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News September 18, 2012  RSS feed

Buckmasters yield heartwarming story at Friday night’s banquet

By Sherry Matney


Elden “Smitty” Smith with Dustin West and his trophy deer presented by Leon County Buckmasters American Deer Foundation. Sherry’s Shots Elden “Smitty” Smith with Dustin West and his trophy deer presented by Leon County Buckmasters American Deer Foundation. Sherry’s Shots Fourteen-year-old Dustin West was excited the second morning of Youth Weekend in 2010. He had been looking forward to this day of hunting on his family land in Freestone County for a very long time. That was the morning he shot his trophy deer, an eleven point deer so highly scored on Boone and Crockett it certainly merited being mounted.

Dustin sent the deer to the taxidermist and finally, over one year later, his treasure arrived at his Donie home. Before he had time to mount it on his wall, lightening struck the home creating a fire which destroyed everything in the house, including the deer mount.

Members of The Leon County Buckmasters American Deer Foundation heard this tragic story and contacted Joe McNutt at Staying Alive Taxidermy in Kosse, Texas. To determine if a replica could be produced the committee provided Mr. McNutt with the score sheet and photos of Dustin’s deer.

Joe and Kelly McNutt created a beautiful reproduction of the original mount and members of the committee surprised Dustin by presenting it to him at the 9th Annual Buckmasters Banquet. Neither Dustin nor his parents, Kevin and Kim West were aware of what was about to happen.

Leon County Buckmasters held its 9th annual banquet on Saturday, September 14th with approximately 325 outdoorsmen and women attending. The Leon County Chapter consists of Leon County and surrounding areas and can boast of raising the most money in the National Foundation for the past nine years.

This year’s Live Auction grossed $32,850. Proceeds from the auction will be used to fund college scholarships, help military and veterans families, train youth to deer hunt safely and dozens of other worthy causes. Each year the Leon County Chapter provides two $500 scholarships in seven area schools including the five Leon County schools plus Teague and Fairfield.

The Leon County BADF was established in September 2004; after the Brazos Valley Chapter sent the Leon County 4-H Shooting Sports Team money to buy much needed spotting scopes. Elden “Smitty” Smith is president of the Leon County Chapter.

Buckmasters American Deer Foundation, Leon County, Texas Chapter is part of the national foundation headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama. Half of the money raised is sent to the national headquarters and half stays in the Leon County area.


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