Moultrie Products
Razza Returns to Illinois
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
rock50 04-Nov-20
rock50 04-Nov-20
rock50 04-Nov-20
rock50 04-Nov-20
rock50 04-Nov-20
drycreek 04-Nov-20
rock50 04-Nov-20
Franzen 04-Nov-20
rock50 04-Nov-20
rock50 04-Nov-20
rock50 04-Nov-20
rock50 04-Nov-20
rock50 04-Nov-20
rock50 04-Nov-20
njbuck 04-Nov-20
Jack Harris 04-Nov-20
rock50 04-Nov-20
rock50 04-Nov-20
Supernaut 04-Nov-20
rock50 04-Nov-20
sticksender 04-Nov-20
rock50 04-Nov-20
rock50 04-Nov-20
t-roy 04-Nov-20
rock50 04-Nov-20
BOWUNTR 04-Nov-20
Empty Freezer 04-Nov-20
drycreek 04-Nov-20
rock50 04-Nov-20
Charlie Rehor 04-Nov-20
Ned mobile 04-Nov-20
ki-ke 04-Nov-20
IKE220 04-Nov-20
rock50 04-Nov-20
rock50 04-Nov-20
rock50 04-Nov-20
rock50 04-Nov-20
rock50 04-Nov-20
rock50 04-Nov-20
LWood 04-Nov-20
Dennis Razza 05-Nov-20
Dennis Razza 05-Nov-20
Dennis Razza 05-Nov-20
rock50 05-Nov-20
tobywon 05-Nov-20
SBH 05-Nov-20
GhostBird 05-Nov-20
IdyllwildArcher 06-Nov-20
Oryx35 07-Nov-20
Empty Freezer 07-Nov-20
powder 08-Nov-20
Charlie Rehor 08-Nov-20
From: rock50
04-Nov-20

rock50's embedded Photo
rock50's embedded Photo
In 2014 I made the Babine trapline trip with Kent and Gary, two friends from Missouri and Iowa. I was following the trapline thread that Lloyd Hooper at Babine would set up each winter. I showed it to Kent while we were on a snow goose hunt in southern Missouri, and after looking at all the pics he turned to me and said “We have to go there!”

When I returned home, I started talking to Lloyd, and we were able to book the trip the next year. I think it was the best trip of my life, and I have been privileged to take many.

I returned from that trip with hides from wolves, lynx, coyote, fox, marten, and weasel. I knew I wanted to mount most of those animals, but was not sure where to take them. I had seen several threads that Dennis at Razza Taxidermy had done on Bowsite, but was not sure how all the logistics would work, from getting hides to him in Pennsylvania, choosing poses/forms that would fit what we wanted, getting information to him about space restrictions in the room, and getting completed work back to Illinois.

In August of 2014 I sent an email through his website link to explain to Dennis what I was thinking and asked him to call me to discuss the project. That was the first of many, many phone calls and emails with Dennis. He would patiently listen to what I thought I wanted, looked at pictures of wolf mounts I found on the internet, and discussed where and how they would be displayed in our home.

In September 2014 I packaged up the wolves and lynx, and shipped them to Dennis via UPS. I had never met him or set foot in his shop, but he had convinced me with his professional knowledge and demeanor through phone calls and emails that he would do the very best taxidermy job that I was hoping for. The step by step mount threads that he put on Bowsite were very convincing also.

You can see by the results that I made the right choice.

From: rock50
04-Nov-20

rock50's embedded Photo
rock50's embedded Photo
As we were discussing the taxidermy work, Dennis mentioned he had booked a whitetail hunt in southern Illinois later that year. I don’t remember the county where he was headed, or the outfitter’s name.

He called me in November and said he had left the place where he was booked to hunt in Illinois. His voice didn’t sound like he was excited or pleased. He said essentially the outfitter had lied to them about where he would hunt, and what the property would be like. It was so bad, he did not even hunt at all, requested a refund from the outfitter (he got a partial refund, lost the deposit amount), and climbed back in his truck and left. I told him he was welcome to drive to our place and hunt on our property. We were not outfitters or professionals in any way, but would be happy to share our woods with him.

Unfortunately, he was already in Ohio, and was not planning on turning back.

I also told him we had a few good deer on the farm and sent him this trail cam pic that hit his phone about the time he pulled in his driveway. At that point, he may have wished he had turned around in Ohio and headed back to Illinois!

I knew he was really bummed about the treatment he received and the money lost and wished I could have helped him out.

From: rock50
04-Nov-20
In April 2015 Dennis said he had the mounts completed, so I pulled our enclosed trailer to PA to meet Dennis face to face, tour his studio, and bring the wolves and lynx back home.

As we were loading the mounts in the trailer, I told Dennis not everyone in Illinois was a crook, and my sons, sons in law, grandsons, and I would be happy to have him hunt with us anytime. That started several years of trying to convince him to return to Illinois. I even reached out to Charlie Rehor to help convince him, maybe that helped. But with hunts Dennis had booked already in other states, nothing worked out for several years.

So we get to 2020, and it seems like everything is all messed up. But I guess there might be a few benefits to this Covid-19 pandemic after all. Dennis’ wife has been forced to work from home, so it worked out that she could put his sons Reed and Ramsey on the bus in the morning, allowing Dennis to make the trip to Illinois. After a bit of discussion it was settled that Dennis would leave PA early Friday morning, October 30, and arrive in IL that afternoon.

From: rock50
04-Nov-20

rock50's embedded Photo
rock50's embedded Photo
Dennis arrived about 2:00 and I met him at the shed at our farm. We have a ‘cabin’ built above the butcher shop in the shed where he would stay, it’s complete with shower, vanity, stool, sink, bunk bed, etc. After getting a few items in the refrigerator, we took off for a tour of the property in the side by side, hoping to find an area that looked good to him.

This area had potential, but the wind in the morning would not be favorable.

From: rock50
04-Nov-20

rock50's embedded Photo
The spot Dennis chose to hunt.
rock50's embedded Photo
The spot Dennis chose to hunt.
I had previously told him to bring a hang on stand, in case he thought we missed a good spot with our current stand locations. After a couple hours driving around the farm, we returned to the shed. My oldest son and his wife live close to the shed and they were outside, feeding a couple of steers they are finishing. Jedd invited us into his house so Dennis could see two bucks he had mounted from our property. Jedd asked if we had picked a spot, we said not yet, and he asked if we checked the spot across the river that flows through the farm. In the place he was talking about we have just a small sliver of timber on the south side of the river, and many times the water is too high to cross, and the access to it from the other side is about a 15 mile drive.

I had completely neglected to look at that stand. The river is very low this year, and it is an easy crossing at a river ford the township had abandoned about 20 years ago.

We drove the side by side across the river, climbed up the bank, and immediately saw two scrapes directly under the tree where my grandsons have two stands hung, one for the shooter, and one for the cameraman.

Dennis climbed the ladder, checked out the stands, and decided to put his hang on stand in a tree about 10 yards away. My grandsons later told me they forgot to check this location the last week of September, and as a result, the straps needed to be replaced. As I said earlier, in some years we don’t hunt this stand because of the water level.

Dennis thought this was one of the best funnel areas on the farm.

From: drycreek
04-Nov-20
I’m gonna enjoy this one ! Never seen any of Dennis’ work first hand, but everything I’ve seen on this site looks ALIVE ! What more can you ask of a taxi ?

From: rock50
04-Nov-20
By then it was getting late, so we headed back to our home for dinner. After a meal of elk lasagna (recipe from the latest issue of RMEF Bugle magazine) I took Dennis back to the shed which is about 4 miles from where I live. He would go out in the morning by himself, as the stand he chose to hunt is only about 400 yards from the shed.

I would stay home and get a few outside things done around the house and barn, I still was not ready for cold weather, putting up hoses and stuff like that.

From: Franzen
04-Nov-20
Good stuff. Dennis is an unbelievable artisan. If I were to get a once in a lifetime animal, I'd love to have him mount it. Hope he got a big one.

From: rock50
04-Nov-20
Saturday morning was forecast to be clear and cold, and that’s what we got, a beautiful morning to be deer hunting in the Midwest.

I started getting texts about 7:45……………

“Just hit a good one!”

“He’s laying in field panting hard”

“Got up 2 times and stumbled around…..laid back down”

At this point he could not see the buck in the tall grass, so we agreed to meet at the shed about 9:00 and hopefully go retrieve the deer.

From: rock50
04-Nov-20

rock50's embedded Photo
rock50's embedded Photo
Dennis could see through the field beyond the deer and knew it had not left the last spot he had seen it lay down.

He climbed out of the stand and walked to the buck, it was laying where he last saw it. It travelled about 100 yards from the tree he was in.

He called me and said bring the Ranger, buck was down.

I drove to the shed, got the Ranger and headed to the ford. Dennis was already walking back to meet me.

From: rock50
04-Nov-20

rock50's embedded Photo
rock50's embedded Photo
One happy deer hunter!

From: rock50
04-Nov-20

rock50's embedded Photo
rock50's embedded Photo
This buck didn’t have any ground shrinkage

From: rock50
04-Nov-20

rock50's embedded Photo
rock50's embedded Photo
I would add multiple pics, but I have to rotate them all.

From: rock50
04-Nov-20

rock50's embedded Photo
rock50's embedded Photo
Not sure how that tongue slipped out, we had it tucked in on previous pics, somehow I missed it.

From: njbuck
04-Nov-20
Awesome buck, congrats again Dennis!

From: Jack Harris
04-Nov-20
beautiful buck! Congrats Dennis! I would say that makes P&Y with a lot of spare change!

From: rock50
04-Nov-20

rock50's embedded Photo
rock50's embedded Photo
I was so happy for Dennis after his bad experience in Illinois in 2014.

He is the best you will meet in the outdoor business!

I was happy for me, too. It was an easy retrieve!

From: rock50
04-Nov-20

rock50's embedded Photo
rock50's embedded Photo
Back at the shed, reflecting on the satisfaction of a great morning.

From: Supernaut
04-Nov-20
Outstanding all the way around! Dennis not only is an amazing taxidermist but he's also one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. Congrats!

From: rock50
04-Nov-20

rock50's embedded Photo
rock50's embedded Photo
The buck is too big to hang in the butcher shop without dragging his nose on the floor, so we lifted him with the loader to gut him.

From: sticksender
04-Nov-20
Great buck, congrats to all involved!

From: rock50
04-Nov-20

rock50's embedded Photo
rock50's embedded Photo
He is a big guy!

Weight on the hoof.

From: rock50
04-Nov-20

rock50's embedded Photo
rock50's embedded Photo
My grandsons know Dennis is an official P&Y scorer, so two of them immediately got busy scoring the buck, wanting to know how close they would be to someone who knows for sure how it is done.

Trevor announced without adding fractions (he always hated fractions in school) it scored 150”, so it would be some amount over that.

From: t-roy
04-Nov-20
Awesome! Great buck, Dennis! Also, good on you, Rock50. Very generous of you to let Dennis come hunt with you!

From: rock50
04-Nov-20
t-roy, it was not a difficult decision. Dennis was treated very poorly in southern Illinois, and deserved better.

My family believes we are just stewards of this land for a short while in the entire scheme of things, and we would feel better about sharing some of it rather than keeping it all to ourselves.

Having said that, we have not opened it up to the public :)

From: BOWUNTR
04-Nov-20
Outstanding all the way around... congratulations. Ed F

04-Nov-20
The guys you meet on Bowsite are the kind of people you want to share your property with. I wonder why that is??? Anyway, rock50, I'm leaving California today so I should be at your house in a few days. How awesome is that :) :) Big Props to you and your family..

From: drycreek
04-Nov-20
Good story, good buck, and a good guy for sharing your land ! Congrats to all !

From: rock50
04-Nov-20
Empty, might want to drive slow or take the long route. :)

Highs are forecast in the mid 70's for the next week, so we don't expect much daytime movement. Last weekend was perfect, low 30's and clear.

04-Nov-20
Glad you finally connected.

04-Nov-20
Congrats!!!

From: ki-ke
04-Nov-20
Good usually returns good! The best of this place! Great deal all around. Congrats on the great buck!

From: IKE220
04-Nov-20
Congrats to Dennis. Mark you and your family are always very generous! I can say from experience that Rock50 is the host with the most!! Did Dennis stick around for any of your famous elk chilli?

From: rock50
04-Nov-20

rock50's embedded Photo
rock50's embedded Photo
IKE, no chili this time.

However, he did get several slices of this.................elk backstrap in sous vide, marinated and rubbed before going into the vacuum pack. Three hours at 140, then 2 minutes per side on the infrared grill.

I think Dennis is planning to buy a sous vide machine.

From: rock50
04-Nov-20
On Saturday evening, Halloween night, it had started to get very windy. Dennis went to the food plot pictured at the start of the thread. The previous morning, my second son had seen 18 does and a buck (that he should not have passed up) in the plot. Dennis still had a doe tag to fill so that seemed like a decent place to go.

As of 6:00 he had seen nothing. We had made plans to go out for dinner at 7:30 with my daughter, son in law, and their two children. When he texted me and said he had seen nothing, I told him to go to the shed, get showered up, and I would pick him up for dinner at 7:10.

We had a nice dinner together. When I took him back to the shed the wind was still howling. The plan was for him to go back to the food plot Sunday morning. The overnight forecast called for sustained winds 20+ mph with gusts to 40. At 2:00 AM the winds were loud enough to wake him up inside the cabin, so he wisely made the decision to sleep in. So that morning, he said he did some business on the web, drove around the area a bit to see the lay of the land, and called his family back in PA.

From: rock50
04-Nov-20

rock50's embedded Photo
rock50's embedded Photo
I meet up with him at the shed midafternoon and he was kind enough to give my son in law Erik and I a lesson in caping a deer. The rest of the hunters in the family wanted to see it too, but all had obligations elsewhere.

Hopefully I can teach them a few things about it.

Dennis made it look easy.

From: rock50
04-Nov-20

rock50's embedded Photo
rock50's embedded Photo
Sunday afternoon he scored the buck. Trevor and Caleb were pretty close at 150………..Dennis added his measurements and came up with 152.

From: rock50
04-Nov-20

rock50's embedded Photo
rock50's embedded Photo
For the Sunday evening hunt, he went up the hill from the shed to a soybean food plot and about 10 minutes before shooting time was up he connected with a 152# doe.

From: rock50
04-Nov-20
My oldest grandson Tyler insisted on gutting Dennis’ doe while Dennis went back to the tub to remove the teeth from his buck’s skull to send it in to be aged.

I give up...................tried everything to rotate pic, tried 90, 180, 270 degrees, tried deleting and adding again???????????? Will try again later.

From: LWood
04-Nov-20
Congrats, Dennis! Great buck!

Mark - I met Dennis the same way. He did my mountain goat from BC. Bowsite friendships are awesome.

From: Dennis Razza
05-Nov-20
I’ve been very lucky to meet some great people from Bowsite over the years. Mark is one of the best!

He is a great role model and I see how the grandkids and family look up to him. He leads by example! I look forward to “paying it forward”.

One of the best trips ever for multiple reasons... the buck was a bonus!

From: Dennis Razza
05-Nov-20
I have to add... I see why he needs the butcher shop. The family is deer slaying machines!

His setup was better than most commercial butcher shops around my area.

From: Dennis Razza
05-Nov-20

Dennis Razza's embedded Photo
Dennis Razza's embedded Photo
Picture of the blue moon on my last evening hunt.

From: rock50
05-Nov-20

rock50's embedded Photo
rock50's embedded Photo
It was a great experience for our family to have Dennis here. I am always pleased to have my grandchildren exposed to high character individuals from all walks of life, men and women of integrity and humility.

He ended up taking two bucks back to PA to mount. Jedd and his sons and son in law took a DIY public land hunt and Tyler connected with a good mule deer. After talking with Dennis he knew he wanted to have Dennis do the taxidermy for him.

From: tobywon
05-Nov-20
Congrats Dennis and awesome all around Mark!!!

From: SBH
05-Nov-20
Tremendous. Great stuff all around. Love to see good things happening to good people. Thanks for the post and keep up the strong work gentleman!

From: GhostBird
05-Nov-20
Congratulations to all... good stuff.

06-Nov-20
Yup. Dennis is a great guy. Good on you for having him out - I'm sure you won't regret that. Grats on the buck Dennis!

From: Oryx35
07-Nov-20
Good stuff all the way around!

07-Nov-20
What a cool story. Its nice to forget about all the crazy and just be there with them on the hunt. Thanks

From: powder
08-Nov-20
Congrats to Dennis. I am lucky to call Mark a friend. No finer people than all of Marks family!

08-Nov-20
Bowsite guys are the best of the best

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