By: Randy Raymond
Our first hunter was John McLaughlin, a four and a half year veteran from the Marine Corps. This hunt took place at A.J. Wildlife owned by Dr. Alan Bugai. Once again Dr. Bugaigave us a great price on an awesome buck. Helping out on this hunt was Blaine Bailer, a manager at Jay's Sporting Goods in Clare and Mark Newcomb from MM Meats located near Loomis.
John was hunting with a cross bow making the hunt a lot more interesting. John used Dr. Bugai's crossbow making it even more of a challenge because he had never shot this bow before. After a few lessons with the crossbow, John was ready. When the time was right this buck gave John a standing forty yard shot. With one well placed arrow the hunt was almost over. Everyone knows that's when the work begins. Drag the deer to a good spot for field dressing, drag the deer to a vehicle and load it. This is where Blain Bailer and Mark Newcomb helped out.
John was very grateful for this hunt. He also donated the meat from his buck to our SCI Sportsman Against Hunger, Mike Strope from our Humanitarian Services handles this. Mike went to MM Meats and picked up the meat from John's buck and donated the processed meat to different services in our local area.
Our next hunter was Kevin T. McDevitt, hunting at Smokey Tree Preserve, owned by Carrie and Frank Haywood. Another great buck for our veteran at a great price.
This hunt started on a cool fall day, setting in a blind by a clearing with a pond nearby. There was lots to watch while waiting on a deer to show itself. Ducks and geese were flying in and out making the time go by even faster. Soon a deer appeared out of nowhere, it seemed. He was just behind the blind and then another buck appeared. They just stood frozen forever not wanting to move. Kevin handled this very well waiting for a perfect shot and finally the biggest buck moved forward and Kevin made the shot. This was an awesome buck! This deer had a double main beam on one side of his rack.
Neal Saylor was along on this hunt. He was one of last year's veteran hunters wanting to help anyway he could.
Kendall DeVuyst, the new owner of The Trophy Room Taxidermy located in Jay's Sporting Goods in Clare gave Kevin a special Veterans discount on mounting his buck.
The next hunt was with Mike Brown and Larry Finkeeiner. These guys grew up together and served in the Army and went to Vietnam together. Mike Brown was the first to hunt. Leon Low donated this hunt for a 130 to 150 inch buck. Low's Trophy Whitetail Ranch is located near Falmount. He has a large hunting area with full service.
Mike wanted to upgrade his hunt to a larger buck after seeing a big non-typical. Leon gave him a great discount for this larger deer. Mike's hunt was a two day hunt.
Larry Finkeeiner was hunting next after Mike's hunt. Larry wanted to shoot a larger buck but I only had $1,800 left in my budget. Larry's hunt lasted four days. Leon, Mike, Larry, and myself were in a blind together for all this time. There were lots of stories and lots of deer being seen. Larry wanted to shoot different ones. The bucks were either running chasing does in the thick cover or at a bad angle. Finally on the fourth day, Larry connected on a large buck. Leon Low let him shoot a much larger deer than our budget allowed. A special thank you to Leon Low.