Each year brings some remarkable stories and some amazing freaks of nature. Here are five of the trophies that hit the DNA lottery and the hunters who bagged them.

Brett Ross – Mule Deer

On a mule deer hunt with family and friends in Mesa County Colorado, Brett Ross had a deer in front of him but hecould only see the deer’s body through his scope. The deer’s head was behind a tree. When the deer moved, Brett caught sight of three points of antler so he knew it was a legal buck and settled the crosshairs and squeezed the trigger. When he and his buddies walked up to the buck, pandemonium broke out. The buck was unbelievably wide and had points going everywhere. Its total gross score was more than 300 inches and it netted 292 6/8, ranking it well up in the Boone & Crockett record book.

Carrie Albrecht – Elk

When Carrie Albrecht headed out for a Wayne County, Utah elk hunt that September day, she had no idea she was about the shuffle the record books stats around. The nontypical elk she shot with a muzzleloader scored 456 gross and 431 2/8 net nontypical, making it the largest nontypical elk ever shot by a female and the largest ever shot with a muzzleloader.

Dennis Arndt – Black Bear

People talk about 500-pound bears, but bears that actually sag a verified scale to more than 500 pounds are extremely rare. That’s what makes Dennis Arndt’s 780-pound mammoth bear so eye-popping. And the way he shot the Waupaca County, Wisconsin behemoth is just as remarkable. The giant bear was a local legend, and Dennis was getting game camera photos of the bear at his bait. Dennis realized the bear was consistently coming in 15 minutes after he left his stand for the night. The bear had patterned him! So the night of September 21, he left his stand early, making plenty of noise. He walked out to his truck and started it. Then he quietly snuck back in to his stand. Sure enough; the ruse worked, 15 minutes later he had the giant bear in his sights.

Dale Hislop – Pronghorn

Dale Hislop is from Calgary, Alberta, but he loves to hunt pronghorn antelope across the western US. In fact, he has probably shot more big speedgoats than anyone else alive. He has ten of them entered into the Boone & Crockett Record books. But the one he shot in Arizona in September, 2014 will be hard to top. In fact, it ranks just one inch below the world record pronghorn and landed him at #2 all time. The Mojave county buck scored a whopping 95 4/8.

Michael Nettler – Whitetail Deer

Nettler had seen a giant typical buck a few times before he encountered it in a cornfield on November 17, 2014. In fact he had been sitting in stands hunting that buck specifically for about a month. This time he was on the ground with the buck, but by the time he worked his way through the noisy corn to get within bow range, he was shaking so bad he could hardly shoot. Finally he calmed down and made the shot. The buck scores 194 1/8 which will rank it higher than the state record which was shot in 1948. It will also take its place at the top of the record books for archery whitetails in South Dakota.

Follow Bernie’s bowhunting adventures on his blog, bowhuntingroad.com.