Buck pole event features highest opening day total since 2014
Hunters display a total of 30 deer – the most since 2015 – during annual Orangecoat Round-up at Skip’s Sport Shop
A strong start to this year’s buck pole event – a contest conducted by the Camp Grayling Conservation Club at Skip’s Sport Shop during the first two days of firearm deer hunting season, November 15 and 16 – led the annual Orangecoat Round-up to its highest number of bucks since 2015.
“Day one of firearm deer season started strong. Very strong. There was much talk of fewer deer being taken this year than in the past. Grayling evidently did not buy into those predictions,” Camp Grayling Conservation Club volunteers said.
This year’s buck pole featured 21 deer on Friday, November 15 – the highest day one total for the event since 2014 when the Orangecoat Round-up had 22 bucks.
“The hunters at dawn the first day were greeted with 32 degree weather, a covering of snow, and overcast skies. Hunters in the woods at dawn were certainly earning their opener bragging rights. The first deer came in at 7:30 a.m., 20 minutes sooner than last year. Last year, very brisk temperatures had a negative effect on hunters staying out in the woods. Not so this year,” Camp Grayling Conservation Club volunteers said.
The first hunter, Courtney Hatfield of Grayling, arrived with a 124-pound 10-point buck scoring out at 138 inches of antler. Next to arrive at 9:35 a.m. was John Wakeley of Grayling with a 130-pound 8-point buck. At 10:10 a.m., with the temperature holding at 32 degrees, Doug Latusek of Grayling arrived with a 135-pound 8-point buck scoring out at 102 inches of antlers.
“After Doug’s arrival deer started to arrive one after the other with the buck pole crew unable to keep up. One truck arrived with three bucks in the back and one truck left with two bucks not being hung,” Camp Grayling Conservation Club volunteers said.
Andrew Martin of Grand Blanc arrived with a 148-pound 9-point buck scoring out at 96 inches of antler. Next was Terri Osmun of Novi, MI. He had a 4-point 119-pound buck.
Jason Hatfield of Grayling brought in the heaviest buck so far at 174 pounds and 156 inches of antler with 9 points.
Tom Volkema of Holland, MI was next with a 10-point 117-pound buck and 122 inches of antler. Dave Morin arrived with an 8-point 111-pound buck with 81 inches of antler. Morin is from Petersburg, MI.
The “three buck truck” was next with Rick Hilton of Hastings, MI with a 112-pound 3 point. In the same group was Wayne Meade of Hastings with a 150-pound 10-point and Lester Woodbury of Vermontville, MI with a 5-point weighing 120 pounds. They said the “deer were all over” where they were hunting.
Chris Dahms of Three Rivers, MI was next with a 154-pound 3-point with 140 inches of antler. Jeremy Kukla of Kawkawlin, MI was next with a 120-pound 7-point. He was followed by Jason Buchinger of Vanderbilt, MI with a 132-pound 6-point.
Buchinger’s buck was number 14 for the day. There were more to come.
“The arrival of deer slowed down but certainly did not stop,” Camp Grayling Conservation Club volunteers said.
Riley Pippin of Frederic arrived with a 129-pound 6-point followed by Trenton Gabriel of Grayling with a 139-pound 7-point. Steve Belcher of Grayling brought in deer number 17, which was a 132-pound 9-point with 139 inches of antler. Buck number 18 was brought in by Matt Mahaney of Grayling. It weighed 101 pounds and had a broken rack.
Buck 19 was brought in by Ed Baynham of Grayling; it weighed 157 pounds with 8 points measuring out 121 inches of antler.
At 4:30 p.m. – just 30 minutes before the contest was suspended for the day – Curt Hass from Kalamazoo, MI rolled in with a 137-pound 8-point with 106 inches of antler. The last buck brought in by Steve Yaris of Commerce, MI weighed 117 pounds and had 7 points, 72 inches of antler.
“This year’s opener had much better temperatures than last year and I think hunters were able to stay in the woods longer,” said Missy Millikin of Skip’s Sport Shop.
“We had lots of traffic all day and the attitude of the hunters was great. Many return each year and it’s great to renew our relationship and see them again,” said Luanne Shirkey of the Camp Grayling Conservation Club.
Temperatures were significantly lower on Saturday for day two of the contest.
“The second day started with temperatures right around zero. Several bucks came in early that were taken the day before,” Camp Grayling Conservation Club volunteers said.
Randy Allison of Grayling brought a 100-pound spike, and Zeke Millikin of Grayling had a 6-point weighing 116 pounds.
At 10:50 a.m. – as the weather started to warm up – Doug Latuszek arrived with the first buck taken that day.
“Doug hung a buck on day one and now this was buck two in two days so we can call him ‘Two Buck Doug’ for a while,” Camp Grayling Conservation Club volunteers said.
Latuszek’s second deer weighed in at 115 pounds; it was a 4-point and measured 67 3/4 inches of antler.
A.J. Dixon of Hartford, MI had an 8-point that weighed 138 pounds and had an antler measurement of 116 1/4.
“This would be the first of several big racks,” Camp Grayling Conservation Club volunteers said.
Cameron McClain of Grayling arrived with a 165-pound 9-point with an antler measurement of 115 1/8 followed by Mark Cook of Grayling with a 131-pound 8-point with 140 1/4 inches of antler. Next up was Dustin Partello of Frederic with a 149-pound 8-point with 119 1/2 inches of antler. Craig Searight of Frederic had an 8-point buck shot in Frederic weighing 154 pounds with 119 inches of antler. The last buck – brought in by Trevor Theaker of Kentwood, MI – was a 6-point weighing 114 pounds.
Nine bucks on day two brought the total to 30, one of the higher numbers in the last 10 years. The buck pole had 40 deer in 2012, 35 in 2014, 31 in 2011 and 2013, 30 in 2015, 26 in 2010, 24 in 2017, 21 in 2016, and 18 last year.
“The Camp Grayling Conservation Club stops hanging deer at 5 p.m. and they are taken down at 7 p.m., giving everyone a chance to see all of the deer,” volunteers said. “For 26 years the Camp Grayling Conservation Club has sponsored and staffed the running of the buck pole. Hunters are awarded prizes in various categories such as first buck for the day or youngest hunter. The deer are not only weighed but the antlers are measured and a scoring system takes into consideration total spread, number of points, and length of points assigns a score used to determine the best buck of the two days. The overall winner for the two days receives a new $500 scoped rifle. It is possible to win a prize in more than one category.”
Jason Hatfield’s buck from day one had the largest rack score this year (156 1/2) over the course of the two-day event.
BUCK POLE 2019
Friday, November 15
Name, Hometown, Weight, Rack Score
#1 Courtney Hatfield, Grayling, 124, 138 1/8
#2 John Wakeley, Grayling, 130, 93 1/4
#3 Doug Latuszek, Grayling, 135, 102 1/2
#4 Andrew Martin, Grand Blanc, 148, 96 3/4
#5 Terri Osman, Novi, 119, 56 1/2
#6 Jason Hatfield, Grayling, 174, 156 1/2
#7 Tom Volkema, Holland, 117, 122 3/4
#8 Dave Morin, Petersburg, 111, 81 1/4
#9 Rick Hilton, Hastings, 112, 51
#10 Wayne Mead, Hastings, 150, 127
#11 Lester Woodbury, Vermontville, 120, 67 1/4
#12 Chris Dahms, Three Rivers, 154, 140 3/8
#13 Jeremy Kukla, Kawkawlin, 120, 88
#14 Jason Buchinger, Vanderbilt, 132, 84
#15 Riley Pippin, Frederic, 129, 88 1/2
#16 Trenton Gabriel, Grayling, 139, 80 3/4
#17 Steve Belcher, Grayling, 132, 139 1/2
#18 Matt Mahaney, Grayling, 101, 6
#19 Ed Baynham, Grayling, 157, 121
#20 Curt Hass, Kalamazoo, 137, 106 3/4
#21 Steve Yaris, Commerce, 117, 72
Courtney Hatfield - First Buck, First Female
Jason Hatfield - Heaviest Buck, Biggest Rack
Lester Woodbury - Oldest Hunter
Trenton Gabriel - Youngest Hunter
Saturday, November 16
Name, Hometown, Weight, Rack Score
#1 Doug Latuszek, Grayling, 115, 67 3/4
#2 Randy Allison, Grayling, 100, 38 3/4
#3 Zeke Millikin, Roscommon, 116, 95 5/8
#4 A.J. Dixon, Hartford, 138, 116 1/4
#5 Cameron McClain, Grayling, 165, 115 1/8
#6 Mark Cook, Grayling, 131, 140 1/4
#7 Dustin Partello, Frederic, 149, 119 1/2
#8 Craig Searight, Frederic, 154, 119
#9 Trevor Theaker, Kentwood, 114, 51 1/4
Doug Latuszek - First Buck
Cameron McClain - Heaviest Buck
Mark Cook - Biggest Rack
Craig Searight - Oldest Hunter
Trevor Theaker - Youngest Hunter