MAN, W.Va. — Most hunters go their whole life hoping to have the chance to kill a wall hanger buck. However, a young man in Logan County has managed to put three trophy book bucks on his wall in three consecutive years and he’s barely old enough to drive.
Cam Gerace, 16, of Man, West Virginia killed his first deer when he was six years old, a small doe. He’s grown up bowhunting in the steep hollows of the rugged coal country of West Virginia. He’s learned from his dad and papaw not only how to navigate those steep and unforgiving hills, but also how to unlock the secrets to the incredible bucks known to haunt some of their most severe terrain.
Cam, who is the catcher on the Man Hillbillies baseball team, said his first trophy buck came during his freshman year when he was 14.
“I had him on camera the year before and I saw him that year, but couldn’t get a shot at him. The year after that in October, I was sitting in my blind and about 5:30 I heard a big stick break and he came in and I shot him at about 17 yards. He ran about 75 yards and died,” he explained in an interview for West Virginia Outdoors.
The buck had 13 points and a Pope and Young score of 175.
The following year, Cam had another buck mapped out he had been watching and as fate would have it, he connected again. This time he was in his ground blind with his papaw as the big one approached on the second day of archery season.
“There was multiple big bucks in there, but that was the biggest one. We saw him coming from a good bit away. Papaw Joey thought it was his, he had one picked out and I had one picked out. We had a talk and it was mine,” he said.
The buck came in, but then ran away only to return in about five minutes and gave Cam the perfect shot at 10 yards away. He ran about 85 yards and keeled over dead. That buck sported a rack of 9 points and scored 135. According to Cam, his grandfather never got his buck that year since he had to work so often.
This year, Cam had another big buck selected and started hunting him on opening day. His dad also had a big buck showing up at his stand which suddenly stopped showing up.
“I saw a little six pint that day, but I didn’t shoot it because I was after a different 10 point. He came in and I thought he was that 10 pointer I was after. I shot him at about 25 yards and he ran 60 yards and died,” he explained.
Turned out when Cam finally put his hands on the buck’s rack he realized it wasn’t his buck, but rather the one his dad was after. I asked what his dad had to say about that.
“Ah, he said he was proud of me,” laughed Cam. “I was fine with it because it was even bigger than the one I was after.”
Young Cam still has a doe tag he plans to fill and actually got to record another milestone this hunting season when he killed his first bear not far from his deer hunting territory.
“He came in and laid down. It started getting dark and I hollered at him to make him look around. He looked around a few times and the last time he did it, I shot him right in the throat,” he explained.
Cam had grown frustrated with the bear not cooperating so he texted his dad. Dad, with some fatherly advice, told him to wait for a good shot.
“I’m glad he did that. When I shot him, he ran about 35 yards and died,” Cam said.
Odds are against that kind of luck every year, but so far he’s been able to beat those odds. With every walk in the woods he improves his knowledge and chances for the next hunting adventure.