The chase for an Illinois buck called “Splits” finally paid off for one of those hunting him.
Mike Bertrand of New Lenox, Illinois is more aware of the old credo “practice makes perfect” than most. A combination of patience, good scouting, and friends that all knew a deer they affectionately called Splits finally paid dividends on New Year’s Day 2016 when the bruising 10-pointer walked by his stand.
Jim Adams, one of Bertrand’s friends said, “I’ve known the deer for the last four years and he kept getting bigger and bigger. No one had shots at him last year. Everybody saw him this year, but nobody got a shot at him until Mike.”
Splits got his nickname because of two splits on the right side of his antlers. As a 10-pointer, his 12-point total is because the G2 and G3 (the largest tines) on the right were split.
Adams said, “I have both shed antlers from last year. I gave them to him. I had promised them to anybody who gets him.”
The big Will County buck has been seen and chased by the group of hunters for at least the last four years. The friends have seen him in and around fields, and on well-placed trail cameras in his home area.
Once the veteran hunter had arrowed the big buck, they backed out of the area and patiently waited until the next day. The following morning, the five friends in the group, including two young up-and-coming outdoorswomen named Amanda and Jessica, set out to find the trophy.
Amanda and Jessica found him first, and the celebration was on.
The hunting group figured, based on the sheds found from the previous season, that Splits scored around 160 inches. After having the big buck in their hands and measuring, they figured the big rack to be roughly 176 inches.
While the beautiful antlers will certainly be dried for the prerequisite 60-days for official scoring, the group is also aware that to be a record in the great state of Illinois, it would have to be a monster bigger than Splits.
The Pope and Young world record typical whitetail just happens to be from Illinois and is scored at an incredible 204 1/2 inches. The record has been on the books for over 50 years.
The friends are just as happy to see the big buck harvested now and so are many of the locals that came around to view the brute at Adams’ place. “By 11 that morning at my house, we had a gang of people here,” Adams said. “Everyone came to the house.”
Congratulations to Mr. Bertrand on his trophy, kudos to this group of hunting friends, and their future outdoor partners Amanda and Jessica for a successful hunt!