MARSHALL - If there was ever any doubt that Calhoun County is one of the state's premier locations for big whitetails, consider those doubts erased.
Dan Farmer, a 16-year-old hunter from Marshall, has arrowed one of the largest bucks ever taken in Calhoun County and, perhaps, a new youth state record.
Farmer's buck, which was taken near his Marshall home, has been unofficially scored at 194 5/8.
The buck sports a basic 10-point frame with a number of drop tines and sticker points jutting from it. It features an inside spread greater than 19 inches and incredible mass.
"Typical" deer are those in which the antlers conform to the standard growth pattern for whitetails. "Nontypical" racks are those which feature a number of abnormal points such as tines that grow downward or sideways from the main beams.
If the 194 5/8 nontypical score holds, it would be among the top 10 bowkills in state history as well as a new Calhoun County nontypical record for archery. It would rank as the third-largest buck ever taken in Calhoun County overall.
The state's archery youth record is 170.7 for typicals and 170.6 for nontypicals.
Barring some major scoring discrepancy, Farmer's buck will easily eclipse both marks to set a new state youth record.
Deer antlers are scored based on a formula that includes circumference, length of points and antler spread.
Farmer, who is in just his third year of hunting, said he knew the buck was in the area thanks to trail-camera photos he had taken in September.
"I got nine pictures of him from my Cuddeback (a camera that uses a motion detector to take photos) and I just couldn't believe it," Farmer said. "I was in a stand that I had put up about a week before bow season. There were a lot of rubs and scrapes in the area but I wasn't sure if they were from him. But when I started finding maple trees about a foot-and-a-half in diameter being rubbed, I was pretty sure it was him."
Commemorative Bucks of Michigan is the state's record-keeping organization for big-game animals killed in Michigan.
The CBM state record for a "typical" archery-killed buck is a Grand Traverse deer killed by Mitch Rompola in 1985 that scored 181 7/8.
The nontypical state record was set last season when bowhunter Aaron Davis tagged a Hillsdale giant that scored 225 7/8.
Farmer's deer could score highly as a typical as well as a nontypical thus we won't know for certain just how close the buck will be to an overall state mark until it's officially measured. A measurement is expected soon so be sure to check out this Sunday's Outdoors Page for updates and a possible score.
"When I shot the deer, I knew it was a big one but I wasn't 100 percent certain it was (the deer from the photos)," Farmer said. "But once I got to him, there was no doubt."
Tony Hansen is the Enquirer's outdoor's writer.
Originally published October 29, 2005
Tony Hansen The Enquirer