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HomeOutdoorsCrawford OutdoorsWrap up of the 63rd annual Grayling Buck Pole

Wrap up of the 63rd annual Grayling Buck Pole

Great weather, no wind, great tracking

Monday, November 15th

GRAYLING – Day one of firearm deer season started with excellent weather. The temperature at 31 degrees and no wind to speak of and snow that was anywhere from one to six inches provided great tracking. Jack Millikin, co-owner of Skip’s Sport Shop stated “no-excuses because of the weather-this is excellent hunting weather.”  Missy Millikin said that they “were swamped” on Saturday and Sunday with hunters and families. Project Graduation ran a bake sale fund raiser at Skip’s Saturday and Sunday and the hunting crowd reported having a fantastic level of sales for their baked goods on a donation basis. The first deer came in at 8:28 AM, 23 minutes earlier than the first deer last year. As the day went on the weather held with just enough lake effect snow to keep it interesting.

The first deer was brought in by “Big” John Morin of Grayling. John is no stranger to the Buck Pole, but this is his first time with the first buck. His deer scored out at 32 ½ inches and weighed 107 lbs. For the next 22 minutes John was not only the first buck but was the largest rack. For 22 minutes! 

Each deer is weighed, and the antlers are measured on a minimum of eight distances. Tom Coors, a Buck Pole Volunteer was doing the measuring. Last year Jack and Missy of Skip’s put up a canopy next to the Buck Pole because the weather was making it difficult to even record the antler length and weight. With the spitting snow they did it again on day one this year. The Buck Pole volunteers upgraded the scales with an early morning purchase from Tractor Supply. Last year the rain raised havoc with the electronic scales, so they are back to a mechanical system. Day one was fairly uneventful on the weather front.

Kane Murphy arrived at 9:50 with an eight-point 148 lb. buck. Had a photo of the deer in the field with the tag on but by the time he got it to town the tag was gone. Kane who got his deer on state land decided not to go out and look for the tag. He purchased a replacement. The rack measured 106 3/8 inches. 

Mark Bess of Grayling arrived with buck number three at 10:15. His deer weighed 149 lbs and the rack measured in at 105 ¾ inches.

Bob Trudeau of Grayling arrived at 11:50 with a 150 lb buck measuring out at 117 3/8. The volunteers were getting spooked by the new scales as that the last three deep weighed in at 148 lbs followed by 149 lbs and then 150 lbs. They anxiously waited for the arrival of the next buck and its weight.

Max Thomas of Kalkaska arrived at 12:10 with the largest rack of the day so far at 134 ¾ inches. He said that he got it in Kalkaska County where the racks are always bigger. His deer weighed in at 135-pounds. If his antlers were ¼ inch longer his antler measurement would have matched his deer weight.

Jerry Pratt of Grayling arrived at 12:25 with a 115-pound eight point measuring out at 82 inches.

Brett Howard of Swartz Creek was next to arrive with an eight point 148 lb buck that measured out at 124 ¾ inches. He bagged his buck in Kalkaska County. So far, the two largest racks were gotten in Kalkaska County.  The contest accepts bucks from all counties contiguous to Crawford County in addition to any locally gotten deer.

Some of the hunters are reporting very few shots and others are reporting many shots. Heavy snow has been the experience in the southern parts of Crawford County.

Ron Rakoczy rolled in a little after 1:00 with a fine looking eight point weighing 145 pounds and measuring out at 128 ½ inches. 

At 1:30 two bucks in a truck arrived. Naomi Kolka had a nine-point weighing 165 pounds, making it the heaviest buck so far and she was our first female hunter. Kevin Wakeley had an eight-point weighing 149 pounds and a measured rack of 122 3/8 inches.

At 2:25 Grant Hanson of Grayling arrived with an eight-point weighing 113 pounds. He said that after the first shot the buck bobbed up and down for some time making him wonder if he needed to shoot again. He was not going to hang his buck but his seven-year-old son, Cash, had visited the Buck Pole earlier and insisted he bring it in.

The snow came down just enough to make recording antler information a mess. 

Mike Atwell brought in a twelve-point weighing 139 pounds and measuring out at 137 inches. The biggest rack of the day.  Now the biggest rack is from Crawford County.

Matt Mahaney came in at 3:15 with a three-point weighing 102 pounds and measuring in at 49 ¾ inches.

buck pole results

At the end of the first day,13 bucks were recorded compared to last year’s 9 bucks and 21 bucks in 2019 and 9 bucks in 2018.

Tuesday, November 16th

grayling mi buck pole 2021

Day two arrived with 30 degrees at dawn and a bright sky. Nine bucks arrived at the pole that were taken the previous day, but too late to be hung. The first buck taken on Tuesday would not arrive until 10:20. 

Taken on day one was a 145-pound 13-point by Michael Duby of Millsteadt, IL. Michael has been hunting in Grayling for 25 years and his buck measured in at 141 inches of antlers.  The biggest rack by so far.

The next deer taken on day one was by Bob Lowe of Grayling who had a 122-pound 7-point that measured in at 84 ¾ inches of antler.

Robert Cooper of Grayling brought an 8-point weighing 138 pounds and measuring 119 1/8 of antlers.

Joe Prosser of Grayling bagged a 132-pound 9-point buck with 117 ½ of rack.

Shelby Swander, age 15, of Grayling, hung a four-point 110-pound buck with a 40-inch rack. Shelby was our youngest hunter, so far, for both days.

Brian Jacobs of Frederic brought in a 138-pound, 8-point buck with a 97 1/8 inches of rack.

Randy Allison of Grayling had a 6-point, 95-pound buck with 61 ½ inches of antlers.

Ryan Haskin of Grayling hung a nice 8-point weighing 138 pounds and with 112 ¾ of rack.

Bill Weaver of Grayling brought in a 4-point, which weighed 93 pounds and measured out at 59 ¼ inches of antlers.  Bill arrived at 9:30, adding to what was a busy morning.

At 10:00 Oriana Schneider of St. Helen, age 8, brought in a 146-pound 6-point measuring 111 7/8 of rack.  She took her deer in Roscommon County.

At 10:20, Jackson Carpenter, of Monroe, Michigan, brought in the first buck taken on November 16th. He got the deer at 8:50 that morning on State land. It weighed in at 115 pounds with a 7-point rack measuring in at 70 5/8. Jackson is a senior in High School.

The total buck count on the buck pole, at this point, was eleven.

Chris Cole of Liberty, Missouri arrived at 3:15 with a 150-pound 8 point measuring in at 111 ¼. 

At 4:30 just 30 minutes before the end of Buck Pole 2021 a big buck was brought in from Kalkaska by Jim Knight.  He reported heavy snow in his hunting area and that he had been hunting this buck for three years. His Kalkaska buck weighed 170 pounds, heaviest buck for both days. The antlers measured 155 1/8 inches making it the biggest rack for both days. The biggest buck this year for the Grayling 2021 Buck Pole is from Kalkaska. 

Total bucks this year for two days is 25. This number is up from 22 last year, down from 30 in 2019, and higher than 2018 when 18 bucks were hung.

buck pole results

The Camp Grayling Conservation Club stops hanging deer at 5:00 PM and the deer are taken down at 7:00 PM, giving everyone a chance for hunters returning from the woods to see all of the deer. For twenty-eight years the Camp Grayling Conservation Club has sponsored the running of the Buck Pole. The hunters are awarded prizes in various categories, such as first buck for the day or youngest hunter. The deer are not only weighed, but the antlers are measured, and a scoring system takes into consideration total spread, number of points, and length of points. These statistics are used to assign a score. This score determines the Best Buck of the two days. The overall winner for the two days receives a new $500 scoped rifle. It is possible to win a prize in more than one category. 

Skip’s Sport Shop and the Camp Grayling Conservation Club congratulates this year’s hunters and thanks them for participating in the Orange Coat Round-Up and Grayling Buck Pole Contest. 

Photos by Missy Milliken.


  • Tom Coors
  • Brad Scheer                        
  • Tim Thomson
  • Dave Jansen
  • Ande Hentschel Wayne Koppa

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