Michigan deer hunting has changed.
It used to be if you showed up at a big buck event, you heard the inevitable story about how some guy fell asleep under a tree, woke up with a big buck standing in front of him, and wound up sealing the deal.
Not so much anymore. These days, the lion’s share of the trophies that show up at these events are taken by hunters who know darn well that that the big guy is out there.
That much was apparent at Big Buck Night at Outdoorama held recently in Novi. (And if you missed it, there’s another opportunity at the Ultimate Sports Show in Grand Rapids, March 21.) The vast majority of the hunters who came up on stage to talk with Jimmy Gretzinger and Jenny Olsen — the program was being taped for an upcoming episode of Michigan Out-of-Doors television show — said they had either seen the buck on the hoof or at least had trail camera photos of the creature and were hunting that buck specifically.
Here are some of their stories:
Mike Paull, a 45-year-old auto industry supervisor, saw the 160-inch, 12-point he killed in October in Genesee County on his trail camera. And though he never saw the buck on the hoof until he arrowed it, he found the buck’s sign. But rather than move his stand and disrupt the area, Paull said he made a mock scrape near his stand and brought the buck to him. Cool story, eh?
Brian Jankovic, a 33-year-old surveyor from Dexter, said he bumped the trophy buck that he wound up killing in Jackson County, two years earlier while scouting the area and had found his sheds last year. He took the 169 7/8-inch, 14-point on opening day of firearms season.