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Illinois hunter uses Google Earth and deflected shot to nab 25-point buck

December 1, 2009 |  8:08 am

Buckstopshere Joe Graber of Edwardsville, Ill., has himself a trophy buck and a deer-hunting story for the ages.

In fact, he joked to the Belleville News-Democrat: "I told everybody I'm selling all my bow stuff and all my deer-hunting stuff, because I won't be able to top that one."

According to the story, which is being discussed on Internet chat boards, Graber used Google Earth to map and pinpoint probable routes the Madison County buck would take. (The longtime hunter had caught a glimpse of the majestic whitetail previously from his vehicle.)

After a long stakeout near a narrow portion of creek, with a foggy dusk approaching and Graber considering giving up, the deer emerged through the timber and ran across the precise location Graber had mapped.

Darkness approached and Graber experienced trouble placing the animal in his sights, but when it turned broadside, providing a target, he drew his bow and released what he was sure would be a lung shot. But the arrow deflected from a tree or branch and pierced the deer's ear. The animal flipped and careened down a bank, then fell from a 20-foot cliff into the water, where it drowned.

The atypical kill was rough-scored by independent parties: One had the 25-point rack measured at 209 5/8 inches; a second certified scorer measured 217 4/8 inches. If the measurement is 215 inches or more after the 60-day drying period, Graber can claim a Boone and Crockett Club trophy.

Meanwhile, he has been criticized for not being sure of a clean shot. His reply, in the Illinois newspaper: "It's not like I aimed for his head. I shoot my bow all summer and I can keep it in a three-inch circle at 35 yards pretty much with my eyes closed. It wasn't like I didn't know what I was doing or didn't feel comfortable with the shot. It hit something, and I got lucky." 

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: Joe Graber and his 25-point buck. Credit: Joe Graber

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