Deer hunters will have the chance to win more than $2,000 in free prizes in Hillsboro on Nov. 26 — the first day of the 2018 white-tailed deer hunting season on Ohio. While the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has automated the licensing and tagging processes online for Ohio hunters, there are some sportsman that miss the in-person interaction from the old way of check-in.
Local resident John Ingersoll, owner of Buckeye Boat Repair & Mobile Service near Rocky Fork Lake, is one of those avid deer hunters determined to make what is old, new again with the introduction of the inaugural Whitetails Unlimited South Central Ohio Buck Pole.
“My family and I moved to Hillsboro in 2015 from ‘that state up north.’ I’ve always been a deer hunter and never missed a buck pole in my days of hunting in Indian River, Mich.,” Ingersoll said. “Contestants come from all over to witness the deer shot on the first day of gun season. In my talks with locals from southern Ohio, I found no event like this. Our area is home to some really nice sized deer and I’m excited to organize an event of this kind for the first time.”
Ingersoll has partnered with Randy Dyer, director of the local chapter of Whitetails Unlimited chapter, and John Holt, owner of Holtfield Station, to get the event kick-started.
“Hunting is a family tradition here in South Central Ohio, and we are looking forward to hosting this annual event to give hunters in this area a place to see some nice bucks, socialize and share hunting stories” said Holt.
Buck Pole works like this:
* Hunters must be preregistered to enter the Buck Pole. Registration is free and open until Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018. You must preregister. The organizer has setup an online registration process through its Facebook page (by following ticket link through EventBrite) and is also offering in-person registration at Holtfield Station located at 620 S. High St., Hillsboro. With a name, phone number and address, you become officially registered in the South Central Ohio Buck Pole. Holtfield Station is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so you can sign up at any time from now until Nov. 25 at 11:59 p.m.
* On Monday, Nov. 26 — opening of gun season only — anyone that is preregistered and shoots a buck anywhere in the state of Ohio can bring their buck to Holtfield to qualify for the Buck Pole.
* Qualified entries must arrive to Holtfield completely field dressed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 26. No entries will be accepted past 8 p.m. Entries will be photographed, given a tag, weighed and hung on a wooden scaffold for viewing by visitors to the contest with the hunter’s permission and weather conditions permitting. Should weather conditions require removal of the deer, the hunter must still be present by 8 p.m. in order to be entered and receive any prizes.
* Judging is based upon weight of the buck. The size of the rack is not considered. Prizes will be awarded to the top three heaviest bucks. Top prizes will include a rifle, muzzleloader and crossbow. Other prizes will include hunting gear, gift certificates and more. Only one prize will be awarded per deer.
* The awards presentation will begins at 8:30 p.m. and hunters must be present to win.
* Final decision of awarding prizes for a deer will be at the discretion of a Whitetails Unlimited local chapter committee.
As of Monday, event organizers said they have more than $2,000 in prizes for the contest winners including:
* First prize – Rugar American 450 Bushmaster with flat dark earth synthetic stock topped with a 3x9x50 Redfield scope.
* Second prize – Parker Thunderhawk Pro Crossbow 330 FPS topped with a 3x multi-reticle scope.
* Third prize – CVA Optima V2 26-inch stainless barrel muzzleloader topped with a 3x9x40 scope with gun case.
“I really want to thank Ingersoll for coming to us with this idea,” Dyer said. “We have some really great prizes to give away and all you have to do is complete the free preregistration and shoot a big buck on opening day to get into the contest and have a chance to win. We are working hard to make this a success and hope to add more to the great prize list. If you are interested in making a donation or volunteering to work the buck pole, please contact me at 937-763-3328, John Ingersoll at 937-661-4570 or visit and comment on the event Facebook page @1st Annual South Central Ohio Buck Pole.”
Dyer can be reached at 937-763-3328or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Destiny Bryson is the executive director of the Visitors Bureau of Highland County.