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Ogema man bags 'one in a million' whitetail

One in a million

Steve Kozitka had a hunch he knew where a nice sized buck was living last fall during hunting season. He followed that hunch and ended up winning a state title because of it.

"He would winter at my farmstead," the Ogema man said.

In the summer, the deer was seen at a neighboring property, land Kozitka hadn't hunted in 30-plus years. Last fall though, he decided it was time to see if the illusive deer could be found.

In the past years, the buck's shed antlers were found on the land, and "he gained 20 inches in one year."

On Kozitka's last day out hunting, he heard a deer about 25 yards away. The deer was about 12-15 yards from his stand when he shot the first time, but missed him.

"He took two more steps and then I did hit him. I knew it was a nice rack, but nothing huge."

Matt Jensen of Spring Creek Taxidermy mounted the head, and Kozitka had it measured to enter into competition. He won the Minnesota Deer Classic for the largest non-typical deer. Chad Widness of Perham won largest for typical deer.

Kozitka's buck has also earned him title of the sixth largest buck in Becker County history. And measuring at 202 points, he earned a Boone and Crockett world-class award as well.

"The chances are one in a million to get a Boone and Crockett."

After not shooting a deer for the last three years, it was nice to be that one in a million.

He took the deer to the Minnesota show and "ended up in first place" for the non-typical category. A youth actually had the largest deer, measuring in at 210.

"I've never been a strategic trophy hunter," Kozitka said. Now, he added, he'd rather see someone else in his family get the trophy deer. "But I won't turn it down or give it up either," he said if one should cross his path.