A RARE TROPHY FALLS IN ALABAMA
Buck: 143 5/8 (Buckmasters composite score)
Time of Year: December 21, 2015
Place: Perry County, Alabama
Weapon: Remington Model 700
Casey Burnett is a die-hard Alabama deer hunter. He lives it. I was raised hunting, Casey said. Hunting gives me a challenge. I work hard at it. I love being outside. [Hunting] is enjoyable because I can put effort into a piece of property, and when you kill [that buck], it makes it all worth it.
Last June, he leased a piece of ground with his buddy in central Alabama. They started running cameras immediately. A unique-looking cactus buck showed up on camera in September. They quickly named it The Freak and formulated a plan to kill it.
On December 21, Casey and his friend decided to hunt the midday hours. He climbed into the elevated box blind about 9:30 a.m. and started watching for deer in the cutover in front of him. Movement was slow.
About 11:30 a.m., Casey heard a dog barking on an adjoining property. He saw something move out in front of him. He glassed the spot. A bush. The dog barked again. Two deer came running over the hill. Casey immediately recognized the weird cactus buck from the 200 trail camera photos they had of it. He bleated to stop the buck. A pull of the trigger and 250-yard shot ended the hunt.
It was uneventful until those dogs started barking, Casey recalled. It really sank in when I got down and walked over to the buck. My buddy was 400 yards away and heard me yell with excitement. I never thought in a million years that I would have ever killed a buck like that.
The buck was officially measured by Steve Lucas. It scored 131 5/8-inches (official) and 143 5/8-inches (composite) on the Buckmasters scoring system. Obviously, the mass was what allowed it to score as well as it did.
[Hunting] is all I've ever known, Casey continued. As long as the good Lord keeps me healthy, I'll be out there chasing after them.
Most bucks in central Alabama shed by the end of September. Except for cactus bucks. For those unfamiliar with this condition, it is usually found in bucks with damaged and irregular testicles or those without testicles. Extremely low levels of testosterone prevent the shedding of velvet. This condition is known as Cryptorchidism.
Casey came away from the 2015 season with fond memories and with a rare trophy that very few ever have the opportunity to take.