Rack Magazine

Say Cheese!

Say Cheese!

By Terry Rathman

Justin Newsome’s trail cam setup was like a free photo booth without a curtain.

The buck Justin Newsome smoked last September was drawn to a trail camera like a moth to a bug zapper.

Justin, a 34-year-old power plant employee who decided Butler, Mo., is a greener pasture than his native Florida, lives about 16 miles from the Kansas state line. And when he’s ready to bear arms against a deer, he takes his nonresident license and crosses over into Linn County.

He first became aware of a large buck near the property he hunts back in 2011. With that deer in mind, he obtained permission to prowl a 40-acre tract he thought might be the whitetail’s core area.

In August 2012, Justin set out trail cameras and began collecting photographs of the buck he’d hoped to find there. For the rest of that season and again the next fall, he retrieved more than 2,000 images of that deer from his cameras’ cards.

Say Cheese!It was a mainframe 5x5 with a forked P2 on the right, easy to identify. And most of the photos were taken in the broad daylight!

Even when other deer were in the frame, this guy was always front and center.

Justin, a bowhunter at heart, really wanted to get this guy with his bow. But even though the evidence showed it wasn’t nocturnal, that didn’t mean taking it would be a cakewalk. Despite spending many hours in a stand, he saw the buck only twice during the 2012 season.

When the season ended, Justin learned the property was on the market, disheartening news that prompted him to change plans for 2013.

“I hadn't hunted with a gun for years,” he said. “But knowing that I might have only one more shot at this buck, and only if the guy didn’t sell his land in the interim, I took a chance and put in for a muzzleloader tag in April.”

It was a big gamble, especially since he didn’t re-lease the land.

In August, he asked the landowner if he could scout the property, which hadn’t sold, and the man agreed.

Say Cheese!Three days after Justin set out a trail camera, he retrieved photographs of the familiar buck, which was even more impressive than it had been the previous year.

“That's when I actually went back and leased the land for 2013, and he let me do it because he hadn't sold it yet,” Justin said. “I even made him an offer for the land, but I guess it wasn't enough.”

Meanwhile, trail cam pictures were flowing, teasing Justin. They gave him a good look at the now mainframe 6x6 rack with at least 11 more irregular points.

The only downside was that its existence was not a secret. Several locals had seen it, too. And Justin was afraid the deer was going to be hit by a car, shot by someone else, or poached.

On a cool and clear Sept. 17, the short season’s second day, Justin went forth into a southeast wind and wound up spotting the deer he’d nicknamed Mr. Kansas standing 82 yards from his ground blind.

After Justin squeezed the blackpowder rifle’s trigger, the 23-pointer circled and disappeared, leaving no blood in its wake. When he saw there was no trail to follow, Justin called a friend to help him look for the deer, which hadn’t traveled 40 yards.

Soon into the search, they spotted the big white belly.

Hunter: Justin Newsome
BTR Score: 203

– Photos Courtesy Justin Newsome

This article was published in the August 2014 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home.

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