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.