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Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog

Jeff Toy

By Mike Handley

Ten days into Michigan's 2013 firearms season, Jeff Toy was beginning to feel like the world's unluckiest deer hunter. The empty spot in his freezer seemed cavernous, which is why he went out every morning and evening.

He wanted very badly to be more hunter than gatherer, to have red meat unadorned with a "sell-by"date, but the deer weren't cooperating.

When his father called to say he was taking an early afternoon to hunt on Nov. 25, Jeff invited a cousin to make it a threesome. They all went to the same tract, a large cut cornfield. Dad went to a box blind, cousin Baily sat within an irrigation pivot, and Jeff carried a bucket and sat at the field's edge.

By the way, it was snowing sideways – so fiercely that none of the guys could see the others.

Jeff was loaded for deer, any deer, and his unscoped shotgun was loaded with slugs. In the rush to get there, he'd forgotten his binoculars.

Shortly after 5 p.m., Jeff heard his father shoot. A moment later, his cousin's gun barked from the middle of the field.

"I thought about getting my truck and helping each of them get their deer,"he said. "But there wasn't much daylight left, so I decided to just sit and wait.”

Good choice.

Not long afterward, he spotted a large-bodied deer crossing the field. It was at least 200 yards away, so Jeff had no idea if it was a buck or doe; just that it appeared to be a full-grown whitetail.

He shot it for a doe, since he couldn't see antlers. But when he went to retrieve it, he was shocked to discover it wasn't. Mother Nature had Photoshopped his doe, turning it into a monstrous buck.

The hunter from Dowagiac, Mich., doesn't feel so unlucky anymore.

Darren Warner is writing the story for Rack magazine.

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