EAST TAWAS – The winner of this year’s annual Big Buck Bonanza will again take home more than bragging rights to the local top buck of 2012 – the lucky hunter will get to admire his or her trophy for years to come after AuSable River Taxidermy of Oscoda provides the winning hunter with a free shoulder mount, valued at $425, of their buck.
One of the oldest “Big Buck” contests in Northern Michigan, the area buck competition continues its deer hunting heritage this week as the two Iosco County local newspapers again sponsor the Oscoda Press and Iosco County News-Herald Big Buck Bonanza.
The 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 2012 firearm deer season.
This year’s grand prize is a shoulder mount, a $425 value, compliments of AuSable River Taxidermy in Oscoda. The deer amassing the most total points will be declared the grand prize winner. That prize is awarded based on field-dressed weight, number of antler points, and antler spread. To claim the shoulder mount prize, the grand prize winning buck must be taken to AuSable River Taxidermy for the mount and must be claimed within 60 days of the end of the rifle 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 third place, also from the newspapers, to an entrant in the general prize random drawing.
Other prizes are offered by sponsoring merchants.
The contest is open to hunters in three counties, including Iosco, Alcona and Arenac.
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 Hilltop Bar & Grill, located at 428 W. Mill St. in Oscoda, and Miner’s Grove Party Store, located at the corner of Miller and Wilber roads in East Tawas. Weigh stations ask that if possible, you bring along a friend to help get your trophy hung up on the scales.
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 175-pound field dressed buck with a 10-point rack and a 14-inch spread would total 239 contest points.
Hunters should bring their deer in and enter regardless of size, however, since hunters can win merchandise or services prizes which are awarded in the random drawing from all entries in the contest.
Prizes offered by local merchants in the contest include:
Klenow’s Market of East Tawas, two pounds of jerky valued at $38.
Dean Arbour Ford, Kelly Smith, of Tawas City, Free Oil, Lube and Filter (see ad);
Dean Arbour Chevrolet of East Tawas, free vehicle alignment check, valued at $40;
Muffler Man of Tawas City, Lube, Oil and Filter;
Wellman’s Beer and 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 $25 gift certificate for the heaviest field-dressed buck entered by a woman;
AuSable Do It Best Hardware and Surplus of Oscoda, $25 gift certificate;
Office Lounge & Grill of Oscoda, a $25 gift certificate on food only;
Alward’s Market of Hale, five pounds of home smoked bacon valued at $25;
Tawas Roofing Company of Tawas City, Bear “Gerber Survival Knife,” valued at $30;
AuSable River Store of Oscoda, $50 gift certificate;
Oscoda Powersports of Oscoda, $25 gift certificate;
Oscoda Press and Iosco County News-Herald of Oscoda and East Tawas, a six-month on-line subscription.