Overall numbers down for 2018 buck pole event
Eighteen hunters display bucks during this year’s Orangecoat Round-up
The 60th annual Grayling buck pole event – conducted by the Camp Grayling Conservation Club at Skip’s Sport Shop on Thursday and Friday, the first two days of firearm deer hunting season for 2018 – featured 18 bucks.
Day one of this year’s Orangecoat Round-up competition – November 15 – featured nine bucks, three fewer than last year. Opening day of firearm deer hunting season offered cold temperatures.
“Hunters at dawn were greeted with five degree weather, a covering of snow, and clear skies. The Weather Channel was predicting a high of 38 degrees but it sure did not look probable early in the day. Hunters in the woods at dawn were certainly earning their opener bragging rights,” Camp Grayling Conservation Club volunteers said.
The first deer came in at 7:50 a.m. – exactly an hour sooner than last year, volunteers said.
“Last year heavy rains had a negative effect on hunters getting out of the woods,” volunteers said.
The first hunter this year, Ken Pilarski of Burton, arrived with a 115-pound buck. Pilarski got his buck just before 7 a.m. south of town.
Next to arrive at 10:50 a.m. was 13-year-old Raigen Bowers of Grayling. She won the buck pole’s youngest hunter and first female hunter prizes.
At 11:30 a.m., with the temperature rising to 25 degrees, two more hunters arrived with bucks. Nathan Rochette of Grayling brought a buck with a rack score of 102 1⁄4, followed by John Jackson, who said he graduated from Grayling High School in 1954. Jackson, of Davidson, ended up winning the oldest hunter prize category.
After Jackson was Nick Guymer of Harbor Springs with the heaviest buck of the day at 158 pounds. After Guymer was Bay City native Tim Deshano with a 123-pound buck with a rack scoring 113.
Next up was Matt Tuck of Grayling, who bagged a buck he had seen bow hunting earlier but never shot. Its rack scored 128 and weighed 141 pounds.
Ron Rakoczy of Grayling had the eighth buck of the day. His deer weighed 121 pounds and had a rack score of 48.
Minutes before the buck pole was closed for the day, Steve Yaris of Commerce Township arrived with a 120-pound buck that scored at 84 3⁄4.
“This year’s opener was much colder and hunting in bow season has been slow so you can figure that there are plenty of bucks out there yet,” said Missy Millikin of Skip’s Sport Shop.
The second day of firearm deer season, November 16, was a much warmer 30 degrees. Bucks arriving after 5 p.m. on the first day can be hung on day two, but not on the first rung, which is reserved for the first buck taken that day.
There were three deer from late on the 15th that were hung on Friday. They were from John Eickhoff of East Point, who brought in a 112 pound eight point, Mallory Hatfield of Grayling, who brought in a 132-pound eight point, and Marvin Forbes of Grayling with a 127-pound eight point.
The first buck to arrive that was taken on day two was brought in by Mark Jacobs of Grayling at 9:30 a.m. His 140-pound eight point buck was his first buck in 30 years. A buck brought in by Georgia Barber weighed 111 pounds and was a six point.
Next, Cody Collen arrived with a seven point weighing 131 pounds. A three point weighing 114 pounds was taken by 11-year-old Brayden Lindh, this year’s youngest hunter. William Fowler arrived with a 91-pound one sided antler.
Rich Kelly of Riverpark Campground arrived with the heaviest buck of the day, a 156-pound seven point.
Matt Tuck ended up winning the 2018 Orangecoat Round-up grand prize: a scoped rifle (Savage Axis XP 223 with a camo stock). The grand prize every year goes to the hunter whose deer has the best rack score over the course of the two-day Orangecoat Round-up competition.
The buck pole event also featured several cash prizes in a variety of categories on both days of the event. Prizes included first buck, heaviest buck, first female hunter, youngest hunter, oldest hunter, and largest rack.
In the end, 2018 resulted in lower numbers than last year with 18 total bucks.
Last year’s buck pole featured 24 deer (12 on day one, 12 on day two). The 2016 Orangecoat Round-up featured a two-day total of 21 deer. In 2015, there were 30 bucks for the event. In 2014, the buck pole had 35 deer. In 2013, the total was 31. There were 40 bucks in 2012, 31 in 2011, 26 in 2010, and 28 in 2009.
The Camp Grayling Conservation Club, which conducts the annual buck pole event at Skip’s Sport Shop, stops hanging deer at 5 p.m. and leaves them for display until 7 p.m., “giving everyone a chance to see all of the deer,” volunteers said. Volunteers weigh the deer and measure the racks to determine rack scores.
The Camp Grayling Conservation Club has sponsored and staffed the running of the buck pole for 25 years.
Buck Pole Results
Thursday, November 15
Order, Name, Hometown, Buck Weight, Rack Score
#1 Ken Pilarski, Burton, 115 pounds, 78 1/2
#2 Raigen Bowers, Grayling, 105 pounds, 70 1/2
#3 Nathan Rochette, Grayling, 135 pounds, 102 1/4
#4 John Jackson, Davidson, 123 pounds, 79 3/4
#5 Nick Guymer, Harbor Springs, 158 pounds, 50 1/2
#6 Tim Deshano, Bay City, 123 pounds, 113
#7 Matt Tuck, Grayling, 141 pounds, 128
#8 Ron Rakoczy, Grayling, 121 pounds, 48
#9 Steve Yaris, Commerce Township, 120 pounds, 84 3/4
Friday, November 16
Order, Name, Hometown, Buck Weight, Rack Score
#1 Mark Jacobs, Grayling, 140 pounds, 91
#2 John Eickhoff, East Point, 112 pounds, 99
#3 Mallory Hatfield, Grayling, 132 pounds, 88
#4 Marvin Forbes, Grayling, 127 pounds, 91
#5 Georgia Barber, Grayling, 111 pounds, 69
#6 Cody Collen, Grayling, 131 pounds, 71
#7 Brayden Lindh, Muskegon, 114 pounds, 48 1/4
#8 William Fowler, Grayling, 91 pounds, 13
#9 Rich Kelly, Grayling, 156 pounds, 91