucks were killed with 2 grossing in the mid 140's. There were tons of big buck sightings and even some blown opportunities throughout the week.
As I said before, I have never been to the mid-west on a whitetail hunt, so I don't have much to compare this to; however I do feel that Performance Outdoors does their homework and really put some effort into making us successful with them. I really enjoyed hunting with them, the guides were great, and even though we didn't get an opportunity at a true Illinois Giant, I think Performance Outdoors made every effort to try to make that happen.
If you’re looking for a great Mid-West Whitetail Hunt, give Jake at Performance Outdoors a call and tell him you read the review at HuntOnly.com.