Sitka Mountain Gear
Jim edgar panther creek
Illinois
Contributors to this thread:
red cloud 30-Apr-17
Don K 30-Apr-17
Don K 30-Apr-17
Rutt-Nutt 30-Apr-17
Zim1 01-May-17
red cloud 05-May-17
Zim1 06-May-17
Little John 21-May-17
Jim 31-May-17
MikeS 17-Jun-17
Zim 16-Nov-18
1boonr 21-Nov-18
1boonr 21-Nov-18
Zim 23-Nov-18
Dusktildawn 23-Nov-18
HighLife 23-Nov-18
Zim 26-Nov-18
Dusktildawn 26-Nov-18
Highlife 28-Nov-18
Zim 29-Nov-18
Zim 29-Nov-18
Zim 29-Nov-18
Racks & Ridges 29-Nov-18
Dusktildawn 29-Nov-18
Racks & Ridges 29-Nov-18
Racks & Ridges 29-Nov-18
Dusktildawn 29-Nov-18
Zim 29-Nov-18
Highlife 30-Nov-18
Edge Hunter 30-Nov-18
buxandbass 30-Nov-18
Highlife 30-Nov-18
jstephens61 30-Nov-18
1boonr 30-Nov-18
Dusktildawn 30-Nov-18
DozRdeer2 30-Nov-18
Dusktildawn 30-Nov-18
Racks & Ridges 01-Dec-18
MikeS 13-Jan-19
MikeS 13-Jan-19
From: red cloud
30-Apr-17
Hello, My buddy and I are Non residents, we applied for the JEPC bow hunt and were awarded the 3rd week ( nov 8-15 I think ). Could anybody share a starting point or maybe some ideas? Maybe somebody out there who has hunted it? I have looked at google earth and see a few potential spots but wanted to get more info if possible. Thanks in advance.

From: Don K
30-Apr-17
Your going to see decent bucks (maybe even a monster), getting shots is much different. Best advice I can give is prepared to be mobile, and be prepared to see people. Lots of stands out there, some years where you sit you run into people, others you do not. This place isn't what it used to be, but hunt hard, enjoy it and you may get lucky. Lots of great habitat here I honestly wish they would limit us residents to make it a quality hunt again.

Get into your stand early, and be prepared to shine a light at someone wanting to set up near you. Most will move on to their other locations, and others may ignore you and set up 30 yards from you looking right at you. (have had that happen)

You have a great week, just hope that the weather is cool so the deer don't move at night

From: Don K
30-Apr-17
And one other thing to remember is everyone is looking at google earth and seeing what your looking at, have yourself multiple plans.

From: Rutt-Nutt
30-Apr-17
Maybe want to sit all day, reason being is firearm season is that weekend after your hunts ends. Guys will be walking, scouting and hanging their gun stands so use that to your advantage and maybe they will bump deer to ya. Also you might think you are far from parking spot, but they are all over the place so keep that in mind. And like mentioned above have a couple two or three options to act on. And most of all enjoy just being outdoors and seeing deer and having what is in your opinion a sucessful hunt.

From: Zim1
01-May-17
Oh joy your Jersey accents will be a welcome departure from the chicken fried southern accents permeating JEPC each November prime rut. Despite it's past the best Febr-March scouting season, you should get out there in advance of your hunt instead of power scouting the two days prior, ruining everyone else's hunt. There will be lots on stand and you will definitely screw some guys otherwise. I've been scouting/hunting it since the early 90's and have not found anywhere without stands. The deeper you go, the more the stands you will find. I'm a resident and am paying $750+ to go hunt Iowa public this year rather than hunt JEPC for $26/tag for 2 buck tags. If that tells you something. I travelled to Iowa twice for two scouting trips this past March, 6 days total. That was not enough, but I've scouted it previously. And with 3 points, I am not a lock to draw. But I went and scouted so I won't screw somebody later.

Be prepared to see more plates from Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia & Michigan than from us Illinois residents. No it's not a tour group. It's because our corrupt politicians think nothing of prostituting our state owned public resources for quick cash, regardless if the hunters pay or don't pay our outrageous state taxes. Once upon a time we had real nonresident quotas, and high public land deer quality. Both of these are now long gone. Iowa is the last bastion, but the pimps finally got their smelly foot in the door there too, squeezing through rifle legislation.

From: red cloud
05-May-17
Zim, Thanks for the info. FYI... no jersey accent. I'm not from the city area of NJ near NY. I'm in a little piece of wooded country near the pine barrens where you can still get away from city folk believe it or not! I'm starting to think this may be a clusterf_--- and may not end up going at all. I thought the numbers were somewhat limited for archery but I guess not. Didn't pay anything just put in for the lottery basically to see some mid west country on a low budget deal and maybe get a chance at a good deer. My thinking has changed some since this post. Thanks again, good luck in Iowa.

From: Zim1
06-May-17
red cloud, Sorry to rant but everything I posted is a fact, not an opinion. I don't look through rose colored glasses like some folks are happy to do, which only misleads. On a good note, you did draw the best season. One thing you might want to do is call the property manager up and see how many NR permits were issued this year compared to last. JEPC got a new manager January 1st and he has control over those numbers. It's possible the new guy lowered the quota, which would help you, but I doubt it. The last guy looked at the box of NR permits as if he was his fix of crack cocaine, seriously.

It is a tall task to score any buck at JEPC coming in cold with only 7 days to bowhunt. Those permits should be for 2 weeks but the ILDNR manages for their bloated pension funds, not deer. This results in extremely aggressive NR hunters hunting every single minute of every day in every wind direction come hell or high water. That is why guys will be on stand if you try to power scout even mid-day.

Now it's time for me to go shop for homes over the Indiana state line, where property taxes aren't $12,000/year for a 3BR/2BA starter. In case you are unaware Illinois has lead the nation for the last 5 years in population loss. All due to liberal high taxes, ridiculous state employee pensions & welfare. This has all contributed to our current poor deer management. When Blagojavich was here he raided the sportsmen's fund twice. New for this year the democrats passed a senate bill to increase our income tax to 5% minimum. Absolutely ridiculous.

From: Little John
21-May-17
Red Cloud, I come to JEPC every year from Pa. Been hunting it since 2000. You did pick the busiest week, but the best chance on a big buck. I try to come out earlier to avoid the rush. I have killed several nice bucks and seen monsters almost every year. I have a couple spots that I hunt that I get away from people. With all the fields out there, the deer stay in the open quite a bit. ( in the tall grass) Keep that in mind when scouting. Your welcome to contact me to chat. I can give you some ideas. And as said above, don't be afraid to be mobile. Look for the osage thickets and have stands that can be put in crooked trees. You will find that these places don't get hunted near as hard as the open timber and field edges. Any place you find a pinch point, there will be a stand. Lots of the stands are weekend hunters or there year round. So if your there early, you will usually have that spot. I enjoy my week out there and know the place fairly well with hunting it the past 16 years.

From: Jim
31-May-17
Deer nonresident Archery

JEPC... Better check, new park superintendent, things have changed... I was told as a nonresident if you don't draw a SPECIAL permit you can't hunt ANYTIME. Nonresidents can only hunt public ground at his location with Special Permit.

Jim

From: MikeS
17-Jun-17
There are some nice deer on this property, but strangely they seem to learn to look up in the trees from a rather early age at JEPC. My first time hunting there I had never been (visually) busted soooo many times from deer that were NOT downwind of me. Over the past decade, unfortunately, the quality and even quantity of deer have drastically decreased. Just seems like a LOT more people hunting this park recently. I know I will not be one of them this year when I draw my first Iowa archery tag. If the lack of deer, but high number of hunters turns you off also...go further south in IL. There is a lot of public land farther downstate that has much less pressure on it yet still produces some big bucks.

From: Zim
16-Nov-18
Update! So this year I chose to return to JEPC due to it's my wife's transition year, and she wanted to accompany me on my hunt. It was just easier to take her due to the good quality campground there. To my utter shock, there was a noticeable major decline in nonresident license plates in the lots. Lot after lot I observed, as well as trucks in the campground. So I spoke with Gary, the camp host. He confirmed that the new site manager, Billy Lowe, slashed the NR quotas. It appeared to me that the total number of hunters remained about the same. I suspect some resident crossgunners filled the void, as well as some archery residents who fled previously, due to the change in policy? Didn't change deer quality. Just passed on 10 dinks in 10 days. Saw zero shooters. Saw zero mature bucks hanging in the campground that whole peak rut. Biggest was a 140" but taken off private. But a friend returned from Iowa with a 157 4/8' stud off their public.

After hunting JEPC off & on sine the early 90's, the change in NR numbers was just hard for me to believe. I just got used to seeing 60%-70% NR plates in all the lots for decades. The previous site superintendent was Mike Wickens, who I am quite sure fled Illinois with his 96% taxpayer funded unsustainable pension immediately after retiring! He was a deer tag pimp. Sold to the highest bidder, regardless the land was paid for by residents. I don't mind NR at all. It's just the quantity I have a problem with. Anyway, my schedule will return to normal next year, so I doubt I'll be spending it at JEPC anyway. I will continue scouting new properties statewide to try and find some overlooked pockets & swamps with a decent buck or two. Odds not good at JEPC. Spoiled rotten after Iowa last year.

From: 1boonr
21-Nov-18

From: 1boonr
21-Nov-18
What did you kill in Iowa last year

From: Zim
23-Nov-18
Didn't fill my Iowa tag per my own choice. But I passed on 130" bucks every day, and some 140's as well. Just enjoyed seeing actual real mature bucks and no other hunters daily rather than dinks and NR plates. Spoiled myself for 4 full weeks. Almost connected on a couple 160+ bucks, and one booner on Thanksgiving. Best whitetail hunt ever, mostly because I scouted 3 full weeks earlier last year, and had prior experience there since the late 90's. I enjoy scouting there as much as hunting. Returning this February again to help in Don K's 2019 hunt. He's got 4 points. I'll be shifting to a lower profile zone my next hunt there.

From: Dusktildawn
23-Nov-18
Can you share pictures of some of those 140" deer you passed on.

From: HighLife
23-Nov-18
Yeah I'd like too see pictures also

From: Zim
26-Nov-18
I had four full weeks to hunt Iowa public lands. I actually passed on a borderline 150" on Halloween morning, but he was stopped at a scrape 40 yards away. It was in a bottom so wind was swirling and he got a slight whiff of me, so he was looking my way and slightly quartering towards me. I was not confident in that shot distance and saw no need to risk it on my first day. The first week in November I passed on a couple 140" bucks. I had two buddies that had tags this year, so I gave one the GPS coordinates of the five trees I was hunting there. He tagged out on a 157 4/8" two hours into his first hunt there, hunting off the ground due to 30 mph winds. He was close only ~100 yards away, but never even got to my first marked tree! This just happened so I'll ask him if he minds if I post a photo of it here. But not sure why a photo matters.

My Illinois public land hunt sucked as usual. That is also the sad truth thanks to our wannabe wildlife manager politicians, their unlimited NR & crossgun genius legislation, etc. I also have tagged a few 130"-140" bucks off Illinois public. But not since 2014 when a new property opened up and I scored a 162" October 3rd before the droves of NR arrived. Since then it's been garbage. Several 140"+ bucks have been tagged on Michigan & Tennessee public as well, but the chances are slim & none. The fact is the overall public hunting quality in Illinois has gone downhill for 25 years and still is.

From: Dusktildawn
26-Nov-18
Zim.....I NEVER questioned the validity of your hunts. I simply wondered if u had any pictures of those deer. I 100% believe there are many 140-160 class there in Iowa. I knew guys who hunted there and told me the stories. No need to get a red ass just a simple bo unfortunately I did not get any pictures wpuld have done. I have seen 4 deer over 160 on Illinois public lands the last 2 yra and NO I did not get a picture. As far as Illinois goes. Yes the IDNR has management problems and senselessly kills way too many deer in the name of CWD or whatever other bullshit diseases they claim. In bed with Insurance companies and chase the mighty $. My buddy and I still manage to fill our freezers every yr on Ill. public lad with our bows and YES we have put some Very nice deer on the wall. Best of luck to you wherever you decide to hunt, and hope everyone else enjoys the rest of the season, and can enjoy their backstraps as much as we do.

From: Highlife
28-Nov-18
So no pictures.

From: Zim
29-Nov-18
Why do you need to see a photo? If you don't know what a 157 4/8" buck looks like you can just Google it.

From: Zim
29-Nov-18

Zim's embedded Photo
Zim's embedded Photo

From: Zim
29-Nov-18

Zim's embedded Photo
Zim's embedded Photo
Know the difference between Iowa public land trophy deer hunters and Illinois public land trophy deer hunters? The Illinois guys get much better gas mileage on average.

29-Nov-18
Somebody's a little touched......

From: Dusktildawn
29-Nov-18
Ridges that dude has severe issues! Biggest redass on the site. Can't even accept a compliment without belittling people and the Government. Guess we will see his picture when he arrows the world record whitetail in Iowa,Hawaii,Montana, Alaska or wherever he takes his 20 week vacations!

29-Nov-18
Haha So ive noticed in other topics on this site.....

29-Nov-18
I still like the 157 4/8" buck..........I can't let that go.......mine was 148 16/32" said no one ever!

From: Dusktildawn
29-Nov-18
Guess reduction of fractions is a lost art...ha

From: Zim
29-Nov-18
WTF P&Y is the one who calculates the score, not me. That is their score.

In any case, it's certainly good to see a CO with the stones to over ride our greased politicians and actually do something to improve quality. Even the smallest effort is appreciated...............it's been decades.

From: Highlife
30-Nov-18

From: Edge Hunter
30-Nov-18
Racks, I suppose the reason the scores are expressed in eights of an in is because all measurements are are taken to th nearest 1/8 and when you have eight circumferences, ten or more points,beams and spread, you don't want to be reducing and finding common denominators all the time.

From: buxandbass
30-Nov-18
I say we keep it positive and all about a shared love of hunting, instead of turning these threads into some kind of Real Housewives back and forth. IMO its best to ignore the noise brought on by some.

From: Highlife
30-Nov-18
Your right I shouldn't have sunk to that level

From: jstephens61
30-Nov-18
Sooo, red cloud, did you do any good at Panther Creek?

From: 1boonr
30-Nov-18
Racks- yours was 148 and 4/8. They do not use 1/32s but they do use 16ths on skulls

From: Dusktildawn
30-Nov-18

Dusktildawn's embedded Photo
Dusktildawn's embedded Photo
Funny what you see when you decide to fish instead of bow hunt for a day!

From: DozRdeer2
30-Nov-18
Dusk - How do they know?????

From: Dusktildawn
30-Nov-18
He heard the trolling motor go down and came out of nowhere to see what was going on. Would have loved to trade a baitcaster for my bow! Still cool to see them whenever and wherever!

01-Dec-18
I was just being sarcastic to the fraction world. I'm a union electrician, it's just natural to reduce so when I see 4/8" it tickles my pickle. I've never scored my bucks I should maybe give that a whirl here.

From: MikeS
13-Jan-19

MikeS's embedded Photo
MikeS's embedded Photo
This is the buck Zim referenced earlier in this topic. It was an amazing hunt. Other than one property that was massively over-hunted my first Iowa public land hunt was a success. Saw 8-12 deer per sit on 3 separate properties and then killing this guy on the 10 th morning of the hunt. As Zim said, I decided to stay on the ground that morning cause I'd never stepped foot on the property. Slowly still hunted for 1.5 hours until I walked up to 26 yds of a deer grooming itself completely upwind of me. He was a 2.5 yr old buck I just watched until a buck fight off in the distance made him run toward the commotion. Unfortunately I didn't draw cause a much larger (~150") buck got up from a fallen tree and stood broadside for a couple seconds just 25 yds from me. Angry for being lazy I went over to sit in another fallen tree nearby that would offer me a shot if by chance he returned. About 5 minutes later I heard noise behind me to see a mature doe walk up to 5 yds of my makeshift blind. She caught my wind being downwind of me but only retreated back where she came from down a point off a ridge. As she walked away I realized I needed to make some holes in the fallen tree in case I had more visitors from that direction. Each branch I broke off cause the doe to turn my way but she couldn't make me out. All of sudden as she got to about 40 yds I caught movement to my left and instantly knew this was the quality buck I waited 5 long years to have the opportunity to kill! Unfortunately he followed the doe with only a Texas heart shot available so I ranged him. He was at 30 yds but heading towards the doe. I drew and grunted. Nothing...he continued. I whistled...Nothing. Too dang windy with 25 -35 mph NW sustsined winds. I yelled and he turned quartering away at what I guessed was 40 yds. From my knees I shot thru the hole in the fallen tree I had just made watching the glow of my nock slip thru him. Later I checked on OnX and I was 96 yds fom getting to the suggested tree!

From: MikeS
13-Jan-19

MikeS's embedded Photo
MikeS's embedded Photo

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