Michigan’s Berrien County is probably most notorious for being the route that many Great Lake State residents take when traveling to Chicago. The county is neatly tucked into the southwest corner of our infamous mitten and its borders include beautiful Lake Michigan and the Hoosier State, Indiana. What many of the westbound travelers may not know is that Berrien County has large sections of rural habitat that is ideal for producing big antlered whitetail bucks. This fact was made evident during the 2015 season, when an eighty-five year old crossbow hunter shot a potential new state record in the senior division.
On November 3, 2015, Karl Gollnast shot a doe and had meat for the freezer. The next day, November 4, he once again climbed into a treestand and this time he was hoping to see a buck. That is exactly what happened. After a short wait a buck was seen walking towards the perched predator.
Karl is a German refuge who came to America in 1954. He still speaks with a heavy German accent and told me the following via a phone interview. “I didn’t even know how big he was, when he got close enough I took the shot. He ran towards a pine thicket and disappeared. I didn’t see blood so I decided to back out and wait for my wife to come home to help me look for the deer. When we went back out to look, we initially couldn’t find any blood so I went to the pine thicket and there he was. He only ran about one hundred yards. My bolt went through the front right shoulder and exited out the other side by the leg. Later I found my arrow, and it was covered in blood. He was thirty-two yards away when I hit him. I was surprised to see how actually big he was. I couldn’t wait to tell my son.”
Karl’s buck is a main-frame 10-point that has an additional sticker point to give it a total of 11. The tall tined buck scores 163 1/8 net Boone and Crockett typical points. According to the Commemorative Bucks of Michigan record book the current senior state record crossbow typical was shot by Joe Reidt in 2010, and scores 159 1/8 B&C points. The overall state record crossbow typical was shot in 2009, by Bruce T. Edelberg and scored 167 6/8 B&C net typical points.
At the end of our phone conversation Karl’s enthusiasm was still readily apparent. He happily exclaimed, “I’m still excited, I had the buck mounted and placed it in the family room.”
Karl then gave the phone to his wife and she simply told me, “He’s a happy man!”