Have You Ever Killed a Giant Buck You Didn’t Know Was Around?
Rack Report Details
205 1/8 Inches
Time of Year:
November 17, 2018
Knox County, Indiana
Winchester 1300 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.