Is there better way to celebrate a big buck on the ground than with your family at your side? After shooting this 200+ inch Illinois whitetail, Jon Bargren got to do just that with his wife and daughter.
BY KERI J. BUTT
Illinois native Jon Bargren and his family have a long history with Deer & Deer Hunting. Jon’s dad, Ron, still has the first issue of Deer & Deer Hunting, which appeared in June 1977. So it was only fitting that Jon sat down for an exclusive interview with Deer & Deer Hunting to share the tale of the extraordinary buck he killed Nov. 23, 2013, in Ogle County, Ill. It will rank as one of the biggest bucks ever killed in North America from last year — and for many years to come.
For almost 18 months, the Bargren clan was involved in the pursuit of this amazing whitetail, and it began with a trail-cam picture during Summer 2012.
Discovering Mr. Worthy
Jon, his wife, Holly, and their 9-year-old daughter, Hunter, have always enjoyed checking trail cameras as a family. Holly is an avid outdoors woman and is also pretty strict about which deer Jon is “allowed” to shoot. Of course, that’s all in light-hearted fun and is a continuing joke between the couple. While checking trail cameras one summer afternoon in 2012, the Bargrens discovered some pictures of an enormous buck. When Jon asked Holly what she thought of the deer, she jokingly replied, “He’s worthy.” With that, the magnificent monster was named “Mr. Worthy.”
At the time, the buck was a main-frame 12-pointer with an 8-inch kicker going off the side of the G-2 and a 3-inch drop tine off the kicker. Jon believed the buck was a 4½-year-old that likely scored about 200 inches at that point. Not surprisingly, he began the 2012 Illinois archery season with one deer on his mind — Mr. Worthy.
Jon hunts a family farm of about 260 acres, much of which is timber surrounded by agriculture. Hoping the bruiser would come into one of his Whitetail Institute food plots during the early season, Jon hunted mostly along the edges to avoid spooking the buck.
It was the mid-October before Jon got another glimpse of Mr. Worthy on a trail-cam photo. Unfortunately, he realized the buck’s left beam had broken off right at the G-2. That was especially disappointing, because most of the photos Jon had of Mr. Worthy indicated the buck was active during daylight, meaning he was very huntable.
The June issue of Deer & Deer Hunting includes the rest of the story, including more photos of this incredible whitetail — many of which were taken by trail cameras when the buck was alive and still cruising Bargren’s hunting property in Illinois. Pick up a copy of the June issue today to see these incredible photos and learn how Bargren finally outsmarted this old, wary buck.