Take all the Minnesota hunters, send them afield for nine days and who could have predicted that the heaviest buck weighed for the Big Buck Challenge was by a 15-year old sophomore, contest organizers reported.
Davis Forst was the hunter and his bank accounty is $15,000 richer thanks to the 10-point, 237.83-pound buck he bagged.
A student in Badger, Forst said he loves deer season because, “I get to spend more time with my family, and shoot deer.”
Forst’s buck won the over 200 pound division. The story was similar in the under 200 pound division, where Kade Klasen of Holt banked $10,000 for his 199.98 pound eight-point buck.
Klasen is 18 and a high school senior. Both young men will save their money for college, after either paying off a truck (in Klasen’s case) or buying a truck (Forst).
These were some of the stories of winners who claimed more than $100,000 in cash and merchandise prizes at the recent Big Buck Challenge awards ceremonies in Brainerd.
“Organizing this and watching hunter’s excitement from all corners of the state was amazing,” Big Buck president Chauncey Hanson said in a news release. “Plans are already being drawn up for a bigger and better contest for 2013, with even more opportunities to win.”
Most tickets for the contest were sold at mnbigbuck.com and Big Buck personnel manned 19 weigh stations from Elba to Strathcona and Cloquet to New Ulm. The heaviest doe was taken by first-time hunter, Anna Olsen of Lake City. She won a Polaris Sportsman 500 for her 153.58 pound doe.
In all, 70 hunters won rifles, Vortex optics, Big Game tree stands and blinds, a Liberty gun safe, cash, Polaris Sportsman 4-wheelers or Rangers and more.
The awards ceremony proved to be a re-telling of successful past season deer-camp stories and meeting new friends, but hunters were already looking forward to next season. Hanson said his plans include the over 200 and under 200 divisions but he will also add under 180 and under 160 divisions, a special youth division and several more categories. The heaviest doe contest was very popular and will again be offered in 2013.
In the under 200 pound division, 10th place winner Paul Wickham (195.41 pounds) of Motley registered a 195.41-pound deer and won a Polaris Sportsman. Brian Noe of Randall also won a Polaris Sportsman for placing 10th in the over 200 pound division with a 219.38-pound buck.
Winners, their deer weights, hometowns and photos are featured on the Big Buck website: www.mnbigbuck.com.
■ Top 10 Bucks Over 200 Pounds
1. Davis Forst, Badger, 237.83 pounds.
2. Josh Skala, Fosston, 235.62 pounds.
3. Shawn Swearingen, Cloquet, 230.22 pounds.
4. Josh Beecher, Bemidji, 227.91 pounds.
5. Izeck Lunke, Holt, 227.09 pounds.
6. Kevin Zetah, Brainerd, 223.95 pounds.
7. Jerry Gibson, Motley, 222.17 pounds.
8. Randy Lindner, Big Falls, 220.90 pounds.
9. Mark Ceynowa, Perham, 220.59 pounds.
10. Brian Noe, McGregor, 219.38 pounds.
■ Top 10 Bucks Under 200 Pounds
1. Kade Klasen, Holt, 199.98 pounds.
2. Kyle Fuller, Elba, 199.24 pounds.
3. Brandon Johnson, Holt, 198.72 pounds.
4. Gene Philip, Bemidji, 198.66 pounds.
5. Barb Sproul, Bemidji, 198.24 pounds.
6. Kyle Elsner, Virginia, 197.21 pounds.
7. Mark Stevens, Bemidji, 197.03 pounds.
8. Dan Ritter, Elk River, 196.88 pounds.
9. Zach Berg, Strathcona, 196.26 pounds.
10. Paul Wickham, Motley, 195.41 pounds.
■ Top 10 Does
1. Anna Olsen, Lake City, 153.58 pounds.
2. Sebastian Warzeha, Onamia, 148.16 pounds.
3. Jon Jackson, Brainerd, 147.78 pounds.
4. James Nichols, Fosston, 146.83 pounds.
5. Don Phaller, Finlayson, 144.86 pounds.
6. Jason Skiba, Onamia, 143.24 pounds.
7. Jordan Wahl, Strathcona, 142.89 pounds.
8. Steven Truscinski, Strathcona, 141.62 pounds.
9. Brian Gamst, St. Cloud, 139.67 pounds.
10. Cody Schnobrich, Brainerd, 138.61 pounds.