2018-11-08 / Outdoors

96 hunters explore North Manitou Island

It didn’t take long for Wyatt McCoy of Lake Leelanau to take down a trophy buck in the North Manitou Island deer hunt.

McCoy shot his 10-point buck 10 minutes into the hunt, which ran from Oct. 27 through Saturday.

“This year was nice. It was perfect weather to hunt,” said McCoy, whose buck dressed out at 195 pounds. “It’s pretty thick (vegetation) out there.”

His father, Doug McCoy of Bingham Township, dropped an 8-point on the fourth day of the hunt, Oct. 31. It dressed out at 165.

The McCoys were among 96 hunters who participated in the week-long hunt which ended Saturday. Some 48 deer were taken — 17 bucks and 31 does.

The largest buck bagged had an 11-point rack.

Even so, McCoy said he thought deer numbers were down.

“I was out there seven days and in that time I saw 11 deer,” he said.

This year’s harvest of 17 bucks is the lowest since 2014 when just 12 male deer were taken. It is also about half the 32 brought off the island during the 2017 hunt, which was marked by cold, rainy conditions.

Since 2009, the number of bucks taken during the 7-day hunt is just over 12.

However, the number of participants has grown dramatically since 2013.

That year, 30 hunters returned to the mainland with seven bucks; four does.

In 2014, 41 hunters made the trip; the following year there were 49.

The biggest jump in participation was from 2014 to 2015, when the number of participants increased by a third from 49 to 77.

The hunt, meant to control the deer herd and preserve the natural vegetation on the island, was the fourth shared by the McCoy father and son.

“It’s not for everyone. It’s something we do together,” he said.

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