Michigan Monster

Most hunters underestimate the ability of some whitetails, especially bucks with big antlers, to avoid being seen and shot. These deer inhabit small sanctuaries of thick cover where people seldom, if ever, go and move mostly under the cover of darkness. It isn't until some one stumbles across the remains of one of these recluses or one of them ends up as roadkill that their presence is discovered. Such a buck was found dead in Michigan's Lenawee County, which borders Ohio, during the first week of February 2010, more than a month after the last deer season ended, and the whitetail's 26-point rack is the highest scoring nontypical set of antlers on record for the state. The huge antlers gross 257 1/8 and net 246 2/8. This photo shows what the person who found the buck saw. The deer hadn't been dead long because coyotes had not yet eaten all of the meat, but most of the carcass had been scavenged. Photo: Ron Waldron
Rural home owner Sharon Weidmayer was walking her dog along a creek on her property on February 7, 2010 when she found the buck's remains. She saw one of the whitetail's antlers sticking up in the air from the creek and went to investigate. Photo:Ron Waldron
The world class whitetail had been living in the area for some time. It had rubbed its antlers on these trees the previous fall in the vicinity of where it died. Photo: Ron Waldron
Weidmayer found one of the buck's shed antlers (the right side) that it grew in 2008 nearby, too. That antler lost most of its length when it was broken after the second tine. Photo: Ron Waldron
Here's the broken shed next to the same beam the buck grew in 2009. The antler obviously increased in size between 2008 and 2009. Photo: Ron Waldron
Weidmayer called friend Ron Waldron from Ann Arbor, who she knew is a deer hunter, asking if he was interested in the big antlers she found. He was and he went to her property, removing the head from what remained of the carcass. Needless to say, Waldron was impressed with the size of the antlers. Photo: Dennis Sheats
Ron called the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) to obtain a tag for the antlers. Washtenaw County Sheriff's Deputy Keith Mansell delivered the tag to Waldron. This photo shows Waldron and Mansell with the buck's head after the tag was affixed to an antler. Photo: Dennis Sheats
Ron brought the antlers to Dennis Sheats in Milan to see what they would score. Sheats is a measurer for the state big game record keeping organization, Commemorative Bucks of Michigan. Sheats came up with a green gross score of 257 2/8 and a net score of 247 4/8 for the rack. The previous highest scoring nontypical for the state is a 29-pointer netting 238 2/8 that Paul Mickey shot in Bay County during 1976. Photo: Dennis Sheats
After the 60-day drying period, the antlers were measured by a panel of three scorers, including Sheats. the other two members of the panel were Bill Nash from Lambartville and Roger Lockwood of Saline. Nash is also a measurer for the Boone and Crockett Club, so the antlers will be entered into national records kept by that organization, too. They will be listed in the pickup category for both sets of records since the buck was found dead. Photo: Dennis Sheats
The inside spread is officially 28 5/8 compared to 28 7/8 when it was measured green. The left main beam ended up being 30 6/8 inches long instead of 31. The right beam taped at 31 1/8 inches each time it was measured. Circumference measurements went down by 6/8-of-an-inch between the two measurings. Those eight numbers, four per antler, totaled 43 3/8 when measured recently compared to 44 1/8 initially. Photo: Dennis Sheats
Based on examination of tooth wear of this amazing buck by a number of DNRE wildlife biologists, the deer was either 3 1/2 or 4 1/2 years old. That's tremendous antler development. Hopefully, the buck did a good job of spreading his genes during the time he was alive. Photo: Dennis Sheats
Waldron sold the huge nontypical rack, but will be getting a replica to keep. Ron said the person who bought the antlers wants to remain anonymous.