May 02, 2022
By Hunter Schmittou
At the age of 34, Kentucky native Jeremy Huffman has a long history of shooting mature whitetails and has the trophy room to prove it.
When Jeremy is not selling cars, he spends his time pursuing big game all across North America. In the fall of 2016, Jeremy became a team member of Southern Hog Slayers, The Rootin’ Life. If you keep up with their television show, you have seen Jeremy harvest several big deer over the past few years — and in multiple states.
Last season was no different, but unlike most years, he did not have to travel far from home to bag his biggest buck yet.
Locating a Giant
In the summer of 2017, Jeremy began to receive trail camera pictures of a nice buck on his parents’ 12-acre farm over a pile of corn that he had placed roughly 200 yards behind his parents’ house. “I knew the deer was on the edge of being mature and looked to be a 3 1/2-year-old, but this deer showed a bunch of potential,” Jeremy says. The buck carried a large main frame with 10 points, “We guessed him to be around 145 inches,” says Jeremy.
But with more mature bucks on other farms, Jeremy switched farms hoping to harvest one of the other deer he had on camera. With the 2017-2018 season coming to an end, and Jeremy being able to put his Kentucky tag on a nice buck, he was already looking forward to what the 2018-2019 season had in store. He hoped to cross paths with the large-framed typical that he had spent most of the season thinking about.
Seasons of Dissappointment
As soon as the deer started to grow antlers again, Jeremy started running cameras behind his parents’ house, trying to find that one buck from 2017.
Jeremy started using the mineral attractant Cherry Bomb made by Redmond Hunt. Shortly after putting it out, Jeremy started getting pictures of the buck again and noticed that he had grown into an even bigger typical sporting an 11-point frame. It was then that Jeremy named the deer “Moose.”
“Moose loved the Cherry Bomb attractant. It was humorous getting photos of Moose and him having Cherry Bomb all over his face. It was almost like he was addicted to it,” says Jeremy. Sticking to his routine, Jeremy would check his cameras a few times a week and make sure that there was always Cherry Bomb in front of his stand. With season approaching, Jeremy continued to get frequent pictures of Moose, and by this point, Jeremy had made it his goal to harvest this deer.
Like most mature deer, Moose was staying nocturnal and not moving during the daylight, but that did not keep Jeremy from trying his best to harvest him. After hunting all season and having only one encounter with Moose (which was after dark), Jeremy was unsuccessful in harvesting the buck. Knowing the deer made it through the season, he was excited to see what the next season would bring.
Jeremy began putting cameras out at his parents’ farm to try and get a picture of Moose. Like clockwork, Moose was showing off what he had grown during the summer of 2019, and he now sported a 13-point frame. Jeremy began to prepare his stand in the same tree that he had hunted Moose out of the previous two years. Although he was not getting pictures as often as he was the previous years, Moose did not go unseen. Jeremy’s wife had seen Moose on multiple occasions after dark while on her way home from work. Moose was coming out of a large patch of timber and crossing the road into a thicket.
“I would have been disappointed to find him hit by a car after all that hard work,” says Jeremy. With the 2019 season also ending in disappointment, Jeremy knew it was going to take him changing his hunting style to harvest this elusive deer.
A couple weeks after season ended, Jeremy was a few miles down the road on a 95-acre property that he purchased in the spring of 2019 to grow industrial hemp on. Jeremy was checking trail cameras that he had left out a little later than normal.
While scrolling through his pictures, he could not believe his eyes, “There he was,” Jeremy said. Moose had moved several miles down the road and crossed numerous properties, including a piece of public ground. He was now living on the farm they refer to as the “hemp farm.” This was a bit concerning to Jeremy, because he had been letting several of his friends hunt the hemp farm since he focused on his parents’ place, not knowing his buck had moved. Luckily for Jeremy, season was over, and Moose had made it through.
In the summer of 2020, Jeremy decided that he was going to purchase some cellular trail cameras to put down at the hemp farm. After trying multiple brands, Jeremy found that the Tactacam Reveal was the only one that would get signal. After purchasing several more, Jeremy was eager to get them out and start getting pictures of Moose.
The cell cameras proved to be a game changer since Jeremy didn’t have to drive into his stand locations to check the cameras. “With the cameras out and the combination of the 20-acre hemp food plot and the Cherry Bomb, it did not take long for Moose to start showing up again,” says Jeremy.
Sporting a 13-point typical frame like he had in 2019, but with a lot more mass, Moose was adding on inches of antler quickly. Unlike years prior, Moose had completely switched farms and was no longer showing up at Jeremy’s parents’ farm. “I thought it was weird that the year I started planting the hemp fields in 2019, Moose moved that far. And then that year after we planted, he had stayed at the hemp farm,” says Jeremy.
With season getting closer and Moose being known to travel long distances, Jeremy knew he needed to get on him fast.
Ending the Journey
With opening day finally here, and after getting the first daylight photo of Moose the day before, Jeremy climbed into his stand in hopes of putting a four-year quest to an end. With a few minutes of daylight left, Jeremy watched as Moose made his way across the neighboring hay field and into a thicket where he hung up at 70 yards and stayed until after dark.
This same game of cat and mouse continued for the next three sits, all having the same exact scenario play out. Full of mixed emotions, Jeremy decided he was going to use some fresh deer urine from Denver’s Deer Scents, hoping that it would keep Moose from hanging up in the thicket like he did the past three sits.
On the evening of September 24, 2020, Jeremy climbed into his hang-on stand and sprayed the Denver’s deer urine down the side of the tree he was sitting in. The wind was perfect, and the evening was turning out to be calm. With multiple deer filtering into the hemp fields, Jeremy could not help but wonder if Moose was going to return once more.
Like clockwork, Moose made his way across the hayfield and into the thicket, but this time he did not hang up. He came right to the bottom of the tree, and Jeremy, armed with a Ravin crossbow, took the shot with the buck quartering toward him.
“Moose dropped in his tracks. Those new Fire in the Hole broadheads I was using did a number on him. I had full faith in my equipment at that distance, and I knew that even though Moose was quartering toward me, that combination of the Ravin and those broadheads would put him down,” says Jeremy.
Finally looking down at the legend of a buck lying dead at 25 yards, Jeremy knew that the four-year quest for the deer named Moose was over.
Knowing the class of deer that Moose was, Jeremy contacted his local game warden and asked if they could assist in the recovery. The DNR was happy to help and dispatched someone to his location. With the help of the game warden, Jeremy loaded up his world-class whitetail and headed to the house to show his family what had taken over his mind for the past four years.
When asked if there was any deer he was hoping to go after in the upcoming season, Jeremy said, “Yeah, I have a few mature deer in the 140s I’d like to go after.” This proves that his passion for hunting whitetails goes beyond harvesting the next state record buck.
After getting the deer officially scored by Boone & Crockett (B&C), the buck gross-scored at 200 3/8 inches typical, with an inside spread of 22 4/8. Although the buck hasn’t officially been panel scored by B&C, it is projected to be the new Kentucky state record typical by crossbow.
A neighbor of Jeremy’s had one of Moose’s sheds from the 2019 season. The right shed scored 86 6/8 inches. This is just a difference of 2 4/8 inches from 2019 to 2020. This is a class of deer that is not often seen, but after getting to know Jeremy and his passion for hunting trophy whitetails, I have full confidence that he will once again meet this goal.