Evart hunter is rifle division winner in Big Buck Classic

EVART — Dennis Militello, of Evart, received a reward for having bagged his biggest buck during the 2015 firearm deer hunting season.

Militello received his prize recently, a muzzleloader with scope from Dr John Bailey, of Big Rapids, for winning first place in the rifle division of the 2015 Pioneer Big Buck Classic.

It was on opening day, Nov. 15, when Militello landed his trophy. It was a 12-point buck with 23 1/2-inch rack span in Van Buren County. The Evart resident used one shot from his shot gun for his 20th career deer.

He hunted even after that but didn’t get anything.

“I’ve seen a lot of does and small bucks,” he said. “But it’s nothing worth taking. It depends on where you were in the state. There’s a lot in the southern part of the state a lot of big bucks taken. Around here, my neighbor shot a really nice 10-point. There’s a lot of good bucks.”

Militello had been hunting in the past at Van Buren.

“I had been up until the guy sold the property,” he said. “I won’t be going back down.”

Militello also had done some goose and duck hunting in the past.

“But I didn’t do any this year,” he said. “I just concentrated on killing that buck. It’s four years we’ve been watching him.”

Militello indicated prospects for next winter depend on the weather.

“So far, it’s been a mild winter,” he said. “They didn’t have any snow until January so the deer will get by this pretty good.”

But Militello won’t soon forget the buck he shot in 2015.

“It’s the best I killed and probably the best I ever will,” 

Other place finishers in the rifle division were: second, Shawn Renne, Rodney; third, Jacob Macurio, Chase; fourth, Jeff Mehl, Big Rapids; fifth, Tom Holbeck, Blanchard; sixth, Eva VanDyke, Grand Haven and editor’s choice, Bob Leach, Big Rapids.