Area buck poles see mixed opening day
A cold, wet beginning to the firearms deer season in Roscommon County appeared to produce mixed results as hunters brought their bucks to area buck poles on opening day. The best turnout was at the Buck Pole of Fred's of Roscommon, where 23 bucks were hung Nov. 15.
Jordan Sarsfield, 30, of Roscommon led the way with a 144-lb. seven-point which he brought in at 8:22 a.m. Taking both heaviest deer (168 pounds) and largest rack (16.75-inch spread) was an eight-point bagged by Jerry O'Neil, 59, of Flint.
The first woman, who was also the oldest successful hunter of the day, was Nadine Hall, 78, of Waterford, who brought in a 103-lb. spike, and the youngest hunter to bring in a buck was Cortney Nelson, 17, of Roscommon, whose spike weighed in at 119 pounds.
Seven bucks were hung on the pole at Malcolm's Tackle Box in St. Helen, all of which made the tote board for the biggest racks of the combined deer seasons so far. Topping the pole was a 10-point with a rack measuring 128.5 inches brought in by Dennis Smith of Jackson.
Smith's buck edged that of James Firman of Bay City, whose 11-pointer scored 127.75. Third place went to Matt Rouse of Grand Blanc with a 109- inch eight point, followed by Chris Taute of Owosso, nine point, 108.25, Chris Lange of Goodrich, eight point, 93.5, Ronnie Noreyko of St. Helen, seven point, 76 and Larry Green Jr. of St. Helen, six point, 70.
Houghton Lake area buck poles stood empty a little longer Saturday than last year's opening day, but by mid-morning passersby could see a few deer on display.
"I think it's later this year because of the no bait [rule]," Marikate Holbrook, owner of Pop-a-Top Party Shop, said.
Dustin Bowman of Prudenville shot a 6-point buck and brought it to Pop-a-Top. His was the second to be hung Saturday morning, the first being one shot by Anthony Ciaramitaro of Roscommon.
Hunting on property owned by his boss, Bill Oliver, Bowman used a 6.5 by 55 Swedish rifle. He estimated the buck weighed 130 or 140 pounds. It was his third deer in about 10 years of hunting.
"It's gonna be dinner tonight," Bowman said.
Pop-a-Top's opening day winners were: First buck of the day, $100- Anthony Ciaramitaro, who came in from the woods at 10:30 a.m.; most points, $100- Kody Alton, 17, Lansing, who bagged an 8-point buck; and biggest buck, $50- Dustin Bowman, with his deer. The winners also received a hat and gift certificate to Wal-Mart.
Down M-55 at Lyman's on the Lake, the buck pole sported a 150-pound buck shot by Michelle Lewinski, 24, Algonac. She earned Lyman's "first female with a buck" prize, $130.
Lewinski, who was raised at Houghton Lake and has family in the area, said James DeLong taught her how to hunt. She used a .35 Remington to bag her 9-point, shooting it twice in the neck.
She had been hunting near Houghton Lake's North Shore, off of US 127, when she saw the buck at about 8:30 a.m. She got help dragging the deer to her truck from a buddy, Joe Daniels of Houghton Lake, and the two took it to Lyman's on the Lake. She planned to go back out in the woods later opening day, where her boyfriend, Chris Hotchkiss was still on the look-out for his trophy buck.
Lewinski said you can make venison into many meals, including jerkey, steaks or hamburger.
"Or you can can it," she said.
She said she plans to put the deer rack on a plaque for her wall.
Joining Lewinski's buck on Lyman's buck pole was a 130-pound, 9-point shot by 14-year-old Jacob Nephew of Bay City. The deer was Nephew's first buck on state land. The First Youth With a Buck prize could have been his, but he had not pre-registered at Lyman's.
Two other hunters stopped by Lyman's, one with a spikehorn and one with an eight-point, but they did not hang their deer.
Lyman Foster, owner of Lyman's on the Lake, said the award for the biggest buck through the end of the season, Nov. 30, is still up for grabs. Prize money in the non-winning categories- first buck, first youth with buck, oldest hunter and biggest buck on opening day- will carry over for next year.
At Booners Food Plot and Watering Hole, on M-18 in Prudenville, Sunday was the day to view the buck pole as the restaurant wrapped up its preseason bow and rifle contests, which several area businesses sponsored with cash and prizes.
Booners started the bow season buck pole Oct. 1 and ran it through Nov. 14. Prizes were awarded to all participants Nov. 16. Bow hunters won in the following categories: "First buck in" ($50 gift card from Spicer's Boat City) Ron Johnson; "most points," John McKay (ceiling fan donated by the buck pole sponsor, Home Depot); "heaviest," Walt Roy, tree stand purchased by Booners from Jay's Sporting Goods (bought with funds donated by sponsors); "widest rack" award, Stephen Ogg (scout camera bought by Booners from Dunham's, purchased with funds donated by sponsors); "luck of the hunter drawing," Stephen Ogg, (three-day hunt sponsored by Thunder River Outfitter, Gladwin.
Booners opened its rifle buck pole Nov. 15 and closed the contest Nov. 16, when prizes were awarded. The "first buck in" award went to Carrie F. Dove, who won free deer processing from a Houghton Lake processor. Ethan Bird brought in a 10-point buck and won the "most points" prize, a tree stand purchased by Booners from Jay's Sporting Goods (bought with funds donated by sponsors). The "heaviest" award went to Kurt Boals who won a muzzle loader, donated by Jay's Sporting Goods, Clare. The "widest rack" prize of a scout camera (purchased by Booners from Jay's Sporting Goods with funds donated by sponsors) went to Angie Ackley. The "luck of the hunter drawing" was won by Matt Boals. He will receive a three-day hunt, sponsored by Thunder River Outfitter, Gladwin.
Everyone who entered the buck pole contests had a free lunch on Sunday before prizes were awarded in each category. Each participant present received additional prizes, and some hunters won more than one prize.
There was also an entry by three generations of the Boals family. Dan Boals entered along with his son, Kurt Boals, and grandsons, Matt and Mason Boals, and three out of four of them received prizes.