Hard work on a proven food plot pays off for Illinois bowhunter Dylian Damm
Rack Report Details
Time of Year:
November 19, 2019
Mason County, Illinois
On November 2, Illinois bowhunter Dylian Damm captured a blurry trail camera image of what appeared to be a world-class buck moving around during the day.
“That photo was taken (in the morning) about 20 minutes after legal shooting light opened,” Damm says. “So, I moved in on Nov. 6 and got a little bit closer to where I believed he was bedding. That same evening, I encountered the buck. He was chasing two does around a bottom as I watched from the ridge above. I figured that he’d soon go into lockdown because the rut was kicking in pretty hard.”
Damm backed off so as not to impose pressure on the monster buck he nicknamed “Twin Towers" due to its monstrous brow tines.
“My family and I left for Florida on Nov. 8 and returned Nov. 16,” Damm says. “The following morning, I hunted the stand where I’d previously encountered the buck and saw lots of deer activity, but no sign of Twin Towers. My mind was set to exclusively hunt him. I laid off the other bucks we had on camera and strictly hunted for him.”
Damm and his brother checked their 16 trail cameras scattered throughout the 160 acres they hunt.
“Twin Towers wasn’t on a single one of those trail cameras,” Damm says. “At that point, I moved on and began focusing on a 150-class buck we nicknamed ‘Rover.’ I was just a step behind him. I looked back on trail-camera pictures and compared them to when and where I’d been hunting.”
One food plot in particular, where bucks seemed to cruise from the end of October through the third week in November, seemed like the go-to for Damm, based on data from previous years.
“I went to that food plot in search of Rover or possibly a large 8-pointer that had been frequenting the area,” Damm says. “The wind was perfect for the stand, and I got off work a little early that afternoon. I slipped in there and had to nudge a couple of does off the plot. They mosey around that area all day. It’s fairly normal to have to push does off in order to get into the stand.
“Only 15 minutes later, at about 3:45 p.m., a little button buck emerged and was feeding in the plot 35 yards from me. He started looking in one direction as though he was watching another deer. He did that every few minutes between feeding. Finally, I heard sticks breaking in the background. I really locked in on that spot, although I assumed it was probably just the does I’d bumped 30 minutes prior.”
But Damm spotted a large rack. The deer ducked underneath some brush, and that’s when he noticed its long brow tines and instantly identified the deer as Twin Towers.
“He stepped into the plot 50 yards away,” Damm says. “I knew I was going to attempt a shot. He took one bite of the cereal grains we’d planted, and he was upwind of the button buck. Believe it or not, he decided to scent-check that button buck. He stepped into my clearing, and I put a perfect shot on him from 44 yards. My arrow clipped the back of his shoulder, and the exit wound was perfect, too. He only ran 55 yards and tumbled over.”
Damm sat down to calm himself after the adrenaline-filled encounter.
“I was pretty shaken up after the shot,” he says. “I called my brother at 3:57 p.m. to tell him that I’d shot Twin Towers. I also called my grandfather, because he owns the farm we hunt. Lastly, I called good friend Garrett Swanson, who helps us out. He’s a farmer, and we share equipment a lot. He actually helped me create the food plot back in 2016.”
Damm mentioned that it felt surreal to kill a buck grossing over 170 inches on a food plot he and his friends made themselves.
“When I got down from my treestand, I didn’t really know how large the buck was,” he says. “Garrett arrived and we went to recover the buck. I was floored to see how big my buck was. My previous largest bow kill was a 125-incher, so my emotions were incredibly high. I put in a lot of work during the offseason each year. I go above and beyond, so to have my hard work finally pay off in such a huge way makes everything well worth it.”