The story of Benny Overholt’s Georgia cactus buck was 3 years in the making. He first discovered the buck in 2019. At the time, the buck was a scrappy looking oddball buck that some of the local hunters suggested culling from the herd. He was believed to be a 3-year-old in 2019. With a less than impressive rack, Overholt opted to give the buck a pass since he seemed to be unique, particularly due to holding its velvet late into the season.
In fact, in 2019, the buck held its velvet until late December. Overholt said it wasn’t until December 22 that the buck began to shed its velvet. Overholt later found a shed from the buck in February of 2020.
With the intel that the buck would still be around for the 2020 season, the Overholt family began to look ahead to what the buck might produce for headgear for the coming season. And much to their surprise, the antlers produced by the buck in 2020 made him worthy of the hit list. Overholt began to hone in on the buck, its home range, and every move it made across several properties.
Overholt had an encounter with the buck on October 3rd of 2020 near a bedding area, but a shot opportunity never materialized. He was still in velvet at the time. In fact, the buck never shed its velvet throughout the hunting season.
Trail camera intel would later show that the buck not only held its velvet throughout the winter months, but eventually showed that the buck would carry its 2020 antlers into the 2021 season.
Overholt says biologist refer to the condition of a buck maintaining a single rack for 2 years in a row as a “compound rack.”
Overholt’s cactus buck carried its 2020 rack into the 2021 season, and the growth it had experienced was beyond impressive.
The buck had blown up into a true giant. It was quickly becoming a legendary whitetail.
Overholt’s 1st sit of the 2021 Georgia season yielded an encounter with the buck, but the shot opportunity never came. Two days later, Overholt climbed back in the stand for an afternoon sit in just the right spot to catch the buck slipping from its bed to transition across to feed on the neighboring property.
When the buck again showed up and made its way toward Overholt’s stand, Overholt prayed for a straight arrow and a quick kill. When the buck angled toward Overholt, he drew back, tucked his pin tight behind the buck’s shoulder, and made the shot. His first thought was that he had smacked the buck in the guts. He went from the highest of the highs to the lowest of the lows.
Overholt and family gave the buck 6 hours before going in to attempt a recovery. However, they would soon find that his shot was right on the money, and the buck only traveled a short distance beyond where Overholt last saw the deer run.
A Georgia giant had fallen. The buck of a lifetime was now in Overholt’s hands. It was the closing chapter on a buck that consumed countless hours from hunters across the region.
What is a Cactus Buck?
Cactus bucks are bucks suffering from lowered testosterone production, which in turn affects growth of their antlers. Generally, this is caused by injury to the testicles, which are a major producer of testosterone. Such bucks typically hold their velvet and do not participate in the rutting ritual. Overholt says his buck had no testicles, and the shed antler of the buck he found in 2019 was hollow.
In an effort to preserve the velvet of the buck, Overholt quickly transported the buck to his taxidermist following a few photos. He says he will wait until the 60-day drying period to have the buck scored.
A big congrats to Benny on making good on the buck of a lifetime in the state of Georgia.
Check out Overholt’s story in the video below…