Friday, May 25, 2018
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Why (and how) they get the big bucks

Sufficient dust has settled since the recent Ohio gun-deer season for all the big-buck tales to start surfacing.

Space does not permit listing all the trophies and their stories. But several area taxidermists say it was a good year for big bucks - and for the hunters who bagged them.

  • Ryan Lenke of rural Pemberville killed a huge buck in Wood County on Friday of deer week, using a 20-gauge shotgun. Oh, yes - Ryan is 13, an eighth-grader at Eastwood Middle School, and this was his second year deer hunting and his first deer.

    The young hunter was afield with his dad, Matt Lenke, when the big buck came his way. It field-dressed at 230 pounds, .

    “It's definitely a heck of a buck,” said Mark Lodzinski of Artistic Touch Taxidermy in Oregon. It is among the better bucks among 167 in his shop.

    The taxidermist said that the buck's antlers have a 19-inch inside spread and 14 points, but will qualify in scoring as a main-frame 10-point. “It's probably 150-class green, with major antler mass. It's an impressive deer - the kid did real well.”

  • Shannon Wood of rural Fremont bagged a grizzled old monarch of the woods while hunting in Sandusky County.

    “It's really a monster,” said Oregon taxidermist Earl Wolfe, who measured 271/2 inches of space inside of the antlers. He aged the old buck at seven years and said it had worn teeth and an array of battle scars.

    The antlers, moreover, have very long brow tines and drop-tines, and one antler-tip still was covered with about four inches of velvet. The drop-times are 111/2 inches and 6 inches.

    Most big bucks measure about eight inches from nose to eye, but Wood's measured 81/2 inches. Too, Wolfe said, a big neck on a buck is 24-25 inches, and Wood's buck measured 28 inches.

    Wood, 20, is a former junior Olympic pistol competitor at Oak Harbor Conservation Club. He said that the buck, which field-dressed at 216 pounds, apparently had been hit by a car at one time, considering internal injuries found on its left front shoulder and neck, and that it also was carrying half an arrow in its shoulder.

    The hunter said he took the buck on Tuesday of gun week on state hunting land in eastern Sandusky County with a sabot-loaded 12-gauge. The buck was bedded in a field of switchgrass.

    The taxidermist said that among 60 deer brought in to his shop from gun-week, about 18 others will have 20 to 22-inch antler spreads and could qualify for the Buckeye Big Bucks program.

  • Tom Gallagher, of Waterville, simply says, “I guess that it was my turn,” in describing his biggest buck ever among more than 30 deer taken in more than 20 years of hunting. His best is a long-tined nine-point, which dressed out at 160 pounds.

    He bagged it at Forked Run State Park, hard by the Ohio River in Meigs County. “We were run off our paper-company ground and I did some scouting and just went where there were not as many people.” Of 23 hunters camping there, 15 took deer, six of them bucks.

    Summed Gallagher: “It's not the kill but the great outdoors - it's the place to be.”

  • Very honorable mentions as well go to Tony Sopko of Temperance, Mich., for a huge 10-point, 24-inch inside spread buck, 252 pounds field-dressed, taken from a Fulton County cornfield the second day, and Ron Burk of Toledo for a dandy 16-point nontypical buck, 20-inch spread, 195 pounds field-dressed, from Jackson County on opening day with a muzzleloading rifle.


    Fishing report - Lake Erie yellow-perch fishing remains good at the Huron Pier, with fish running to good size, according to Jerry Modic at Huron Bait and Supply. The best areas on the pier are at the blockhouse about halfway out and at the outer end.

    A few walleye also are being taking off the pier after dark, but the action is below par, Modic said. He added that boat anglers are taking large walleye by trolling about two miles off the Huron River, including at night, using Reef Runners.

    Mike Stinson of Maumee fished with Gary Acierni of Huron, trolling Reef Runners just before dark on two recent evenings. They took walleye of 9, 7, and 5 pounds, using planer-boards at about 1.5 miles per hour, the lures set about 35 feet off the boards.

    Rick Ferguson, veteran Toledo angler and baitshop operator, said that Husky Jerk and Rattlin' Rogue crankbaits also are working on the walleye troll off Huron.


    The annual Christmas Bird Count at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge is set for Jan. 6, beginning at 8 a.m., meeting at the refuge headquarters, 14000 West State Rt. 2, Oak Harbor. Leader is Tom Bartlett, 419-447-0005.

    The count date was reported incorrectly in the Toledo Naturalists' Association current monthly newsletter and, in turn, in this space Sunday.

    In related news, the first Christmas Bird Count at Mary Jane Thurston State Park is set for Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. Meet at the park's day lodge.

    Mary Jane Thurston is on State Rt. 65 on the Maumee River just west of Grand Rapids. For other details call the park, 419-832-7662.


    Tomorrow-North Branch Boys Fly Fishing Club, at Toledo Sailing Club at Walbridge Park, social hour and dinner 6:30 p.m., program 7:30 p.m., Bob Miller on fishing for sailfish and roosterfish in Costa Rica; call Doug Enslen, 419-535-1265.

    Thursday-Public trapshoot, 6 to 9 p.m., Ottawa County Conservation League, Martin-Moline Road, Martin, call Rick Temple 419-666-1399.

    Thursday-Trap and skeet shooting, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monroe Rod and Gun Club, 6280 Lighthouse Rd, Monroe, Mich., call Jim Warren 734-243-9774.

    Thursday-Trapshoot, 6 p.m., Sandusky County Sportsmen's Club, State Rt. 600 east of Gibsonburg.

    Friday and Monday-Public trapshoots, 6:30 p.m., Wolf Creek Sportsmen's Association, 340 Teachout Rd. north of State Rt. 2, Curtice; call Frank Schaffer 419-691-2769.

    Friday-Naturalists' Camera Club of Toledo, 7:30 p.m., Secor Metropark Nature Discovery Center, Central Ave. entrance; call Adele Shelton 419-474-2911.

    Saturday-Volunteers to help restore oak savanna, 10 a.m. to noon, Oak Openings Preserve Metropark, call for reservations 419-535-3058 ext. 101; also, Saturday, walk leader training, 1 to 3:30 p.m., Secor Metropark Nature Discovery Center, winter walking.

    Saturday-Volunteers to collect and burn brush, Kitty Todd Preserve, 10420 Old State Line Rd., call The Nature Conservancy 419-867-1521.

    Saturday and Sunday-State Line Gun Show, Williams County Fairgrounds, Montpelier, off State Rt. 107, Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; call 419-737-2801.

    Steve Pollick is The Blade's outdoor writer. E-mail him at

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