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Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog


Dustin Shaffer

By Mike Handley

Don't you just love it when the "pretty good" buck you thought you shot winds up being a giant? That's a rhetorical question, of course, since most deer hunters are far more apt to experience the opposite.

Dustin Shaffer, however, could answer that question.

When a buck charged out of a honeysuckle patch last season with ears back, looking to kick some whitetail butt, Dustin had no time to count the points on its rack. The appearance of the animal was so sudden, so unexpected, that he barely had time to point his rifle at it.

The Kentuckian's autopilot squeezed the trigger.

Afterward, when Dustin was sitting on the ground beside the dead deer, he had a difficult time believing what had transpired in the span of a few minutes. The boom from his .270 was still ringing in his ears.

This occurred on the Wednesday after the Bluegrass State's modern gun season opened, after he'd put in a day's work pouring concrete.

"I had been in my stand about 30 minutes when I took out my call, grunted a few times, and then rattled," he told Dale Weddle, who measured the buck and is writing the story for Rack magazine. "After that, it was quiet for about 5 or 10 minutes."

And then it wasn't quiet any more.

Just goes to show that all you've heard about rattling, about how mature bucks tend either to come in quickly – somewhere between immediately and 10 minutes – or not at all, is true. After finishing a sequence, always wait at least 15 or 20 minutes before trying another.

The proof is hanging on Dustin's wall with a BTR composite score of 197 inches.

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