It wasn’t a coincidence that we saw “The Picket Fence Buck” that evening. Our trail camera photos showed the buck was using our Winter- Greens food plot for several weeks. This typical giant pushing 200 inches Boone & Crockett had been visiting almost nightly with two smaller bucks.

We set up that evening on a trail we knew the buck used to travel from his bedding area to the food plot. Like most mature bucks, his pattern was to stage in the woods until darkness then work his way into the Winter-Greens after dark. Food plots, and the bucks we hope to attract by using them, are serious business to us. Through hard work, determination and sticking to a game plan, we make our property more attractive to deer and also draw them from neighboring properties. With does filtering onto the property and plenty of food to go around, mature bucks usually aren’t far behind. For the past five years, we have planted Imperial Whitetail Clover, Winter-Greens and Chicory Plus. Our clover grows all year and is especially popular with the deer in the early season. The Winter-Greens don’t get much attention early, but they turn sweet after the first frost and deer hit them hard late in the season. This is my zone — late season, big Illinois bucks and Winter-Greens! For the past five years, I have killed my biggest bucks, and this past season was the icing on the cake. The Picket Fence Buck — he got his name from that wide palmated main beam with eight points on eachside — the 8-inch-10-inch points stacked up on each side of his rack and lined up like a picket fence. A deer of a lifetime! A full season of hard work was about to come together. The big buck’s routine appetite was about to get him in trouble! With the light fading, my camera man gave me the signal — he was on the buck and rolling. With a deep breath I squeezed the trigger on my muzzleloader and knew the bullet hit home. When we walked up to him, The Picket Fence Buck was every bit as stunning as we thought, with palmation on his main beams and a rough score of 200 inches. What a deer! Through meticulous planning, hard work and a little bit of good luck, I landed the buck of my life. And there is not a better feeling than putting a new, hard-earned trophy on the wall. Thanks Whitetail Institute for the food plot products that helped him grow his impressive antlers and bring him down the trail I was sitting on.