DAVISON – A cold firearm deer hunting season opener on Saturday meant a lot of hunters still had kill tags left to fill by day’s end.
However, for 28-year-old Daniel Phillips of Grand Blanc, his hunt in Goodrich yielded the top prize at the annual buck pole. Phillips’ buck was one of just 14 hanging, with one still sitting on the scale after just making the 8 p.m. cut off for entry. Phillips said he bagged his 11-point that weighed in at 141 lbs. at 9 a.m., when the temperature was just barely at the freezing point. A stiff 20 mph wind also made the hunting tough for the hunters, but a whole lot of them came out to see who was successful and ringed the buck pole as Safari Club International Flint Regional Chapter vice president Dennis Gepfrey announced the winners, chair of sportsmen against hunger.
Michael Haney took the second-place prize on an 8-point and third place went to Alan Debuck, who also tagged an 8-point.
Gepfrey thanked the crowd for braving the cold temperatures and for their patience. He acknowledged new sponsor, Johnny B’s Taxidermy of Grand Blanc, who donated a $50 gift certificate and made sure that all the winners went home with a custom T-shirt emblazoned with his name on the back. A slew of other raffle prizes, hats, T-shirts, sweatshirts and hunting gear were handed out to end the night. SCI has helped sponsor the buck pole at Madden’s Lounge for the past eight years after being housed at Church and Sons prior to that, noted Gepfrey.
In past years, the first buck usually arrived by 8 a.m., but this time around Gepfrey and his crew of volunteers had several hours to kill because the first buck wasn’t brought in until 11:08 a.m.
“Everyone who got a deer got a sweatshirt courtesy of SCI and Madden’s,” said Gepfrey. “It had Buck Pole 2014 on the back. We also had lots of raffles including a 50/50, with other prizes. It wasn’t as elaborate as last year, but a full shoulder mount and two guns were the options for the top three winners to choose from.”
Gepfrey also wanted to remind all hunters and the public at large that if they have a deer, whether harvested or via car-deer crash, Sportsman Against Hunger is accepting all donations.
“I have my name on file with all the 911/ Central Dispatch in the local counties and at no cost, I will come pick up the deer,” Gepfrey said. “Hunters can donate all or portions of their kill to our program, too.”