Record nontypical buck dead in Lenawee County

Lenawee County, Mich. – A whitetail buck with a set of
nontypical antlers that score more than any others on record in
Michigan was found dead of unknown causes in February in Lenawee
County.

The deer’s remains were found on private property along a creek
about 150 yards from a road. A woman who owns the land found the
buck while walking her dog.

Ron Waldron had done some work for the woman, and she knew he
hunted, so she called him and asked if he wanted the antlers.
Waldron was in for a surprise when he retrieved the deer’s head and
saw how enormous the antlers were. He took the rack to
Commemorative Bucks of Michigan measurer Dennis Sheats in Milan to
find out what they scored.

The 26-pointer has a gross green score of 2572/8 and nets
2474/8, according to Sheats’ measurements. The current state record
nontypical is a 30-pointer that Paul Mickey shot in Bay County
during the 1976 firearms season. That rack scored 2382/8.

The Lenawee County buck is sure to outscore Mickey’s deer when
it is officially measured after the 60-day drying period, but
Mickey’s entry will remain the state record nontypical.

According CBM bylaws, a big-game animal that is found dead or
ends up as roadkill cannot become a state record. That title is
reserved for hunter-killed game. Nonetheless, this buck is certain
to be the highest scoring nontypical in the “pickup” category,
which includes roadkills and animals found dead.

Besides measuring the colossal rack, Sheats wisely advised
Waldron to contact the DNRE to obtain a tag for the one-of-a-kind
set of antlers, so there would be no question about him possessing
them legally.

Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Deputy Keith Mansell actually
presented Waldron with a tag for the head. There are several photos
of the rack being circulated on the internet.

A lesson learned: Whitetail bucks are cagey enough to avoid
hunters for years, only to die of other causes.

This particular whitetail is estimated to be at least 61/2 years
old. Although the cause of death is unknown, it may have been hit
by a vehicle.

Sheats said he and Waldron examined the carcass to try to
determine the cause of death and didn’t come up with anything
conclusive. All of the leg bones were intact and so were the
shoulder blades. There was no sign of injury.

Two front teeth on the buck’s lower jaw were broken, however,
which is an indication it may have suffered a serious blow. Sheats
also said there was a rub mark on the outside of the right beam
that could have been from hitting the pavement. The DNRE plans to
take a cross-section of one of the buck’s teeth to make a
determination of the buck’s age.

One thing that is certain is the deer survived at least six
hunting seasons.

The animal had been dead less than a week when its remains were
discovered. Coyotes had eaten the hindquarters, one shoulder, and
the internal organs, but some meat remained. Only bones would have
been present if the deer had been dead much longer than a week.

The rack has an impressive inside spread of 287/8 inches, and
both beams are about 31 inches long. The right antler has 11
points, and the left has 15. There are five nontypical points on
the right side and eight on the left, totaling 351/8 inches. The
typical frame of the rack scores an amazing 2123/8.

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