Traverse City Record-Eagle


March 7, 2014

Bob Gwizdz: When the outdoors is indoors

NOVI — Say this for sports shows: During a winter like this one, it’s nice to be able to do something outdoor-sports related where it’s actually warm.

I made my first foray of the season into the great indoors for the recent Big Buck Night at Outdoorama. It’s not only an opportunity to see some eye-popping trophy whitetails, but a chance to hear the stories behind them.

This year’s event did not disappoint with Michigan Out-of-Doors television show hosts Jimmy Gretzinger and Jenny Olsen getting better every year at getting those stories told. This year, they brought 14 acts to the stage (and I call them acts because sometimes there’s small army of folks, like a theatre troupe) to recall the glories of the 2013 deer season.

The entertainment started quickly with 7-year-old John Peterson who shot a 122-inch, 12-point nontypical whitetail with a crossbow. Hunting in a “secret location,” Peterson talked about passing on a spike buck an hour earlier. “My dad said he wanted me to shoot it, but I told him I wanted to shoot a bigger one,” young Peterson said. He wound up with a better buck than many of us will ever even see, let alone shoot.

Gail McLachlin — the only gal to bring a buck on stage — showed off a 134 7/8-inch, 10-point buck taken on Thanksgiving Day from PUBLIC LAND in Alcona County. When she raised her rifle, she said, her scope was fogged up and she had to wait for it to clear before she could shoot. “My heart was really pounding,” the 25-year veteran deer hunter said.

That sentiment was something of a common theme, too. Eighteen-year-old Chad Chinavare of Lincoln Park killed a 144-inch 12-point on the second day of firearms season with a shotgun in Hillsdale County. “I actually didn’t see how big he was until I walked up on him,” he said. “It’s a good thing — I probably would have missed him.”

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