Third in big-buck division.
Tony Mask, 85, of Renfrew placed third, with this 218-pound deer in the big-buck division. He was also the oldest hunter.
An increase in bear and coyote sightings resulted in a lack of deer population for many groups hunting in the annual Gourley’s Variety and Gas Bar big buck and doe contest.
Nevertheless, the number of weigh-ins was similar to last year, dropping from 64 to 60. Registration was also down, by 13 per cent, from 356 to 309.
But there were several positives in the annual event, too.
“The weather was great, and the rut lined up well with the rifle hunt, as the majority of the bucks were harvested while in pursuit of a doe,” said organizer Keith Gourley.
Registration fees also helped provide donations of $700 to Hospice Renfrew and $150 to the Renfrew Fish and Game Club.
And $2,500 was raised for Renfrew Victoria Hospital from Gourley’s and Bluewave Energy’s Nov. 3 charity barbecue and bake sale.
Winners in the two-week contest included the top three in the biggest-buck division. Chris Mittag of Eganville led the way with an 11-point, 250-pound deer to win $250 cash, a $250 Gourley’s gift certificate and a buck-on-birch-bark painting donated by artist Julie Hunter.
Second-place Blake Griffith of Mink Lake’s deer was field dressed at 240 pounds for a $100 Gourley’s gift certificate, while third-place Tony Mask of Renfrew had a 12-point, 218-pounder.
Mask, 85, was also named the oldest, successful hunter. The youngest successful hunters were 13-year-olds Liam McHale of Douglas and Liam Forgie of Renfrew.
In the biggest-doe division, Darcy Norris from the Denbigh area and Chris Coady of Arnprior tied for first, at 138 pounds. Because of the tie, they split the winnings for first and second, which amounted to $75 and a $100 Gourley’s gift certificate for each of the two hunters. Colton Florent of Renfrew was third at 133.
At 17 points, Kevin Briscoe of Renfrew had the rack with the most points. That deer, which weighed in at 170 pounds, also won for the weirdest rack.
The mystery-weight winners were Greg Maguire, Rick Stroud, Raymond Caillier and Leonard Lewis. Special draw-prize winners were Mike O’Neil, with the Excalibur crossbow, and Harold Eady, with the rifle sling by Jake’s Leathercraft.