Hunter Oliver, 13, of Tawas City, shot this nice 9-point buck that dressed out at 176 pounds and the antlers have a 17 1/2-inch spread. She shot the buck in the Tawas area on opening day for 238.5 contest points to lead the Big Buck Bonanza. 

EAST TAWAS – A 13-year-old Tawas City youth is the current leader in the 2020 Oscoda Press and Iosco County News-Herald Big Buck Bonanza contest.

Hunter Oliver, 13 of Tawas City, shot a 9-point buck, weighing 176 pounds with a 17 1/2-inch antler spread while hunting opening day in the Tawas area. The buck scored 238.5 contest points.

He also leads currently the largest entered in the contest for youths. Points are awarded on total antler points, the antler spread and the weight of the dressed deer. Entries must come from either Iosco, Arenac or Alcona counties.

All of the bucks listed were taken on Sunday, Nov. 15, the opening day of the rifle deer hunting season in Michigan.

The second largest buck taken so far in the contest is by Zak Zubek, 19, of Tawas. His 8-point had a dressed weight of 166 pounds and the antlers have a 15 1/4-inch spread for 221.25 points.

The winner of this year’s annual Big Buck Bonanza will once again take home more than bragging rights to the local top buck of 2020 – the lucky hunter will win a Remington Model 783 Bolt-Action 308 rifle Compact Package, valued at $399, compliments of the Iosco County News-Herald and the Oscoda Press.

The sister newspapers join hands with many Iosco County merchants to provide cash and merchandise prizes, not to mention bragging rights for a year, to the best bucks taken during the 2020 firearm deer season.

Second prize of $50 from the sponsoring newspapers goes to the buck with the most antler points.   

There is a $25 cash prize for the youth, ages 17 and younger, with the most contest points.

Other deer that scored at least 200 points on opening day were Shawna Trombley, 21, Columbiaville, 9 points, 158 pounds, 15 3/4-inch spread, in the Tawas Area for 218.75 points; Mark Voerten, 20, Brown City, 7 points, 160 pounds, 16-inch spread, in the Tawas area for 211 points; Cary Hilbert, 72, East Tawas, 8 points, 150 pounds, 15-1/2-inch spread, in Tawas Township for 205.5 points; Gary Ulman, 78, East Tawas, 8 points; 152 pounds, 13-inch spread, in the Tawas area for 205 points; and Craig McShane, 62, of Tawas, 9 points, 140 pounds, 15 1/4-inch spread in Iosco County for 200.25 points. 

Other bucks entered on opening day include Brad Johnson, 45, Tawas City, 8 points; 145 pounds, 13 1/2-inch spread in the Sand Lake area for 198.5 pounds; Tim Stonehouse, 63, Tawas, 8 points, 136 pounds, 14 3/4-inch spread, in the Tawas area for 190.75 pounds; Tim Harvey, 37, East Tawas, 8 points, 135 pounds, 15-inch spread, in the Tawas City area for 190 points; Alisha Foust, 29, Linwood, 8 points, 129 pounds, 14-inch spread, in Iosco County for 183 points; Ed Osborne, 66, Prescott, 8 points; 130 pounds, 12 1/2-inch spread, in Ogemaw County for 182.5 points; Austin Garcia, 26, Grand Ledge, 8 points, 123 pounds, 18-inch spread, in Tawas Township for 181 points; Tom Schumacher, 56, Highland, 9 points, 123 pounds, 13-inch spread, in the Tawas area for 181 points; Paige Bleck, 24, East Tawas, 7 points, 131 pounds, 13 1/2-inch spread, in Tawas Township for 179.5 points; Jen Quarters, 46, Tawas City, 8 points, 120 pounds, 17-inch spread, in the Tawas area for 177 points; Lincoln York, 27, Ann Arbor, 8 points, 120 pounds, 16 3/4-inch spread, in the Tuttle Marsh area for 176.75 points; Wes Frank, 26, East Tawas, 7 points, 124 pounds, 14 3/4-inch spread, in Alabaster Township for 173.75 points; Jack Cadorette, 66, East Tawas, 8 points, 116 pounds, 15 1/2-inch spread, in Wilber Township for 171.5 points; Charlie Stonehouse, 54, Tawas, 9 points, 115 pounds, 11-inch spread, in Wilber Township for 171 points; Debra McShane, 61, Tawas City, 6 points, 128 pounds, 12 3.4-inch spread, in the Tawas area for 170.75 points; Keith Day, 62, Tawas, 8 points, 110 pounds, 16 1/2-inch spread, in Baldwin Township for 166.5 points; Jay Quarters, 47, Tawas, 7 points, 120 pounds, 10-inch spread, in the Tawas area for 165 points; Jayden Quarters, 17, Tawas, 6 points, 112 pounds, 11 1/4-inch spread, in the Tawas area for 153.25 points; Shelly Zuwala, 55, Grand Blanc, 5 points, 115 pounds, 9-inch spread, in the National City area for 149 points; Irene Robinson, 47, Hale, 4 points, 115 pounds, 6 1/2-inch spread, in the Twining area for 141.5 points; and Dennis Frank, 73, East Tawas, 4 points, 112 pounds, 7 1/4-inch spread, in Alabaster Township for 139.25 points. 

Rules for the contest are simple.  Any buck shot in Iosco, Alcona, or Arenac counties between Nov. 15-30 is eligible, regardless of the hunter’s place of residence.

The biggest buck winner is the buck which gets the most total points under the contest point system.

The scoring system awards one point for each pound of field dressed weight, one point per inch for each inch of antler spread at their widest point and five points each for each point on the antlers.  To be counted as a point on the rack, the protrusion must be at least one-half inch long.  

For example, a 141-pound field dressed buck with a eight-point rack and a 14-inch spread would total 195 contest points.

And everyone who enters their buck has a chance of winning one of the many cash and merchandise prizes offered by local merchants.

All of the remaining contest prizes from the various merchants are awarded based on a random drawing at the end of the season from the cards of all those who entered the contest by taking their deer to a contest weigh station.

Those weigh-in and registration stations are located at Miner’s Grove Party Store, located at the corner of Miller and Wilber roads in East Tawas and Roger’s Family Foods & ACE Hardware, 5112 N. US-23 in Oscoda. Weigh stations ask that if possible, you bring along a friend to help get your trophy hung up on the scales.

Winners of all of the prizes will be announced in the edition following the closing of the rifle season on Nov. 30. Winners also will be contacted by mail.

Prizes offered by local merchants in the contest include: 

Klenow’s Market  of East Tawas, two pounds of jerky valued at $40;

Dean Arbour Ford of Tawas City, THE WORKS – includes engine oil and filter change, up to five quarts of Motorcraft Oil, rotate tires and perform multi-point inspection, valued at $49.95;

Dean Arbour Chevrolet of East Tawas, multi-point vehicle inspection, free oil change and tire rotation;

Muffler Man of Tawas City, lube, oil and filter;

Wellman’s Party & Bait of Oscoda, $20 gift certificate (excludes beer and wine);

Ed Freel’s Market of Tawas City, a $25 gift certificate for fresh meat;

Tawas Do It Best Hardware of Tawas City, a $40 gift certificate for the heaviest field-dressed buck entered by a woman;

AuSable Do It Best Hardware and Surplus of Oscoda, $25 gift certificate;

Alward’s Market of Hale, five pounds of home smoked bacon valued at $35;

Tawas Roofing Company of Tawas City,  Outdoor Edge Wild-Lite six piece Knife Kit, valued at $44;

AuSable River Store of Oscoda, $25 gift certificate;

Haglund’s On the River of Oscoda, Grab Bag, valued at $25;

Hilltop Bar & Grill of Oscoda, $25 gift certificate;

Gary Oil of Oscoda, a $50 gas card;

Nedo’s Farm Market, Inc. of Mikado, a Hunter’s Gift Basket;

Nagy’s Tractor Sales, Inc. of Omer, a $50 gift certificate.

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