Jeff Toy with Buck

By Richard P. Smith


Jeff Toy from Decatur, Michigan, proved that tactical shotguns like his Benelli M4 are not just for home defense. On a whim, he took the smoothbore 12 gauge—his home defense rig—deer hunting with him one day last fall when he was concentrating on helping his father, Ed Toy, and cousin, 14-year-old Bailey Adams, fill their tags. Jeff had shot some rifled slugs with the Benelli on the range and knew it was accurate, but he wasn’t really planning on shooting anything himself that evening anyway.

There was obviously nothing wrong with Jeff’s casual approach to deer hunting that day because it put him in position to shoot his biggest buck ever and the largest-antlered whitetail known taken in Michigan during the fall of 2013. To top things off, Toy didn’t know the deer he was shooting was a buck when he pulled the trigger, and he dropped the deer at 190 yards with a 2¾-inch Winchester rifled slug. After Ed and Bailey were placed in enclosed blinds, protecting them from the elements, Jeff drove his pickup truck to the opposite end of the property and sat on a 5-gallon bucket in a hedgerow on the edge of a cut cornfield with his tactical shotgun to await darkness, content his relatives were enjoying themselves. It was snowing and cold that afternoon, with temperatures in the mid-20s and a strong south wind that Jeff was facing into. “I had my collar zipped up to my nose and my hat pulled down. My eyes were watering from the wind.”

When it was starting to get dark around 5:15pm, Jeff saw a deer in the cut cornfield. “I saw a deer wandering through the field at a slow pace,” he said. “With the snow and wind in my face, it was hard to tell what sex it was, but it didn’t matter. I had tags for both a buck and doe in my pocket. I knew it was a nice mature animal.

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“When the deer was as close as I thought it was going to be, I took a shot. I saw it do a mule kick, run a short distance and drop. To be honest, I thought I shot a run-of-the-mill doe.”
Jeff was in for a major surprise when he got to the fallen deer. It was a monster 12-pointer that weighed 235 pounds on the hoof. The slug hit the buck at the base of the neck. When Toy took the shot he thought it was about 150 yards, but he returned to the location the following day with a rangefinder to double-check the yardage, which proved to be 190.


“At that distance, the buck’s whole body filled the circle [ghost ring rear sight] on my shotgun,” Jeff said. “I do a lot of shooting, so I aimed as best as I could for his chest.”
The huge antlers from Toy’s buck qualify for Boone & Crockett Records as either a typical or nontypical. As a nontypical, the gross score is 204 7/8 and the net score is 195 7/8. As a typical, the gross total is 193 2/8 and the net is 172 3/8. Jeff decided to enter the buck in the records as a typical. Jeff recognizes how lucky he was to bag such a buck with his tactical shotgun at the distance involved. That makes him even happier about the accomplishment.

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