Illinois Hunter Kills Deer, May Be the Largest Ever Shot in United States

December 14, 2018 Updated: December 14, 2018

An Illinois hunter may have set a new record for the largest deer killed in the country.

Keith Szableswki killed a deer in mid-November in Williamson County.

Conservation officers told him that the buck is 7 to 9 years old, weighs around 265 pounds, and could have as many as 51 scoreable points.

He said he shot the deer with a shotgun during the first week of the Illinois shotgun season.

“I was just sitting there and I heard the deer behind me,” he told WSIL-TV. “When I walked up to him, I looked at it and thought, ‘What a blessing.'”

The size of the deer surprised him.

“I have a John Deere and getting that deer in the gator was a fight,” said Szableswki, who started hunting waterfowl when he was in high school but has only been hunting deer for four years.

He called a good friend before calling the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

“They told me I needed to get the deer checked out and scored,” he said. “They said they have never seen anything like it in this area before.”

He took the deer to a processing center and plans to pedestal mount it.

“I took the deer to a processing center, and I’ll get a little meat from it, and then I donated the rest to people that need it,” Szableswki said. “I felt like I needed to. I felt like the Lord was telling me to do that.”

The deer will be scored in July 2019 during the Illinois Deer and Turkey Expo.

In 2016, a Tennessee man shot a huge whitetail buck. The rack was measured as 47 points, giving the score of 312 and three-eighths, reported USA Today. That was slated to be a world record for the non-typical category, although official certification wouldn’t take place until 2019.

A non-typical rack is asymmetrical and does not have the same number of points on each side like a typical rack, the outlet noted. The rack on the huge whitetail was estimated to be worth $100,000.

“I just tried not to think about whether it was the world record or not during the drying out period,” 27-year-old Stephen Tucker, who shot the deer, said. “The last week was probably the worst part of the whole time. I didn’t want to get myself real worked up about it because I didn’t want to be let down if it wasn’t the record. I just kept telling myself, ‘It’s going to be what it’s going to be.'”

Crediting God

The Johnson City resident said he thinks God played a role in landing the massive buck.

“I pray before I go hunting,” he said, reported FarmWeek. “And on that day, I did pray to God to bring me a buck, and He sure answers prayers.”

He said word has circulated widely and when he’s out and about, he gets recognized.

He said when he saw the deer, it was about 4:10 p.m. He had reached his deer stand at 2:45 p.m.

After he saw the deer, he waited for the perfect shot.

“The only window I had was a 12-by-12-square-foot opening that I could see clearly on his neck,” he said. “I could have shot through the leaves to hit his body, but I’m not going to do that.”

Previously, the biggest buck he had shot was an 11-pointer.

From NTD News

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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