2018-11-08 / Outdoors

Switch flips for whitetail rut as bucks start to chase down does

By Alan Campbell
of the Enterprise staff


FATHER AND son, Doug and Wyatt McCoy (from left), brought home an 8 and 10-point buck in the North Manitou hunt which concluded Saturday. FATHER AND son, Doug and Wyatt McCoy (from left), brought home an 8 and 10-point buck in the North Manitou hunt which concluded Saturday. A switch turned on over the past few days, turning what had been considered an uneventful deer season into excitement for archery hunters — and drivers.

“I’ve had a lot of guys who sit out and didn’t see a lot of activity until the last four days or so,” said Bob Joyce, an avid deer hunter who plans to concentrate on firearms season. “I heard it had been quiet.”

Joyce, who resides near Omena, said he’s seen several large bucks while traveling. He’s a member of the county Road Commission and head of the Department of Public Works for Suttons Bay Village.

“I think the rut is going on. I saw a buck the other night — a huge buck — and he ran to catch up with a doe and had his hoofs on her back side. It was humorous. I hope it’s a good gun season,” Joyce said.


MIKE STOFFEL of Northport Village used a secret technique to fill a buck tag. MIKE STOFFEL of Northport Village used a secret technique to fill a buck tag. On the Leelanau Enterprise staff, Amy Hubbell encountered a mature buck crossing in front of her off South Lake Shore Drive near the Lake Leelanau RV Park about 9 p.m. Monday. And composition department head Mike Anderson had a big buck jump over the hood of his vehicle Monday at 7:15 a.m. on French Road — and then had two smaller bucks cross in front of him Tuesday at the same time.

Mark Steimel, a taxidermist from Leland Township, said he had only received one buck for mounting as of last week. A bow hunter himself, he’s not filled a tag.

“I’ve seen some deer, but there were times I sat and didn’t see anything,” Steimel said.

Northport Village resident Mike Stoffel, however, has filled a tag. He downed an 8-point last week while sitting in a just-placed pop-up blind.

Stoffel used a secret technique that he’s willing to share: Diced apples.

“I have a little trick I use,” he explained. “It seems to work really well. I take 8-10 apples an slice and dice them. I put them in a plastic bag and let them get ripe before I go hunting. Then I dump them 30-35 yards in front of my blind.

“And I’ll be darned, within an hour or two of me putting them out there, I’ve got deer. They just walk right up to it. They lick their lips and make a beeline, and here they come.”

Stoffel was hunting on state land in Leelanau Township about 250 yards into an oak stand.

“The last four bucks I’ve shot have been around 6 p.m. My other spot I hunted I saw a four-point and one huge doe. I’ve never seen a doe that big. I almost took her out because of the meat,” he said.

Stoffel, who says there are plenty of deer available, estimates that the buck was 2 1/2-years-old with an inside antler spread of 16-17 inches.

“But I’m not seeing the deer my son is seeing. He’s on private property. He had 25 does come in one night,” he said.

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