Shane Smith leads Buck’s Big Buck Contest

Brian Larsen

One-quarter of the way through the two-week Minnesota firearm deer-hunting season, Grand Marais hunter Shane Smith has the top entry in “Buck’s Big Buck Contest.”

Smith registered a 212- pound beauty early in the contest. His deer eclipsed the 201-pound leader entered by Brian Peterman of Big Lake, Minnesota. Bruce Collson of Stillwater, Minnesota is currently in third place with a 194.8-pound deer.

Smith’s buck also has the most massive antler spread so far at 20 3/4 inches.

The winner of the heaviest (largest dressed weight) buck will receive a new rifle. Half of the entry money will go to the hunter who brought in the deer with the largest antler spread, and the other half of the money will go to the winner of the drawing, which is pulled from the pool of applicants who paid $10 each to enter. This year 383 people signed up for the drawing before the Friday, November 3 deadline.

With only eight entries on the board through Wednesday, November 8, many more of the 383 hunters entered in the contest are expected to bring in deer. The firearms deer season opened November 5 and ends November 19. Bow hunters and those using muzzleloaders have a more extended season to hunt.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reports that the state has about 500,000 people who hunt with firearms, although many choose not to hunt. Typically 70 percent of the deer harvested are registered in the first three or four days of the season. The DNR estimates that deer hunters and other hunters and those that participate in watching wildlife, bring in more than $1.3 billion to the state’s economy each year.

Paul Telander, DNR wildlife chief, estimates that when Minnesota’s deer season ends on Sunday, December 31, it is quite likely the harvest will be in the 200,000 range.

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