So....Jess Johnson and I had just returned from a week with Illinois Whitetails in Knox County when we decided to head to one of my hunting spots to check the trail cameras. Upon our return, there was a beautiful 2 1/2 year old 9 point laying along side the road that wasn't there when we passed by earlier.
I got out and quickly found an arrow wound so I assumed that a hunter had just taken the buck and it just happened to die alongside the road. Upon further inspection....I discovered that the deer had already been field dress
There were no tags on the deer but I just assumed that an unlucky hunter had lost their deer out of the back of their truck. I made a quick call to the Sheriff's office to report my find and the dispatcher advised me that a hunter had his deer stolen from a public hunting location about 5 miles to the north. He had pulled his deer to the side of the road and when he returned with his truck...the deer was gone.
An hour later, Jess and I are now headed to a different farm to hunt when I notice a homeowner in the area skinning a deer in his front yard. We weren't sure if it was the same deer but that was basically confirmed when we traveled another 100 yards down the road and saw that the buck was no longer there.
The dispatcher did not get the hunter's information so I started doing some investigation of my own today. I was able to get a hold of someone that works at the public hunting spot where the deer was taken and they are going to pass my contact info on to the unlucky hunter.
I will have him describe his deer to me and if it is the same deer....I will then come up with a plan to get his antlers back if at all possible. In Illinois it is illegal for anyone to take a deer that is found dead that was not taken by legal hunting means. I don't want them to get in trouble because I do know they can definitely use the meat....but I want the guy to at least get his rack back.
Maybe I will send one of the city cops out there and "ask nicely". If that doesn't work, I will forward all information to the DNR.
WEIRD WEIRD WEIRD.