Andy Morse: 183-Inch Michigan Local Legend

Hunter: Andy Morse

Location: Oceana County, Mich.

Score: 183 4/8 inches net score (non-typical)

Gear Used: ScentLok clothing, Big Game ladder stand

November 19 is a day Andy Morse won't soon forget.

That's the day Morse killed a giant buck he'd never even seen before. The massive buck was estimated to be six-and-a-half years old, has 16 scorable points, a beautiful drop tine and a net score of 183 4/8 inches.

The night before, Morse had been struggling to properly sight in his .30-30 and was going to use his .50 caliber muzzleloader for the evening hunt. At the last minute Morse's dad suggested that he call his grandfather to borrow his old .30-06. Morse's grandpa quickly obliged and drove over to deliver the gun.

"He gave me a handful of what I would learn later was 25- to 30-year-old ammunition. Out the door I went to hunt that evening."

Later that night, with a few minutes of legal shooting light left, Morse put his grandpa's gun to the test. He lined up on a mature doe for what seemed like a "gimme" shot. When the gun didn't fire, Morse worked the action again but had the same result. As shooting light dwindled, he left frustrated. When he got home, Morse learned that he was being a bit too gentle with the old gun, and wasn't seating the bullet properly in the chamber. With a new found hope, he set out the next night looking for redemption.

After a bit of debate, Morse elected to hunt his dad's favorite hot spot, where there was a Big Game ladder stand. After a short wait, a few button bucks appeared and ate for awhile in the rye plot Morse's dad planted in the summer. Shortly after the button bucks wandered off, Morse heard the familiar breaking of twigs and knew it wasn't a small deer or turkeys. When the beast showed himself, Morse was amazed.

"My first thought was, "This is a big bodied deer." He then took a couple more steps and revealed himself to me by picking up his head. I then saw the largest set of antlers I've ever seen."

The giant whitetail slowly made his way to the small rye plot. Morse mentally coached himself to wait and be patient, and then finally had his chance at an 120-yard shot. The gun fired as he squeezed the trigger, drilling the buck right behind its shoulder. After a series of trembling text exchanges, Morse's dad arrived and they tracked the buck together. An easy 75-yard blood trail led them to the biggest buck either hunter had ever seen.

"I'm 99 percent sure this deer is going to be a new record for Oceana County. It has won the Ludington Daily News Big Buck Contest and will now be mounted by Legends Taxidermy. This has truly been an incredible experience that has changed me for the rest of my life."

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