Bowhunter Cole Swanson, a 17-year-old from western Illinois, only started hunting seven years ago, but he accomplished what many hunters could only hope to do in their lifetime when he recently took down a massive 17-point whitetail buck.
According to the Quad-Cities Online, Swanson was hunting alone in an elevated blind overlooking a clover food plot at around 3:30 p.m. on a Saturday earlier this month. “I watched a couple of does and a 4-pointer come through,” he said. “Then at 5, a big buck popped out of the brush and started browsing on clover. I got really excited and started shaking like crazy. He was just over 40 yards away.”
He had yet to open the window of the blind or even nock an arrow. Fortunately, he was able to prepare for a shot without alarming the deer. “I aimed at his vitals and released the arrow. I couldn’t see the arrow in flight or if it hit the buck. My gut feeling was that I’d hit where I aimed, but I wasn’t sure. He ran off but I didn’t see or hear him crash. So I sat down, got my cell phone and sent a text to dad, who was hunting about a quarter mile away, that I’d just arrowed a huge buck. We decided to wait an hour,” Swanson said.
“It had gotten dark, so we used lights to start looking for signs of what had happened. We found my arrow first, and it was covered with blood, which was a great sign. Then we found a huge blood trail and followed it for just 40 yards to where the buck was piled up. Then it was time for celebration!”
Swanson and his father estimate the buck was 4 ½ years old, and while it’s too early to get an official score, it does have 17 scorable points.
Unfortunately, a few days after the hunt, the teenager noticed a bullseye-shaped rash on his hand—a mark that could indicate lyme disease. He thinks a tick from the big buck was the culprit, but his blood tests aren’t yet conclusive. In the meantime, he has started treatments for the disease.