SATURDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy. Low: 51. Winds: Northeast 10-20 mph.
SUNDAY: Mostly cloudy. High: 69. Winds: Northeast 10-15 mph.
MONDAY: Partly ...
Farm Creates Legendary Deer Hunting Destination
Farm manager Randy Leka oversees a large crew of employees who are tasked with operating a very big farm with a rather unique layout.
"There's about 13,000 contiguous acres here, which represents about 20 square miles," Leka said.
Having all their ground together allows the Grigsby family farm to do things like building a nearly 2 million bushel grain bin site.
"It's a short haul from most of the fields to our bin site," Leka said. "So it really does add to the productivity."
There is also plenty of prime deer habitat on the farm, which is why they launched Grigsby Outdoors.
That's where lead guide Mark Atterberry watches over deer hot spots like one particular food plot site he's checking now.
"It's a good location, it's down in the creek bottom, it's got timber for the most part all around it," Atterberry said. "They can get down here, they can be secluded."
The key to keeping deer here is the farm size. They basically own one entire deer habitat in Cass County, and then the next one over in Menard, which is even bigger.
"We don't really have to worry about them going somewhere else because we're our own neighbor basically," Atterberry said.
But they still have to work to enhance the habitat, with food plots containing things like corn and soybeans, which they monitor with trail cameras.
"To see what's there, and to figure out what deer we want to target," Atterberry said.
They also like to name the deer that they're snapping photos of.
"There's Big Brown, there's Bobtail, there is Vertigo," Atterberry said.
One particular rack belonged to a buck they called antique, shot by Savage Outdoors professional hunter Mike Stroff, who comes here to these stands for the same reason as most of their other guests.
"Most of them come from the South: Mississippi, Florida," Atterberry said. "The Illinois deer, the body is almost twice as big as the deer down south. Some of the bigger deer here have been in the 300-pound range."
And the deer from down south?
"150 [pounds]," Atterberry said.
For a place that charges several thousand dollars per week to hunt, and that doesn't advertise or even have a website, they are still booked solid every year.
"Mainly word of mouth," Atterberry said. "Once they come here, they want to come back."
If you want to try to get a spot to hunt at what is know nationally as "The Grigsby," you can give them a call at (217) 634-4500.
In Menard and Cass Counties, Mike Brooks, ABC NewsChannel 20.