A hunter from Oklahoma named Austin Cory had been trying to take down this specific cactus buck for a few seasons, and he finally tagged it.
The story of the huge and strange buck goes back to 2016, when Cory’s friend Austin Cameron first snagged a picture of the deer. The deer apparently spent most of its time in a particular bottom, but Cameron nor Cameron’s father could ever get a clean shot.
Tragically, Cameron’s father passed away from COVID-19 in 2020. That year, Cameron started hunting the cactus buck again. He missed by shooting over the buck’s back. Eventually, Cameron decided to enlist the help of his hunting buddy, Austin Cory. The devised a plan to get the buck out of the bottom, where for years they’d been unsuccessful in shooting him.
Since the buck’s antler deformity stems from a low level of testosterone, he didn’t perform in the rut. That means the hunters decided to lure him out of the bottom with food. After trying different types of bait, it seems that “Sugar Beat Crushed” worked the best, because that’s when the deer came out.
You can check out photos of the crazy-looking cactus buck at Field & Stream.
Cactus Buck Ran 300 Yards After Being Shot With Arrow
A trail camera eventually spotted the buck on November 14, 2022. It was hanging out with another deer in a field. Cory then constructed a new tree stand nearby the next day. He returned for an afternoon hunt, and that’s when he nabbed the cactus buck.
After seeing a few doe walk out in the open, the cactus buck later came out. Around 5:40 p.m., the buck strutted down the line, closer to Cory’s position. By 5:47, the cactus just about 15 yards away from the stand. With an incredible opportunity at hand, Cory calmly took the shot.
He descended the stand after a few minutes and retrieved the arrow, which was covered in blood. He started searching, and wasn’t able to locate and recover the deer until the next morning. The cactus buck had ran 300 yards before collapsing.
“It was emotional,” Cory told Field & Stream. “You put so much time and effort into one buck. And then it comes to fruition, and you get it done.’
Cory continued: “It’s a sense of accomplishment. It’s the most rewarding thing. It’s surreal.”
The buck is currently being scored, and both Cameron and Cory believe the buck to be between eight and ten years old.
Wildlife officials tell hunters to report sightings of cactus bucks. This is to give the local wildlife commission a better understanding of the buck’s distribution and condition. Moreover, Deer Management reports that cactus bucks “are not rare, but are not abundant either.”