I was recently at the 2022 Indianapolis Boat, Sport, and Travel Show measuring deer for Indiana’s Hoosier Record Buck Program. I noticed a large pair of shed antlers that were tied together with a piece of blue rope on the entry table and my brain instantly thought it recognized the sheds. I’m not sure what it is, but when I see a rack or set of antlers that I’ve seen before, my brain seems to instantly recognize them. I don’t know if there is a term for this, but I’m guessing many of you experience this also.
At any rate I found out the gentleman who had the sheds (later verified that he was the owner of them) was Brandon Danforth. Brandon told me “These are the Huff Buck sheds….,” which I already knew (without actually knowing). The Dustin Huff Buck, which was killed with crossbow last November, scored 211 4/8 and is likely the biggest typical whitetail ever shot in the U.S.
After picking up my jaw from the showroom floor I struck up a conversation with Brandon. Since this is Part 1 of this Big Deer feature, I’m going to keep it as simple and short as possible, with the idea that more precise, up-to-date information will come at another time.
Brandon and a friend were out double-checking trail cameras on one of the properties he hunts in Decatur County, Indiana last March (2021). Just before they were set to leave the property Danforth thought he saw an antler tine sticking up above the woods’ floor. Although he’s not a serious shed hunter, he certainly didn’t miss this portion of tine sticking up, but who would’ve? As you can see from the images the G-2 to G-4 tines are all exceptionally long. The antlers speak for themselves. They are in immaculate condition and were, per Danforth, found a mere 8.6 miles away from where the buck was eventually killed on Nov. 4, 2021.
While we’ll wait for official measurements of the sheds, suffice it to say that if the rack had carried a reasonable inside spread of around 20″ the buck would’ve netted in the mid-190s typical in the fall of 2020. Just take a look at those antlers!!
As a bit of a spoiler, I will say that Brandon Danforth did see the Huff Buck last October 1st for the last time in his area. On that day the Huff Buck was still travelling with one of his summer buddies, a 140-class 10-pointer. Also, as another quick spoiler: As of Saturday, Feb. 26 Brandon hadn’t checked any of his trail cameras that had been left out for the entire Fall 2021 season!! Stay tuned for more!—Dean Weimer