Michigan Monster Nears 200

Casual hunt gets serious as Jeff Toy bags possible state mark

Michigan Monster Nears 200
Jeff Toy holds the antlers of his buck that threatens the Michigan state record. (Courtesy Jeff Toy)

Jeff Toy considers himself not only an avid whitetail deer hunter, but a well-prepared one. When he hits the woods, it’s normally to a well-scouted area, and he typically carries all of the correct equipment.However, none of that was the case on the windy, snowy afternoon of Nov. 25.

But Toy killed the biggest deer of his life on the hunt, one that could be a Michigan state record as well.“Never would have thought it,” said Toy, 33, of Dowagiac, Mich. “I had put all my normal stuff down and went with no seriousness whatsoever in the hunt for myself, just take (his father and cousin) with me and just go have fun.”

Toy is a self-described “meat hunter.” To him, trophy racks have never been as important or fulfilling as a freezer full of meat.

“It’s never really been a big thing for me,” he said. “We eat 90 percent venison, ducks, geese and turkey. My family owns a butcher shop, so we’ve either been raising or harvesting our own meat all my life.”



Click the image to view the photo gallery.
Buck threatens the Michigan state record. (Courtesy Jeff Toy)



And on this particular hunt, Toy’s chief goals were putting others on deer, not killing one himself. His father, Ed Toy, had completed work early and had indicated a desire for a quick hunt. Jeff also picked up Bailey Adams, his 14-year-old cousin who had started hunting this year, early from school.

They headed to Cass County near Decatur in the southwest corner of Michigan, just east of the southern tip of Lake Michigan.

It was not Toy’s primary hunting spot, where he had scouted several large deer, only to see them taken by other hunters early in the season. But now, 10 days into the season, he was taking his hunting party to some private land where he had permission to hunt, an area he was confident they would see deer.“It’s a little piece of property that I rarely hunt,” Toy said. “I take all of the kids to it for their first deer. It’s never been a producer of any big animals. But it’s always a good doe spot or a consistent place to go a few times in the season.”

Toy dropped his father and cousin off at spots he figured they would have good opportunities and drove back across the farm where he could watch them. He had not planned to hunt himself, but he opted to prepare himself in case a doe walked nearby or if one of the others missed a deer and he had to do some clean-up shooting.


So he grabbed a bucket to use as a seat and his tactical-style Benelli 12-gauge shotgun.

“Smooth bore, nothing on it,” Toy said. “I didn’t have a range finder or anything. I had a Gatorade and that gun with me, that’s it.”

With 25-mph winds and heavy snow blowing in his face, Toy watched with excitement as his father and cousin shot a couple does across the field. He stood to return to his truck and pick up his companions. Then he sat back down, deciding to wait a little while longer until dark.


A few moments later, a large deer stepped into the field. Through the snow, Toy could not tell if it was a buck or doe, but he had tags for both.“I was facing the south and the wind was blowing out the south to the north, blowing real hard. Snowing and stuff in your face, watering eyes,” he said. “I knew that it was a mature deer, but I had no idea it was a buck. I just said, ‘Well, I’ve got nothing to lose. I’m going to take a shot,’ when I figured it was close as it was going to be.

“When I shot, I saw it do the mule-kick kind of thing when you shoot an animal. It turned around, headed back south and just tumped over. I was surprised I made the shot.”

Toy figured the shot to be 100-150 yards. When he began his search, he immediately found blood and followed the deer’s tracks for about 40 yards. He was not prepared for what he found – a massive 12-pointer.

“I went looking and basically stumbled over that buck,” he said. “I was shocked at what it was.”At the family butcher shop, Toy discovered the full magnitude of his kill. Pre-dressed, the buck weighed 235 pounds. Later, he had the massive, long-tined antlers green-scored – once in the 195 range and again at 200.

The Michigan state record is 198-0 for a deer shot by Troy Stephens in 1996, and there are only four deer over 190 in the state record book.

After the mandatory 60-day drying period, the rack will receive an official panel judging later this month.

“I’ve been hunting since I was a little kid, and I’ve got a handful of your common 8-pointers that I’ve got on the wall,” Toy said. “I’ve never shot anything to really brag about – just stuff that I was happy with. Definitely nothing like this one.”

Go to Deer Camp

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Berkley

Berkley's Surge Shad

Major League Fishing pro Scott Suggs has relied on the Berkley Surge Shad lure concept for years, using similar designs to capture MLF titles and a $1 million dollar FLW Forrest Cup win. With new features in the Surge Shad, Suggs tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead that even he can find success out on the water!

Lure Lock Tackle Cases: No-Spill, No-Scent

Lure Lock Tackle Cases: No-Spill, No-Scent

Glenn Walker talks us through the soy-based technology that makes Lure Lock cases spill-proof and scent-proof. With Game & Fish Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2019 in Orlando.

Mustad

Mustad's New Tungsten Weights

Long known as one of the world's premiere hook makers, Mustad's Reid McKinstry shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead that the company is now one of the leaders in making tungsten terminal tackle products for anglers.

Simms

Simms' Solarflex Ultra Cool Armor Hoody

John Frazier of Simms Fishing Products helps OSG's Lynn Burkhead understand the new features of the new Simms' Solarflex Ultra Cool Armor sun protection hoody.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Here are the 10 most common spinning and baitcaster reel performance problems and how to fix them. Fishing How-To

10 Most Common Reel Performance Problems

Anietra Hamper

Here are the 10 most common spinning and baitcaster reel performance problems and how to fix...

Unless you live in Antarctica, the only continent they aren't known to inhabit, there is a species Catfish

10 Biggest Catfish World Records of All Time

Jack Vitek - December 08, 2014

Unless you live in Antarctica, the only continent they aren't known to inhabit, there is a...

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? There's more to successful long-range Ammo

10 Best Long-Range Cartridges Ever Made

David Hart - January 14, 2015

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? There's more to successful long-range

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish. Records

Upon Further Review: 70-Year-Old Catfish Record Voided

Game & Fish Digital Staff - May 22, 2019

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish.

See More Trending Articles

More Whitetail

Become a better poor-weather deer hunter. Whitetail

Make Bad Weather a Deer-Hunting Bonus

Terry Madewell - November 27, 2019

Become a better poor-weather deer hunter.

For deer hunters, what you do just after the shot is as important as any part of the hunt. Whitetail

Field Skills: Closing the Deer Deal

Mark Chesnut

For deer hunters, what you do just after the shot is as important as any part of the hunt.

2018 Arkansas typical whitetail came from waterfowl land and scored 200+ points. Records

Decade's Best: William Lloyd's Record Whitetail

Lynn Burkhead

2018 Arkansas typical whitetail came from waterfowl land and scored 200+ points.

Winter is here. Focus on these frozen food sources to improve your chances of scoring a giant buck. Whitetail

Focus on Frozen Food for Winter Deer

Bob Robb - December 27, 2019

Winter is here. Focus on these frozen food sources to improve your chances of scoring a giant...

See More Whitetail

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now