On Nov. 17 while hunting on a family farm in southeastern Georgia, 19-year-old Mary Bostwick harvested a deer of a lifetime; a deer her father, cousins and brothers chased for three seasons. But the size of the antlers wasn’t the only thing that took her by surprise; it was the abnormal, deformed growth that made the animal unlike any she’d seen. Here’s her story of how she harvested what was later determined to be a rare cactus buck.
The day before, Mary, a sophmore at the University of Georgia in Athens, drove home for Thanksgiving break. Along the way, she passed a truckload of hunters donning orange vests, turning down a dirt road. The sight kick started something in her. It had been years since she'd had the impulse, let alone the time, to run off to the fall woods, but she decided then and there she wanted to chase deer again.
“My grandfather went hunting when he was younger, and he and my dad got me and my two older brothers into it,” Bostwick says. “I stopped hunting for a while because of school, but over the Thanksgiving break we get together for a “cousins hunt” on our family farm every year—it’s like a big family reunion—and since I was in town for it, I just decided to go out with everyone else. I’m glad I did.”