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Davis Buck may be a Michigan Record

Monday, December 06, 2004, by Steven Hepker

HUDSON -- Grown men slobbered and spouted gibberish. Crowds gathered. Traffic snarled. Hudson dairy farmer Steve Vanderhoff and his hunting buddies were not prepared for the fuss created by the apparent Michigan-record buck taken by a bow hunter on his farm Nov. 14, the day before the firearms season.

"We hung it up at my place and went hunting with guns the next day," he said. "We got a button buck and a doe and hung them up by the buck. We noticed it sure looked bigger." Aaron Davis, 28, of Holland, had seen the buck on Vanderhoff's farm on two previous weekends, but it ran off before he could get a shot. On Nov. 14, the buck was focused on chasing a doe in heat. Davis watched it for 45 minutes before it offered a good shot. He struck it through the lungs and it dropped within 150 feet.

The buck likely is the largest ever taken with a gun or bow in Michigan, sporting a 20-point rack that spans 27 inches. The preliminary score of the rack is 221 7/8, 2 inches bigger than the current archery record.

Davis and Vanderhoff went gun hunting the next couple of days and left the buck hanging in the yard. "We knew it was big, but then people started stopping in. One neighbor went goofy when he saw it," Vanderhoff said. The trip back to Holland was an eye-opener for Davis, who borrowed an open trailer from Vanderhoff and lay the buck on its side, its rack jutting high in the air. "It created a traffic jam from Hudson to Holland," Vanderhoff said. "Aaron called me halfway home and said, 'Maybe we should get this thing looked at.'

An official scorer measured the antlers and if the measurement of 221 7/8 inches stands, the Davis buck is the largest on record in Michigan.