We were recently chatting with one of our trophy whitetail hunters and wanted to share his story with you here. Larkin Bennett and his father, Brenton, hunted with us earlier in October this year. Coming from Emporia, KS, this father-son team was here to celebrate Larkin’s college graduation, coming up this December.
For both of them, this was their first hunt with Hadley Creek Outfitters. Let’s see what Larkin had to say about his experience.
Q: How did you end up coming to hunt Hadley Creek Outfitters?
Larkin: Well, my dad and I have always been big hunters. We hunt whitetails at home in Kansas, and I have always wanted the opportunity to take a buck in another state. I am graduating from college in December, so it seemed like the perfect time to do a special trip with my dad.
I got on the internet and was looking at different outfitters. It looked like Hadley Creek had a good success rate and had been taking some good deer. It seemed to be just what I was looking for.
Q: As your first time here, what were your first impressions when you arrived?
Larkin: When we showed up, I really didn’t know what to expect. We walked into the lodge and there was beautiful taxidermy everywhere. It was like being in a condensed Cabela’s. It was awesome and made us very excited for the week to start.
Then, we started meeting some of the other hunters and we had the most fun group of guys in camp that I could imagine. Everyone was immediately telling stories and having fun just hanging out.
My first impression of the guides was awesome too. On the very first morning of the hunt, our guide put on a rap CD and told me that when I shot my buck, that’s the music that we were going to listen to. Not what you’d expect from a guy who is probably in his 50s. These guys are great at making the whole experience a lot of fun. Even when the hunting was slow, it was those little things that made it fun.
Q: Having typically hunted on your own in Kansas, did you enjoy the guided hunt?
Larkin: The guides really worked hard and put in a sincere effort every day. Every time we went out hunting, they did a great job of putting us on deer. For most of us in camp, that’s what it was about, just being out in the woods and surrounded by deer. Of course everyone wants to shoot a giant buck but it was fun just to have action. Best of all, you really have confidence that the guides know these properties and in almost any conditions, they know how to get you on deer.
Q: Tell us about how you got your buck.
Larkin: On the second morning of the hunt, we were paired with a guide named Garrett. As we were getting close to our hunting location for the morning, we passed one of Hadley Creek’s food plots. In the dark, we could see a couple of does dart back into the timber.
Then Garrett walked me down to my stand which was on a nearby ridge. As daylight arrived, I started seeing deer. All morning, they had been coming across in front of me from left to right. And they just kept doing that all morning.
It was interesting because I was just watching some deer milling around in front of me at about 40 yards. Then all of a sudden I heard something behind me. I hadn’t been looking that direction because all the traffic had come from the other way.
So then I turned and immediately saw a buck. He came running past me at 30 yards, so I stopped him. He stopped in my very last shooting lane in that direction, a spot that I hadn’t spent much time scoping out. I had to get my bow and get drawn all while he was looking at me. He had a real big body so I could tell that he was an older deer. The shot ended up being just under 32 yards and that was at about 9:15 a.m.
Of course my dad and I and Garrett were all thrilled. We decided to wait until about 2:00 to track the deer. Garrett and I went back that afternoon to pick up the trail. The deer had run quite a ways, about 200 yards. We found him dead, lying in a nearby creek.
Q: Do you have any advice for hunters coming to hunt these Pike County, IL whitetails?
Larkin: Well, this particular situation proved to me another great reason to shoot Rage Broadheads. I ended up shooting the deer in his front shoulder. That Rage penetrated deep enough and made such a big hole and puncturing one lung, that the deer only made it 200 yards. What could have been a marginal shot with another broadhead, put this one down relatively fast.
Q: Any other final thoughts or recommendations?
Larkin: I have to mention that the food was awesome. But most importantly, the whole experience was very relaxed. It was a relaxing and fun week of hunting. There was no pressure to do anything but have a great time and hunt.
Thanks to Larkin for taking the time to share a little bit about his experience on a trophy whitetail hunt with Hadley Creek Outfitters. And thanks to all of our 2014 guests who have made this season so special! For more information on our Pike County, Illinois whitetail deer hunts, please see our Home Page. You can also contact us online to receive a free brochure, or call us anytime at 217-335-3804.