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198" From Illinois

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Photo, story are viewed thousands of times on Web site

BY ROD KLOECKNER

News-Democrat

Monster buck makes bowhunter an Internet celebrity

Little did Joel Eggers realize the monster whitetail buck he arrowed two weeks ago would cause such a commotion in the hunting community.

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The 22-year-old from Percy has become a bowhunting star in cyberspace since the story of the 251-pound buck with a 198 1/8 -inch typical rack he killed in Randolph County on Oct. 23 first appeared in online and print editions of the News-Democrat last Thursday.

According to News-Democrat Online Editor Joe Ostermeier, Eggers' story has had nearly 20,000 page views since it appeared on the paper's Web site, www.bnd.com. Ostermeier said it's the most traffic he can recall to any story on the site in the last six months, about double the showing for any other individual story in that period.

"Clearly, readers are intrigued by this story, and are finding their way to it on the World Wide Web," Ostermeier said.

The story received 7,709 page views on Thursday and 5,649 on Friday. It was still popular over the weekend which traditionally produces less traffic, registering 1,310 page views on Saturday and 1,453 on Sunday.

Numerous national and international outdoors- and hunting-related Web sites and blogs have linked to the story. Readers are fascinated by the mass of the deer and size of its rack, which may be the biggest taken in North America this year.

On King's Outdoor World Blog, Rob from Oregon left this comment: "Joel, Kudos on a fantastic whitetail. That is what makes us Oregonians drool. ... We have big muleys, elk and some very cagey blacktails running around but that is one mean-looking deer! Big typical bucks are hard to come by, fellow archer to fellow archer."

John Hutchins, a hunter from central Kentucky, e-mailed the News-Democrat requesting a copy of the photo with Eggers and the deer.

"When I first saw the photo, I had to do a double-take because I thought it was a mule deer," wrote Hutchins. "These are the types of stories I like to read about because of the area from which the deer was harvested and the young man who pursued such an impressive monster."

All the attention he has received on the Internet caught Eggers by surprise.

"A lot of people have seen the story and they liked reading about it," Eggers said Tuesday. "I Googled my name and a bunch of sites came up that had my picture. That's pretty wild."

Several people have called or stopped by his parents' home requesting to see the deer, but Eggers is keeping it wrapped in plastic in a meat freezer until he takes it to a taxidermist for a full body mount, which will cost around $1,500.

There is a downside to Eggers' newfound fame. Even though he purposely never revealed the exact spot he killed the deer in Randolph County, plenty of neighboring landowners know where he hunts.

Now, adjacent timbers are filled with hunters hoping for a similar kill.

"There's people around everywhere," Eggers said. "It was bad before, but now it's even worse. I didn't let out exactly where I shot it at, but people assume different places. A lot of the places I hunt are loaded with people. I might have to find a different spot to go.

"It stinks that a lot of people are wanting to come and hunt right next to you. That kind of ruins a lot of it."

One group of people Eggers has not heard from are anti-hunting activists or hunters who would question killing an animal so stunningly unusual and beautiful.

"I guess there's always those kinds of people out there," Eggers said. "It's not necessarily sad, but to see an old deer like that -- he's been out there for six or seven years -- kick the bucket can be a little sad.

"But, its better than if that disease (EHD) would have got him that hit this summer and killed a lot of deer in Southern Illinois, or if a poacher would have got him and just cut his rack off. I hate to see stuff like that. There's definitely worse ways he could have went."

Eggers has been back in the timber bowhunting several times since his landmark kill.

"I went last Saturday morning and didn't see any deer," he said. "I went last Sunday evening and saw seven or eight does. That's been it. It's been kind of slow. I don't mind. It's nice just to get out there again."

Contact reporter Rod Kloeckner at rkloeckner@bnd.com or 239-2663.

Saw this on another forum... giving 'ol Mel a run for his money! Always fun to see what's been droppin around the country.

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I totally believe that he shot the deer. my question is, in the article, they say he shot it on october 23. the picture was taken october 27th. sorry, but that raises a red flag for me.

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198 inches! wowsar would like to here him tell his story.

another illinois buck taken by gun. I guess I can't post that link.... 243 incher form illinios. Try to search the internet for it...

Illinois produce huge deer, period...

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On a cell phone in the tree stand! That would not be legal in MN would it?

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It is my understanding that you can't use your cell phone as a hunting tool. I have my cell phone on me at all times. It is a safety tool and when I am done hunting, I may call to see if other member of the group are back at the cabin, but as long as you are not using it for the purpose of taking game, you're alright!

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Wow thats a huge deer. Theres a pertty good chance I wouldn't tell anyone I was on my cell phone with my Dad when I shot it. Even if it was a legitimate conversation, people will bring up that the cell phone was used as an aid to take the deer. Just my 2 cents, but I probably would have left that part.

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Quote:

Wow thats a huge deer. Theres a pertty good chance I wouldn't tell anyone I was on my cell phone with my Dad when I shot it. Even if it was a legitimate conversation, people will bring up that the cell phone was used as an aid to take the deer. Just my 2 cents, but I probably would have left that part.


Some of you think wayyy too much.

Nice deer and congrats to him!!! Lucky sob grin.gif

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I feel fat just looking at it. laugh.gif

One heck of a buck and it sounds like it was worked for.

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