On November 4 at 6:40 p.m., Dustin Huff of Greensburg, Indiana, shot a caliber of whitetail that normally only occupies a hunter's dreams. The raw score of the behemoth buck is 212 inches.
“It all happened within three minutes. From seeing him to when I shot him it was a three-minute thrill ride,” Huff told MeatEater.
Huff made a 40-yard shot with a Stryker crossbow in an area he’s hunted since he was 12 years old. This year he decided to revisit the familiar spot.
“I hadn't haunted this oak grove since probably high school and I don't know what told me to go back there,” Huff said. “The only deer I saw that evening was him. Oh man, it was unbelievable.”
He first spotted the buck's massive antlers in a creek bottom.
“He came right up a little ravine that was in between me and him,” Huff said. “I only had like 5 more yards to take a shot. So I whistle at him and, of course, he stops right behind two sapling trees.”
That positioning didn’t allow for an ethical shot, but Huff didn’t let his emotions get the best of him. He waited for the buck to move.
“So I just talked to myself for a split second and said, ‘I got another maybe yard or two for him to take. One or two more steps and I might be able to sink an arrow in there,’" he said. "And sure enough, he takes one, two more steps. I whistle again. And he stops right behind two more saplings.”
Luckily, Huff could maneuver around the left side of the tree just enough to take a clean shot.
“Once I saw him fall, I started making phone calls. I think I blacked out. I didn't know what was going on. It was unreal.”
The current Indiana state record for a typical whitetail is 195 ⅝ inches, taken by Dave Roberts in 1985. If authorities verify this buck at 212 inches after the drying period, it will break a record that has stood for 36 years by almost 17 inches.
“I didn't sleep maybe two hours last night. I just kept getting up to go check on it,” Huff said. “I can't even like sit down. I can't eat nothing. I just keep pacing back and forth.”
We expect Huff will be riding that high for a good long while. Congrats on harvesting a world-class buck on home turf, Dustin.