del austin

We’re editing a TV show on hunting in Nebraska, and I ran across this amazing buck and story in my research:

As the story goes, a bowhunter by name of Al Dawson was out in the woods near the Platte River one day in 1958 when he spotted the biggest buck he’d ever seen. Al recalled to a magazine: “…heavy, scraggly points, long and short, growing from the main beams in all directions… two long prongs curving out and down on either side of his head, between eye and ear…extended below his jaws, giving him an odd, lop-eared appearance.”

Al hunted the giant hard for the next 4 years. He saw him a few more times, and other hunters in the area did too. The monster had become a legend and a lot of guys were after him.

One day in 1962, Al invited his friend, Del Austin, to join him on a bowhunt. Del had been on stand for all of 45 minutes when he heard a deer approaching. He looked up– it was the giant! The buck kept coming, and Del shot him with his recurve at 15 yards.

Al Dawson, a little sad I suspect but happy for his friend, helped Del track and find the buck. As a typical 5×5 the buck grossed 191 points and netted 184. Add on the 90-plus inches of abnormal points and you get final score of 277 3/8.

The Austin Buck stood tall as the archery world-record non-typical for 40 years. It is still #21 all-time in the Boone and Crockett records.

The image above is the only field photo I have ever seen of Del and his buck. It might be the only picture that exists of the man and his monster from that memorable day of hunting 52 years ago.