Buck: 200 inches
Date of Harvest: Sept. 24, 2020
Location: Kenton County, Kentucky
Weapon: Ravin R10 Crossbow
Jeremy Huffman hunts in Kenton County, Kentucky, which is located in the northern part of the state along the Ohio River. It’s heavily-timbered hill country, and deer have lots of room to roam.
One deer didn’t go unseen, though, and it’s a giant whitetail that Huffman nicknamed Moose. Hunting in the area since the age of 10, this was the deer Huffman was looking for, and he finally got his chance at him.
The journey began in 2017. The deer was a big 3 ½-year-old. Huffman never saw it in person that year, though.
In 2018, the deer returned. He even had an in-person encounter with it, but didn’t get close enough for a shot. The deer lived another year.
The 2019 season came and went without any encounters with the deer. Huffman started to wonder if he’d ever catch up to the buck. But 2020 was destined to be the year. He just needed patience.
He was finally rewarded. After four years of following the buck, in 2020, Huffman got back on its early-season pattern. The 6 ½-year-old buck’s behavior was becoming more habitual, and he had several repetitive tendencies throughout the property Huffman hunts.
This led to multiple encounters in early and mid-September. None of those panned out, but he inched closer to the day it would all come together.
That day was Sept. 24. After studying trail camera photos and reflecting on past encounters, he opted to go to a field-edge stand close to the buck’s early-season core area. Rushing home from work, he gathered his gear, arrived at the farm, and climbed into his treestand.
It was a mild fall day. Not hot. Not cold. Moderate in almost every way.
He overlooked an open field. Across it was a thicket and some CRP. To the left, a hayfield blew in the slight breeze. To the right, a bubbling creek weaved through a block of woods. More timber towered behind the stand.
As the day continued, a small button buck made its way into the open. It spent some time browsing before eventually drifting off.
An hour later, Moose stepped into view. “He crossed the road and came across the middle of the hayfield like the past two times,” Huffman says. “But this time, he didn’t hold up in the thicket.”
Instead, it walked all the way through it, and popped out into the field. After several tense moments, the giant finally walked within bow range. Moose stopped 20 yards away, and Huffman took the shot. The broadhead found its mark, and the deer ran about 20 yards before falling in sight.
Realizing what he’d just accomplished, Huffman climbed down and recovered the deer. That’s when it really set in.
“After I set out four years ago, it was a great achievement,” Huffman says.
Several things played into his success. But much of it had to do with reflecting on past information to help learn what the deer might do in the future. That way, Huffman would be ahead of the deer, instead of a step behind.
Another key point was determining where the buck’s major weaknesses were located. Huffman used HuntStand to help locate funnels and pinch points, which served as excellent stand locations.
Finally, he didn’t just spend time focusing on Moose during the deer season. Huffman also put in post-season and pre-season efforts to make sure his season was a success. All of the scouting and planning led up to one final encounter with Moose.
“Now, it’s time to start finding the next one,” Huffman concluded.