16 year-old tags giant Ottawa County RECORD BUCK!
Will Finkler, a 16 year old junior at Coopersville High School, shot one of Michigan’s all-time best typical bucks on November 15, 2012. This highly recognized date is the annual opener for the Great Lake’s State firearm deer season. Will shot the trophy buck in Ottawa County, which is located on the Lake Michigan shoreline between Muskegon and Allegan counties.
On December 9, I conducted a phone interview with the exuberant youth and Will shared the events of his successful hunt. Finkler says that he was posted on stand anticipating oncoming deer because his dad and his uncle Dale were pushing a swamp near their house. A second hunter was also posted on stand for the drive, Marty Lozan, a friend of Will’s father.
While on stand, Finkler received a phone call from his eighty-two year old, grandmother and she told him that she just saw a huge buck. Will asked her, “Where?”
Will joked that had to ask his grandma numerous times because she kept repeating how big this buck was. Finally Grandma replied, “In the woods.”
Will, then anxiously asked, “There is a lot of woods Grandma, where in the woods?”
Grandma responded, “Left of my house, hurry up he is huge.”
With information of a big buck sighted Will took off running to his truck. Finkler states, “When I went running by Marty, he looked at me with an expression of ‘What is this kid doing?’ I then got in my truck and drove the quarter mile down to my grandma’s place.”
Finkler continued, “I saw the deer west of the house, over by a pond, standing with a doe. I walked to within one hundred yards when the deer took off. I shot at the big buck when he was airborne jumping a fence. I then ran over to where I last saw him and could see him standing broadside by the swamp just fifty yards away. I thought, Ok he’s mine and took a second shot. He then ran away and I took four more shots as he ran. My gun was empty, so I went through my pockets and found one more shell. I then jumped the fence and fell flat on my face. I got up and ran in the direction that he went and ended up walking to within twenty-five yards of him. He was lying on the ground. I thought, ‘Holy Crap, he is huge!’ The buck’s back legs started to move and then he started to get up so I shot him again.”
While all of this was happening, Will’s father had completed the deer drive and Marty commented to him, “Your son shouldn’t be leaving his post.”
When the two men caught up with Will and saw the big buck lying in the back of the truck, Marty recanted and said, “I think we can forgive your son for leaving his post.”
Finkler had shot an 8-point with his bow four days before gun season started. Will states, ‘I was happy with the 8-pointer, but this buck is just huge!”
Will’s buck is a main-frame 6×6, that carries thick mass throughout the rack. There is a sticker point that is right around the one inch mark which will make it a 13-point if counted. It has an 18 inch inside spread and has been green scored at 192 3/8 gross Boone and Crockett points. Will was using a 12 gauge shotgun and the firearm state record is a buck shot by Troy Stephens in Jackson County that scores 198 Boone and Crockett points.