If it weren’t for Gary Shear, we probably wouldn’t have known that his twin brother, 78-year-old Cary from Ann Arbor, bagged a pending state record typical crossbow buck last fall in Washtenaw County.
“My brother talked me into having the antlers scored by Commemorative Bucks of Michigan (CBM),” Cary said. “I wasn’t even going to have the deer mounted, but my brother talked me into that, too. He told me, ‘You will never see another deer like that,’ and I’m sure he’s right.”
The big 12-pointer that Cary shot with his Barnett Wildcat Crossbow and Rage Broadhead late in the day on November 11, 2017, has an official gross score of 185 2/8 and nets 175 5/8, according to CBM. The mature buck also had a big body, dressing out at 219 pounds.
The previous state record typical crossbow buck was arrowed by rural Allegan County resident Trent Smith in Allegan County on October 22, 2016. That impressive 10-pointer had a CBM score of 175 2/8.
The Shear buck is a “pending” state record because the 2017 scoring period goes until the end of March. Another typical crossbow kill that scores higher could surface by then.
Like so many older bowhunters, Cary hunted with a compound bow until he could no longer consistently draw his compound under hunting conditions.
“What convinced me it was time to switch from my compound to a crossbow was one day I was hunting over a mock scrape,” Cary explained. “During the time I was waiting for a deer to show up in my treestand, I got cold and started shaking. That’s when an 8-point showed up at my mock scrape. I tried to pull my bow back five times and couldn’t do it even though I had been hunting with that bow for years.”
Cary has been hunting with a crossbow for about six years. During that time, he’s scored on a couple of average 10-pointers and a number of 8-points, all of which had antlers that were much smaller than the 12 he got last fall.
“I’m not a trophy hunter,” Cary said. “I hunt for the meat. But if a big buck comes along, I don’t have a problem shooting it.”
That’s exactly what happened when Shear got the 12-pointer. He was hunting a food plot from a treestand when a doe came out of the woods, walked across the food plot and entered a cornfield.
“The buck came out of the woods on the doe’s tracks and he was following her. When he stopped at 38 yards, I took the shot. He was ready to head the other way after the doe. I knew if I didn’t take that shot, I wasn’t going to get one.
“I think that buck was lost. I had never seen him before.”
The doe that buck was following was most likely in heat, and that’s what attracted him to the area. Cary said he doesn’t use trail cameras, so the whitetail could have been in the area and been primarily nocturnal until the day he saw it. The arrow from Shear’s crossbow scored a great hit, so the buck only went about 80 yards before dying.
“I was really shocked when I saw the buck laying on the ground. I have never seen a deer that big in my life.”
Cary said he’s been deer hunting for about 65 years. He started when he was 15. The only deer Cary has had measured prior to the 12-point was a big 8-pointer he shot with a firearm in 1993. The antlers on that buck measured 128.
Long tine length of the second, third and fourth points on each antler contributed to the deer’s high score. The second point on the right antler was 14 inches long, for example. The same point on the left antler was 11 4/8 inches long. Differences in tine length from one antler to the other were deductions. Length of the third tine on the right side was 11 3/8 inches compared to 12 inches on the left.
The antlers also had heavy bases, measuring 5 4/8 inches on the right and 5 5/8 on the left. Beam lengths were 24 1/8 and 24 7/8 inches. The inside spread of the antlers was 16 3/8 inches.