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Nov. 27, 2011

Big Bucks Corner

Travis Cockburn’s 30-pointer

Sun, November 27, 2011

cockburn buck


Earlier this year Travis Cockburn’s brother called him after checking some of the trail cameras on a property they hunt. He told him that they had a “book buck” on film.

Travis assumed his brother meant there was a Pope and Young class buck on the camera, but his brother was referring to the Boone and Crockett book when he made his statement.
This was in July. 

After seeing the pictures, the Cockburns decided they better give a name to the giant non-typical that walked in front of their camera in Williamson County. This problem was solved when Travis’s 8-year-old son Caden took one look at the photo. 

“That is ginormica!” he said.

Ginormica stuck and the naming process was over. Now came the more complicated task of harvesting the buck known as Ginormica. 

As is often the case with big bucks, the Cockburns were not the only hunters in the area who knew of its existence. On Aug. 26 the 30-point buck stepped past one of Joe Smith’s trail cameras.

ginormica trail cam
The buck posed for three more velvet pictures on Sept. 8 and then returned one last time on Sept. 12th in the hard-antler stage. 

After salivating over pictures all summer, the Cockburns and Smith, were undoubtedly focusing on harvesting Ginormica. 

They were not alone. 

Back in the spring of 2009, Steve Siefert was mushroom hunting with his wife Amy. His most notable find was no morel, though.

Instead, he had discovered a 10-point shed that scored almost 86 inches and had a remarkable base measurement of almost seven inches in circumference. 

ginormica shed

Fast forward to Nov. 27, more than a week after the first Illinois shotgun hunting season. Thanksgiving is over. Yet, there has still been no sign of Ginormica. 

That was about to change. Travis Cockburn was perched in a tree on this rainy afternoon, down in the bottom of a creekbed that butted up against a thicket. A cold, north wind was blowing. 

“After the first shotgun season closed, I decided to slip into that thicket with my climbing stand and bow,” Cockburn told Realtree’s Rack Report. “There was only one tree in there that I could climb, but it was an oak with the top busted out of it from an ice storm we had a few years ago. It was re-topping, and even though all the leaves are gone, it allowed me to have a little cover at my back.”

As the rain kept falling, Cockburn strained to hear anything.

“It just seemed like the perfect afternoon, but I couldn’t hear a thing in the woods because the leaves were so wet,” Cockburn said. “I’d been watching a bobcat that slipped through, and then, at around 4:15, I happened to catch some other movement. That monster buck was in the creek, knee-deep in the water, coming right to me. When I saw him, he was already in bow range, and I didn’t even have time to get nervous.”

The buck presented Travis with an 18-yard shot and he made it count. 

“He went broadside, I bleated, and he stopped. I hit him right behind the shoulder, and though it was a little high, I was high enough in the tree that the exit was perfect.”

As the buck was running away, Travis was fairly certain he had just arrowed Ginormica. Just 70 yards later, Travis found himself tagging a buck that has at least 30 scorable points and bases that are over eight inches in circumference! 

Until Travis shot the big non-typical, nobody was known to have seen it during daylight hours. There have been some reports of people seeing it in their headlights at night, but nobody claimed to have seen it during the day.

After hearing about this Southern Illinois monster deer, I made arrangements to score the deer. I came up with a green score of 256 gross and a final net non-typical score of 242 6/8 inches. The rack had 64 inches of abnormals, more than 50 inches of mass measurements and the 12-point main-frame typical rack scored 192 1/8 gross, 178 7/8 net.

If that score holds up following the mandatory 60-day drying period, the Travis Cockburn Buck could land as high as fifth all-time in the Illinois records for archery kills.

Cockburn is having a full-body mount done of his buck.