October 02, 2013 - ader Editor
MI Buck Pole owners (from left) Allan Goetz, Bryan Lowe, Eric Goetz and Mitch Mountney. Photo submitted. (click for larger version)
Local deer hunters are invited to celebrate the opening of archery season by hanging their bucks on the pole at The Burning Oak Smokehouse (595 S. Lapeer Rd.) in Oxford Township.
The buck pole will be open from 8 a.m. to midnight on Saturday, Oct. 5 as part of the Mi Buck Pole (MBP) Big Buck Bash. There's no fee to participate, but all bucks must be legally tagged.
"We're hoping for free-range deer, not deer that were shot in an enclosure or anything," said Allan Goetz, co-owner of MBP. "I think it's really going to be a lot of fun. It seems like there's quite a bit of excitement about it."
The pole will be able to accommodate 20 bucks. "We're going to (cordon) off the front part of the parking lot, so if we go over 20, the people who have bucks in their cars or trucks can park there," he said. "It's going to kind of be like a tailgate party for the other guys and gals. We actually have a lot of gal hunters in the area. Two of my daughters have already shot deer."
The pole is for bucks only, no does.
"We're not against shooting does, but since we're called MI Buck Pole, we thought it would probably be best just to have bucks," Goetz said.
In addition to the buck pole, the MBP Big Buck Bash will include a party from 6 p.m. to midnight featuring a hunter's buffet, live country music and drawings. Other event sponsors include Rochester College and Oxford Farm & Garden.
The hunter's buffet is $15 per person and includes an array of Burning Oak specialities.
MBP bills itself as "Michigan's Virtual Buck Pole." Visitors to www.mibuckpole.com can find photos of successful hunters from Michigan's 83 counties posing with their bucks.
"It's an opportunity for anyone in Michigan to post a buck that they've taken in state and show it off," Goetz said. "We get 10 to 20 buck submissions a day."
The MBP website received 135 entries from the 2013 youth hunt alone.
MBP offers a wireless phone application that notifies users, via sounds such as shotgun or rifle fire, whenever a new buck has been posted to the pole either from a particular county or anywhere in the state.
"It's pretty cool," Goetz said.
Beyond bragging, MBP also gives hunters an opportunity to connect with each other via its Facebook page.
"We've been in business less than a year and we have 14,000 likes on our Facebook page," Goetz said. "We've been getting about 100 likes a day."
Prizes will be given away at the Oct. 5 MBP Big Buck Bash for the biggest bucks in terms of weight (prize: a camo dipped European mount), widest inside antler spread (prize: Stihl telescoping pole saw) and most antler points 1 inch or longer (prize: $300 Dunham's gift card).
Anyone who brings in a buck to hang will be automatically entered into a drawing for a variety of prizes.
The grand prize, which will be drawn at midnight, is two tickets to a special Oct. 13 meet and greet with Jase and Jep Robertson, two of the stars of A&E's hit television series "Duck Dynasty." Folks must be present to win.
Other drawing prizes include a package of food plot seed, a pack of broadheads, a pair of gut gloves, a deer hoist, one free deer processing and a gift certificate for a Concealed Pistol License class. These will be drawn every hour on the hour between 8 and 11 p.m.
MBP invites hunters to upload a photo of any size buck this season to enter a Jan. 19 drawing for a Honda Ultimate Garage package with an estimated value of $2,550. It includes a lawn mower, snowblower, generator and rototiller.
To Goetz, who grew up in a hunting family and has been active in the sport since age 14, there's so much "mystique" to the buck pole.
"As a kid, it was something I looked forward to all year long," he said. "You stand outside at the buck pole, looking at those bucks hanging on there and dreaming of one day getting one."
Goetz is "hoping to capture that same" experience with the Big Buck Bash.
"This is going to be family-friendly, so we're hoping that people bring their kids out," he said. "We're hoping to celebrate the great state of Michigan and our hunting tradition. It's just a fun time when you're standing around talking about hunting with other hunters."
Having a buck pole in Oakland County makes perfect sense to Goetz, an Orion Twp. resident, given it contains some prime hunting land.
"We just have a fantastic area for bucks and there really hasn't been a great place for people to bring them and show them off," he said.
Goetz noted the new state archery record was shot in Oakland County.
On Nov. 2, 2012, Milford resident Robert Sopsich shot a 12-point buck that dressed out at 185 pounds, scored 181 1/8 and had an inside spread of 19 1/8 inches. It's longest tine measured 11 inches.
MBP will host two more buck pole events at the Burning Oak on Nov. 15 and Nov. 16.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.