Connie Osentoski of Cass City didn’t begin hunting deer until 18 years ago, but it has turned into a passion she shares with her husband Marty. The fact is with their busy schedule of handling Osentoski Realty and Auctioneering which is nearly a seven days a week job, Connie and Marty also generously donate a lot of their time and energy handling the auctioneering at numerous fundraising events such as Whitetails Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited and Friends of the NRA, just to name a few. Despite all this, they put a priority on hunting local whitetails together, and treasure the time they share afield.
Connie’s first deer hunting experience was quite memorable to say the least, because she discovered the hard way that scrunching into the scope of a borrowed 12 ga. shotgun to shoot at a buck can be an enlightening experience. In this case, it actually broke her nose, but this didn’t dissuade her any, and Marty would present her at Christmas that year with a more manageable H&R Ultra-Slug 20 ga., which she would use in taking her share of Thumb bucks (she likes the dependable performance of Lightfield slugs).
Marty Osentoski has for some time now put a focus on shooting only bucks that he is willing to pay to have made into full shoulder mounts, and his wife Connie decided to follow his lead. As a result they have quite a display of dandy Thumb bucks in their home, and they feel blessed that their wooded bottomland property along the Cass River allows them such wonderful deer hunting opportunities.
To extend her time deer hunting, Connie recently began using a Ravin crossbow during the archery season, and fully appreciates its reliable accuracy, light weight and very compact limbs (six inch axle to axle width) which make it handy not only in a ladder stand, but also ideal for shooting out the window of a hunting blind. She always does plenty of preseason shooting practice, which she enjoys doing with Marty, and is fully confident in performing a humane killing shot at a variety of ranges. She also likes how it is so easy to cock and even de-cock her Ravin crossbow by simply using a crank on the buttstock.
It was the evening before this year’s October 1 opener for “bow season” that Connie took a camera to her favorite hunting blind to see and photograph whatever deer might be in that neck of the woods. That is when she spotted the buck of her dreams, a 13-point non-typical which even seemed to pose for the picture she took of him. Connie made her mind up right then and there she would put her entire focus on hunting this buck.
However, the huge 13-point buck never made another appearance during the whole month of October, and Connie wondered if he might have been taken by another hunter, but she continued to hunt for the 13-point at every opportunity anyway, and passed on a number of nice bucks. Early in the evening of November 10 however, a real dandy 10-point buck Connie had never seen before showed up near her hunting blind and she decided it might be best to “take the bird in hand.”
Connie is always very careful about the shots she takes on deer, and makes sure the shooting angle is perfect for a quick and humane kill, and she used her range-finder to assure an aiming point with her crossbow, which was a range of 47 yards. When the arrow tipped with a Rage broadhead struck the 10-point high in the shoulder, the buck dropped on the spot and was down for the count. It was later that evening when Connie got the call from Randy’s Hunting Center in Bad Axe to let her know that her new “deer rifle” was all sighted in and ready to be picked up.
During one of the conservation fundraising events Connie and Marty were assisting, Connie’s ticket was drawn for a Ruger American Ranch Rifle in the now very popular .450 Bushmaster caliber. This was the blue barrel and composite stock model, and Connie decided to trade it in at Randy’s Hunting Center for a spruced up stainless steel version entailing a 22 inch barrel with a Mag-Na-Port muzzle brake, all topped with a Leupold CDS scope and fitted with a custom laminated wood “thumb-hole” stock. Connie was elated she would have her new rifle ready to go when the firearms deer season arrived on November 15. A couple years previously, Connie had presented Marty with a customized Remington bolt-action in the .450 Bushmaster caliber for Christmas and she was both impressed and envious at the rifle’s performance on the bucks her husband had bagged with it.
Connie was once again seated in her favorite hunting blind on the evening of November 16 when she spotted a large buck with several does 100 yards away, and put her Nikon binocular to work. The buck turned out to be the non-typical 13-point she hadn’t seen for several weeks and needless to say the adrenaline began to automatically flow. Connie made a point of settling down and waiting for the huge buck to offer the perfect shot as does and some smaller bucks milled around it, thanks to the crazy atmosphere of a peaking whitetail rut. When the buck finally stopped and was standing fully broadside, Connie settled the scope’s crosshairs high on the buck’s shoulder, and the touched the trigger only when everything looked and felt just right. The buck dropped in its tracks at the shot and never twitched.
It was definitely a surreal moment for Connie as she approached the downed deer with visible, very large antlers protruding up. Once she ascertained the buck was dead, Connie tagged and then took time to admire it before calling Marty (who was in another hunting blind) on her cell phone to let him know she had the big 13-point buck down and would definitely need assistance in getting the bruiser out.
Needless to say, this was a very special moment as the couple worked together to load the enormous buck onto the cargo box of their side by side
ATV. There is no question that Connie and Marty Osentoski thoroughly enjoy sharing their annual adventures of hunting big Thumb bucks.