Have You Ever Killed a Giant Buck You Didn't Know Was Around?
|Rack Report Details|
|Buck:||205 1/8 Inches|
|Time of Year:||November 17, 2018|
|Place:||Knox County, Indiana|
|Weapon:||Winchester 1300 shotgun Shotgun|
Most bucks featured in Realtree.com's Rack Reports are taken by hunters who've been pursuing those specific bucks for one or more seasons. Some consider the building of history with a particular buck — sheds, encounters and trail cam pictures — a relationship. Often, these relationships last three or four years before the final puzzle piece is placed.
Of course, we'll randomly interview a hunter who's killed a giant that he/she never knew existed. One such hunter is Cam Bottum, a shotgunner who drilled an Indiana buck grossing 205 1/8 inches this November.
Several family members from Michigan annually join Bottum, who's originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, for Indiana's shotgun opener. Bottum is also a father of three children, of whom also enjoy hunting.
I was hunting from a ladder stand overlooking a ditch that runs for several miles, Bottum shared. A large deer trail runs directly toward my stand, but I normally don't see deer traveling it. Instead, they usually appear on either side of my stand.
On the afternoon of opening day, a giant buck appeared and was traveling that head-on trail.
I heard subtle crunching of leaves, Bottum said, Then I spotted a body. It's quite thick in that direction, so I was unable to identify the deer.
Once the buck cleared the obstructing brush and trees, Bottum got the surprise of his life when he saw it was a buck with otherworldly width, outstanding mass and tines galore.
I passed the head-on shot, waiting until he reached a turn in the trail and was quartering away from me, Bottum remembered. Rather than mouth-grunt to stop him, I briskly flicked my safety to the off position, and he stopped perfectly. I was already zeroed-in on him, so I shot right away. The buck dropped instantly and didn't take another step.
Bottum's son, cousin, father and father-in-law met him to recover the world-class buck, which features 17 scorable points. Unfortunately, the buck had broken six tines, which included a small drop tine. Nonetheless, high fives and ear-to-ear grins followed as the four hunters approached the downed buck.
After seeing the buck, my cousin went home to get my 7-year-old son, he said. He loves deer hunting, too, and I take him hunting with me every chance I get. He was ecstatic when he saw my deer.
After the fact, a couple of Bottum's friends who hunt nearby properties shared that they'd known of the buck for at least two years. Some of their trail-cam photos were captured as far as 2 miles away from where Bottum killed the behemoth, proving that giant bucks don't always hold tight to a core area.
Interestingly, Bottum hadn't killed an Indiana buck in five years.
I'd been passing up every buck I'd seen, Bottum said, I was looking to shoot something larger than anything I had previously killed.
I don't know about you, but I'd say that Bottum's patience yielded the ultimate whitetail reward.
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