May 26 • 05:34 AM

Imlay City's "Wow Buck"

January 27, 2010
It's as if whitetails hold some magical spell over me. An unexplained excitement stirs each and every time I see one. And like most of you I've seen hundreds if not a thousand over the years.

Yet each and every time my reaction is the same, "Deer! Look, look, look!" I babble, as if it was the first one I had ever seen.

If someone is with me I quiz them to see if they saw as many as I did.

"I saw six, all does," I might say. "How many did you see? Did you see all six?" I commonly ask.


And if my passenger didn't see all six I'm apt to say, "Want me to turn around so you can see 'em?"

Now what would make a full grown man act like that?

Just the other day, south of Almont, I spotted a half- dozen whitetails standing in a field while driving south on VanDyke. They were like dairy cattle feeding in a snow covered field, and still I nearly threw my neck out trying to get one last look.

My nephew, Nick Campbell was with me, "Look, Nick! Deer! You see 'em?" I say in a hushed tone, I guess so they won't hear me.

"Did you see 'em?" I ask again.

"Yes Unc, there were six of them, all does," he replies rather matter-of-factly, since he has been through this routine before.

In early November I got a call from Matt Makedonsky, who lives just north of Imlay City.

"Randy, got some photos of a big whitetail the other day, thought you might like to see them," Matt tells me.

Now our office being the headquarters for Woods-N-Water News, we take a lot of calls like this as you might suspect. And my idea of a "big whitetail" is often times far different than the caller.

"How big Matt?" I ask.

"It's pretty big, the biggest I've ever seen," he tells me.

Matt goes on to say, "I was taking my daughter to school and I looked up and there he stood, a hundred or so yards away. I saw this huge brown body and horns."

Matt ran in, grabbed his wife's camera and shot a series of photos as the deer walked the drainage ditch along the muck fields north of Imlay City.

"I thought you might like to see the pictures," Matt adds.

A day or so later Matt stops by to show me the pictures of the buck. Now most of the time when people shoot photos of bucks they are well, average size bucks at best. What I expected to see and what I saw in these photos were two completely different things. This buck is a monster.

Matt lays the pictures on the front counter for me to see.

"WOW!" I immediately shout.

"Yep, that's what most everyone says when I show them my pictures. I think I will call him the 'Wow Buck,'" Matt says, smiling.

"You can run the photos if you like, I just wanted people to know there are some big deer in Michigan yet," Matt goes on to say.

After talking about it for a moment, Matt and I decided to hold the pictures until after all the deer seasons are over. No sense inviting un-wanted visitors.

So how does this buck stack up in terms of records?

Whitetails are scored by a few organizations, records are kept and they all take it very seriously. There is Pope & Young, for game taken with archery equipment; Boone & Crockett, for game taken with a firearm and Michigan's recognized organization is Commemorative Bucks of Michigan or CBM.

Scoring the antlers is based on tine length, main beam length, spread and a series of circumference at the base and main beams. They can be scored as a typical rack or non-typical rack. To qualify for the record books the rack must score at least 120 points.

At first glance I thought this buck would score well over 150 points. Woods-N-Water News editor, Tom Campbell and a one time CBM scorer feels after only looking at the pictures the buck would easily make the 140 class of bucks.

Most bucks' lives are short, 1 1/2 years or so. This buck may be 3 1/2 years old.

Matt saw the buck one other time about a week after these photos were taken. As far as he knows, the buck was never harvested during the hunting season.

Matt, keep your camera at your side, I'd sure love to see this buck next year, a year older. The problem is he'll be a year wiser.

Thanks for sharing the photos of Imlay City's "Wow Buck."

Email Randy at

Randy Jorgensen has been with the Tri-City Times since 1980, he lives in Imlay City and is active in many community organizations. Randy enjoys the outdoor sports and travel. His columns are generally of life experiences with a touch of humor.
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