Ralph Postin of Lewistown, Ill., knows that the buck he shot more than a decade ago isn’t much to look at. He calls it the “Rodney Dangerfield” of whitetails because, while it breaks the 200-inch mark, nobody would’ve guessed it.
In other words, the Fulton County specimen doesn’t get any respect – not in a state like Illinois.
Still, it’s plenty respectable to him (and anybody else who bothers to take a good look at the unusual rack)!
The 1995 muzzleloader season was in full swing in that part of the state. Ralph, like so many others, was taking to the fields and forests, hoping to harvest a deer to help fill the freezer.
Ralph was carrying a brand new .54-caliber inline that he’d purchased for a trip to Colorado to hunt elk hunt.
Nov. 30 was very overcast, and the wind was howling through the trees. Far too windy to be in a treestand, Ralph decided that he would hunt some of the wooded land on the 1,500 acres that he and his four brothers farm. Being the only hunter among the five, he pretty much had the entire place to himself.
The brothers grew corn and soybeans in the many fields flanking the bottomland, which provided high protein for the deer and helped keep them in the area. The rest of the place was pastureland for the beef cattle they raised.
Instead of entering the property from his place, Ralph drove to his brother’s house and walked in from there. He was getting settled in his spot when he heard a noise behind him and turned to discover that his brother’s dog had followed him into the woods. It took numerous attempts to shoo the pooch away. But with all the noise he and the dog had made, Ralph figured he might as well move deeper into the woodlot.
It was too windy to sit, though, so he decided to walk through the hardwood bottom, which flanks a 20-foot-wide creek. It consists of both red and white oaks, scattered hickories and honey locust trees, as well as multiflora roses.
With the temperature at 40 degrees, it wasn’t uncomfortable to be walking, although the wind made his eyes water. Even so, it was great to be hunting.
“I had already filled my shotgun tag with a very nice 9-point buck during the early shotgun season so I was hoping for a chance at another nice buck or maybe a big fat doe,” Ralph said. “Since it was too windy to hunt from one of my stands, I started still-hunting in the middle of the afternoon.”
Ralph was hunting a long strip of hardwoods that was up to 300 yards wide in some places and 15 to 20 in others.
“This has always been very productive territory in the past, yielding numerous bucks and does. Deer regularly travel along both sides of the stream that runs through the bottom,” Ralph said.
It was a natural travel corridor for deer, not to mention its “fast food” appeal.
The wind helped cover what little noise Ralph made while slipping through there.
“I had covered about 250 to 300 yards during the first hour and had seen nothing, then, all of a sudden, up ahead I saw several does with a buck chasing them. They were circling through a multiflora rose thicket.
“When the does saw me, they split up and ran in all different directions,” he continued. “The buck never saw me.
“One doe went up alongside the creek, and the buck followed her. Soon, they both went into a gully along the edge of an old strip mine. I decided to follow,” Ralph said.
The hunter carefully made his way up to the gully to where he could see out into one of the pastures.
“There it was, standing out in the pasture about 90 to 100 yards away,” Ralph said. “I could see a pretty tall rack, but it didn’t look like it had very many points. I was hunting with open sights.
“I got up near a small tree and used it as a rest. When I was steady, I took the shot.
“When the smoke cleared, I saw the buck running away as though I’d missed,” he continued. “I should have hit it, though, so I waited a good while alongside the tree. After about a half-hour, I walked out into the pasture to see if there was any blood. I looked around quite awhile before I found a couple of spots.
“There wasn’t much of a trail, but I had seen where the deer ran and headed that way. I had covered maybe 100 yards to the top of a rise, when I looked over the top and saw it lying there dead,” he said.
“I walked down to where it was lying and was actually quite shocked at the size of the rack. I tried several times to count the points and kept getting lost at 16 or 17 points. When I took my buck to the check station, I counted again and got up to 20 points. Later, when I took it to Cooper Johnson, my taxidermist, we counted 22.
“A couple of days later, Cooper called and said there were at least 24, maybe even 26!”
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View Official BTR SCORESHEET for Ralph Postin.
Hunter: Ralph Postin
BTR Official Score: 201 3/8
BTR Composite Score: 216 1/8
Location: Fulton Co., IL
Date: November 30, 1995