Because some hunters miss the camaraderie that used to come with tagging deer, the second annual Buckeye Buck Pole is returning to Holtfield Station in Hillsboro.
“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.,” John Ingersoll, the event organizer and owner of Buckeye Boat Repair & Mobile Service, said in a news release. “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 see what comes in this second year, since more people know about the event and plan to participate.”
Registration is already open at Holtfield Station for the event where judging is based upon the weight of the buck, not the size of the rack. Prizes will be awarded to the three most heavy bucks. Top prizes include a rifle, a muzzleloader and a crossbow. Other prizes include hunting gear, gift certificates and more. Only one prize will be awarded per deer.
Additional prizes will be awarded this year for first female hunter, farthest drive, and oldest and youngest hunters.
“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 John Holt of Holtfield Station.
The contest runs through the deer-gun season that starts Dec. 2 and ends Dec. 8.
The way the contest works is like this:
* Hunters must be preregistered to enter the buck pole. Registration is free and open until Sunday, Dec. 1. The organizer has set up an online registration process through their Facebook page @2nd Annual Buckeye Buck Pole and are also offering in-person registration at Holtfield Station, located at 620 S. High St., Hillsboro. With just a name, phone number or email address, you become officially registered. Holtfield Station is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so you can sign up at any time from now until Dec. 1 at 11:59 p.m.
* On Monday, Dec. 2 — the opening day of deer-gun season only, anyone that is preregistered, shoots a buck anywhere in the state of Ohio, and brings the buck to Holtfield will qualify for the buck pole and a chance to win one of this year’s prizes.
* Qualified entries must arrive at Holtfield completely field dressed between the hours of 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 2. No entries will be accepted after 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. If weather conditions require removal of the deer, the hunter must still be present at 8 p.m. in order to be entered and receive any prizes.
* Final decision of awarding prizes for a deer will be at the discretion of Buckeye Buck Pole committee.
“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,” said Desitny Bryson, Visitors Bureau of Highland County executive director. “For all those avid deer hunters scrolling Facebook or Holtfield’s parking lot, this event brings back a part of the past when the deer were physically tagged and everyone gathered each time one came in. The Buckeye Buck Pole brings back that tradition and adds the excitement of prizes.”
Bryson extended her thanks to Ingersoll for organizing the event and added, “Hunting in Highland County is a privilege to many that enjoy the sport. With limited areas open to public hunting, you have to be granted access to get into the woods here and that makes it even more special when you harvest the big one and get to display it in the middle of town.”
She said that while people are watching the deer come in, Holtfield Station offers a variety of items on its menu and indoor and outdoor seating accommodations.
Ingersoll gave the following description of the top prizes: 1st prize — CVA CR4830S Scout V2 .450 Bushmaster with Simmons 6-24X50 Whitetail Classic Scope plus free shoulder mount; 2nd prize — Parker MP315 Crossbow Package; 3rd prize — CVA Optima V2 combo.
Sponsors for this year’s event include: Buckeye Boat Repair, Town & Country, Bayview Bait & Tackle, Highland County Rod & Gun Club, Fairway Independent Mortgage, Sunrise Pasture Farms, AG Pro, Landrum’s Taxidermy, Holtfield Station, Ponderosa and Visitors Bureau of Highland County.
Information for this story was provided by the Visitors Bureau of Highland County.