Big-Buck Friday: Indiana Keihn Buck Scored 234”

IN keihn monsterNEW FEATURE: To keep us dreaming big at what this fall might hold, I’ll post a huge buck from the BIG DEER archives every Friday for the next few months:

Just before 8:00 a.m. on November 22, 2005, Jack Keihn looked up and saw a monster coming. The buck dropped off a food plot on top of a ridge, traveled down a logging road and dipped into a ravine, his nose to the ground in search of a hot doe. The rut was winding down, and the old boy was looking for one last fling.

The buck ambled close to Jack’s big, wooden “hut stand,” and he fired his 20-gauge shotgun. The slug hit high and the deer bounded off. Jack got down and started tracking. He found the buck and finished it off with a second slug. He walked up to the giant with the gnarled rack and about fell over when it sunk in what he had just shot.

By all accounts, Jack, pictured here with son, Jake, is a humble and likeable fellow who isn’t comfortable with the celebrity that came with shooting this monster. (Jack and Jake are obviously AC/DC fans–cool!) He considers himself a down to earth guy who went out and got crazy lucky one day. Jack was offered big money for the rack, but he says it’s not for sale.

The skinny on the Keihn buck: 23 points; 6×5 typical frame grosses 206 1/8”; subtract 11 3/8 ” of deductions and the rack nets 194 6/8”; add 39 4/8″ of non-typical growth for a total score of 234 2/8″. At the time, the titan ranked as the number 3 non-typical ever killed with a shotgun in Indiana.

Two lessons:

1) You might believe that deer will spook from a big, wooden stand like Jack’s hut, but not really. Deer get used to permanent structures the longer they sit and age and become part of the woods. Especially during the rut, a doe-crazed giant will walk right under a huge perch some days.

2. While most slug hunters want the firepower of a 12-gauge, a 20 will do the job fine. An old rule of thumb is that it takes 1,000 ft-lbs of energy to kill a deer. The 20 gauge has plenty. Today’s best modern deer loads (2¾” and 3”) produce muzzle velocities of around 1,800 fps and muzzle energies of 1,800-1,900 ft-lbs. And 20-gauge slug guns kick less.


Iowa: Double-Beam Buck Scored 219″

iowa paul hein 2011 1Let’s end the week with the story of a 200-inch buck from the Big Deer archives. In November 2011, high-school welding instructor and assistant football coach Paul Hein shot the awesome beast: 

Got to my ladder stand at 3:25 pm. Hunting 30 yards from an unpicked corn field and 70 to 100 yards from some bedding areas. Wind was from the NW 10-15 mph and temp was about 40 degrees.

I started rattling, grunting and bleating and repeated that every 20-30 minutes. About 4:50 I called again. The wind had calmed down by then. I heard movement a bit to my right and noticed a small buck heading in my direction from the NW. He looked very nervous and kept looking over his shoulder. I figured another deer was coming behind him so I stood up.

The big buck was right on his tail! I noticed right away he was a shooter with those double main beams. He came straight in looking for a fight, and he walked 20 yards in front of me. Made a double-lung shot; he ran 40 to 50 yards and I heard a loud crash in the timber.

Got down and found my blood-covered arrow. Blood trail made tracking easy. When I got to him I just sat down in front of his rack to calm down! Spent the next few minutes just admiring him. Had been hunting 5 days a week since the archery season started, and had not been seeing much at all.

Buck had 27 points and scored at 219 green. Thanks, Heiner


Alabama Hunter’s True Deer Obsession

alabama hert attack buckGot this email the other day with “Deer Obsession” in the subject line:

Mike: I watch your show religiously, and would like to share this story. I live in Alabama, and this past January, 27, I had a heart attack while at work. Spent 3 days in the hospital and was released to go home on the 29th. I wasn’t able to get into the woods for a few days in my ladder stand, but finally I couldn’t take it anymore.

On a warm, rainy morning I walked down to my pop-up blind and had a seat. At 10:30 this buck came by. Not a monster but I’m proud of him anyway. He will go on the wall. Just wanted to share this with you, and thanks for your time.–Allen P. from Alabama

Allen, great buck and he should go on the wall as testament to your passion for deer hunting. Glad that BIG DEER TV and I could be part of your inspiration in some way. God bless and continue to recuperate and get better so you’re ready to go for next season!—M.H.


Kentucky Big Buck: Troy Gentry’s Ft. Knox Giant, 186 6/8

KY gentry 1My favorite segment on BIG DEER TV is American Deer Hunter. No matter where I’m hunting, my producers and I try to find a local hunter in the area who has shot a magnificent  whitetail. During a break in the hunting, we head over to the hunter’s house to film him and hear the story. When the new season of BIG DEER starts this July, you’ll see and hear Troy Gentry talk about the day he killed this 186” 10-point in Bullitt County, Kentucky . FYI, when we show up with the cameras you never know how a hunter will react. As you will see on this show, Troy was a natural, smooth and comfortable on camera as he told his story (paraphrased here):

It was 2002, and I got drawn for a really good area on Fort Knox military installation. It was the first day of a two-day hunt, shotgun-only, and I was hunting with a Remington 1187 slug gun. I had been sitting in the tree all morning, daylight to about 11:20, and I had a pounding headache. I got down to go get some aspirin out of my truck.

As I still-hunted back to within about 80 yards of my stand, I saw a little doe between me and the stand. Behind her was this incredible buck. After the shot, I immediately radioed my dad and told him I’d just killed a Boone and Crockett. By the time he got over there I had told him four different stories…he’s 170, 180, 200 inches! I just couldn’t believe it when I walked up on that deer.

By the time we got the deer out to the truck, there was a colonel and a general from Fort Knox. The general was on his cell phone saying. “We got a new state record, we got a new state record…” Everybody was freaking out. On B&C scoring system he grosses 198 and nets 186 6/8. On the SCI scoring system he scores 202 6/8 and is the Kentucky state record under that system. He’s just an amazing animal…it was the best experience of my hunting career.—Troy Gentry

NOTE: Troy’s 10-point buck has 27” and 28” main beams, and 14” and 15” tines. It ranks as the #13 typical ever shot in Kentucky.

Two lessons to take away from Troy’s hunt:

—If there’s a military installation, state forest or area near you that holds an annual draw hunt, apply. These limited-entry hunts are usually short, 2 or 3 days, and there’s a good chance to shoot a buck…and if you’re really lucky a giant.

—It amazes me how many monster bucks are killed when hunters least expect it. If you have to get down from your stand one day for whatever reason, don’t sweat it. But don’t stop hunting. Keep your edge, move slow and hunt as you head back to your truck or back to your stand, just like Troy did. You never know when a big buck will show up, so be ready.

Illinois: Giant Shotgun Buck, 185 Inches!

IL Daniel 1

Hey Mike: I love checking out your site and reading about big bucks. You featured my brother, Daniel, and I couple of years back when we teamed up on a 176-inch 13-point buck during the Illinois shotgun season. I’ve got another story for you from the first Illinois gun season 2014 in Adams County.


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We had been watching this buck for 4 years. The first picture we ever got of him, we guessed him to be a 3.5-year-old 10-pointer. The next year he put on some inches and had long G-2s and G-3s but short G-4s. We had never actually seen this buck in the woods, and we hadn’t gotten any hard-horn pictures of him.

In 2013 the buck really blew up in size and added some stickers to his rack. We knew the deer was something special, but we were not very optimistic about seeing him while hunting, since we had never gotten any pictures of him in the fall. Again, all the trail-cam pictures we had of the buck were in velvet, and we figured this was just his summer range. IL daniel 3

But one day in late November that year, I rattled and grunted and he came in downwind of me. But he presented no shot, and we never saw him again. We finally did get a hard-horned picture of him that fall, and he was huge.  We guessed him to be in the 180s.

We searched long and hard last spring for his horns, and Daniel finally happened across one side of his rack.  He was super excited. It measured right at 85 inches, the biggest shed we’d ever found.  A friend of Daniel’s nicknamed the buck Batman because he said the points off the rack’s G-2 looked like Batman’s sleeve, lol.

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My dad, Daniel and I knew we had to hunt this deer hard and try something different. Daniel found the shed only a couple hundred yards away from where I saw the buck that one time in 2013, and where we always got summer pictures of him.  We were starting to figure out his range, but it was a hard place to hunt–a deep, long ditch with a few fingers that ran through some crop fields and cow pastures. We scouted and scouted. There was only one tree suitable for a stand and it wasn’t very good, but we put a stand in it anyway.

The summer of 2014 came and went with no pictures of Batman, and we were a little

discouraged. But we figured that if he was still around, he would still be in this area.  My brother bowhunted that stand in the lone tree a few times during the rut and saw a few deer, but nothing  special. He planned to hunt it again during the first gun season because the farmer on the land was going to move his cows around on opening day, and that might have the deer moving.

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Wouldn’t you know it, at 9:30 a.m. that morning Batman came out of a thick bedding area and chased a doe right by the tree stand! The buck was about 80 yards away when Daniel put a slug through the buck’s shoulders and dropped him instantly.

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Man, the phone calls were ringing that morning between me, my brother and dad. This is the biggest buck anyone in our family has ever killed. Daniel shot Batman a mere 100 yards from where he found his shed last spring, and very close to where he and I had doubled-teamed the 176-incher a few years back. It was so awesome and my dad and I couldn’t have been prouder of Daniel.

Batman’s rack has 13-inch G-2s and G-3s and grosses 185 inches. We figured he was 7.5 years old.  I hope you enjoyed another story from us.

–Thanks, Alex Ippensen