2017-12-07 / Outdoors

Garton gets another 10-point

By Jay Bushen
Sports Editor

CARY GARTON shot his second buck of deer season last Thursday, a 10-point, “in Leelanau County.” CARY GARTON shot his second buck of deer season last Thursday, a 10-point, “in Leelanau County.” Cary Garton will have none of the “slow season” narrative frequently referenced by county deer hunters.

“If guys put in the time, they’re going to get deer here,” Garton said.

Garton, who was pictured in an October edition of the Enterprise with a 10-point he tagged in bow season, bagged his second buck of 2017 — a beauty of a 10-point — last Thursday from the same stand “in Leelanau County.” He said a neighboring hunter likely drove the beast into his line of sight at about 5 p.m.

The trophy buck is a tribute to quality deer management, Garton said.

“The QDM is dynamite, there’s no doubt,” he said. “This is proof.”

So too, perhaps, were the 8-points Garton shot in 2015 and 2016 — not to mention the 12-point monster that made a 9 a.m. appearance on his trail cam last month.

Successful hunters across the county, including Leelanau County Sheriff Mike Borkovich, seem to agree.

“This is what happens when you don’t shoot fork horns,” said Borkovich, who stopped by the Enterprise with Garton Friday morning.

Deer seem healthy, too.

Mike Gabourie Jr. of Gabe’s Country Smoked Meats said he’s processed about a dozen deer weighing 200 pounds or more. Mild winters and an abundant food supply have certainly helped the cause, Gabourie said.

“Right now, those deer don’t have to move,” he said. “It’s 45 degrees and there’s still greens in the woods. They don’t have to paw or nothin.’”

Processed deer numbers at Gabe’s are “a little down from last year,” Gabourie said, but “not by much.”

Quality has been noteworthy.

“We’ve seen a lot of good ones,” Gabourie said. “Real nice 10s. Lots of 10-points this year, compared to last year when there was a lot of 8s.”

That said, it seems both quality and quantity have been noteworthy this year.

Steve Griffith, a wildlife biologist at the Department of Natural Resources Traverse City Customer Service Center, said the overall number of firearm deer from Leelanau County brought to the check station is about half of what it was in 2016.

“We have seen a few dandies, though, (including) at least one we figure was 5-and-a-half-years old,” Griffith sad. “It was getting mounted so we didn’t get a good look at his teeth.”

Want to weigh in on the conversation? Sportsmen are encouraged to call us at 256-9827 or email buck photos to jason@leelanaunews.com. Please include date, distance, score and any other details readers may find interesting.

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