It’s been 25 years since we started our Big Buck Contest for Pioneer and Performance Premixes customers. The contest continues to create new friendships across the state. It is exciting to have the farmers show off pictures of the huge rack bucks they shot.

In 2023 we have five nice bucks that will look great on the wall.

First place Rifle South winner is Stan Maciag of Morrisville, NY. In autumn 2022, Stan passed on this buck, thinking he would be bigger the next year. Fast forward to the opening day of the autumn 2023 season, and Stan’s delayed gratification paid off. The buck had grown bigger and this time, it didn’t get passed over. Stan was in his hunting spot, sitting behind a tree, when the 11-point buck was chasing a doe. The buck offered an 80-yard shot and Stan had a great shot with his dependable Browning 270.

2023 Performance Premixes Big Buck Contest winners

First place Rifle South winner Stan Maciag

Rifle South Honorable Mention is Reid Maciag of Morrisville. In 2022, Reid took first place with a great buck. Reid and his dad Stan have done quite well in the Performance Premixes Big Buck Contests. Reid had been watching this buck from spring to bow season. Reid came close to getting a shot during bow season, but the huge buck made to rifle season. It was the second day of the season when Reid decided to stop chopping corn stalks to do some hunting before losing daylight. He set up on a rock pile where he could watch an overgrown pasture and a corn field. The 10-point came into the overgrown pasture with a doe and a smaller buck. The 10-point buck started to chase the smaller buck away and then started to move with his doe to the corn field, where Reid took the opportunity for a 100-yard shot with his Browning 7mm Mag.

Rifle South Honorable Mention Reid Maciag

First place Bow winner is Garth Fuess from Madison, NY. Garth and his dad Gary have been winners in previous years. They both won in the Rifle and Bow categories. On a rainy day in the first week of October, Garth was in one of his favorite stands where he had had previous success harvesting wall-hanging bucks. This 10-point buck came out, making a tough shot, but Garth let the arrow go. It was a hit, but on the low side, and the buck ran to the other side of the stand, giving Garth a better killing shot. It was a good shot, but the buck, not giving up, took off a short distance. Garth, not taking any chances losing the 10-point, put one more arrow in the beast to take him down.

First place Bow winner Garth Fuess

First place Rifle North winner is Mike Trnchik of Taberg, NY. This buck was worth the wait. “We had been watching this buck for three years on the trail cam,” Mike said. The opportunity to take a shot came on an early Sunday November morning. It was just daylight when Mike noticed a large-body deer cutting the edge of the field. He knew this was the one he’d been watching. With a clear shot at 230 yards, Mike raised his 7mm Mag and took down this excellent 11-point buck.

Mike Trnchik, Rifle North winner

Muzzleloader winner is Eric Croniser of Boonville, NY. Eric was in his tower stand in early evening this autumn, during muzzleloader season, when this 8-point buck decided to come within 90 yards. It was a great steady shot, but the 8-point ran into a thick patch of cover. Not sure where the buck went with smoke of the muzzleloader, Eric called his son Jake to assist him in finding the buck. After a short bit of persistence, the 8-point was found hung up in the thick area in a small tree.

Muzzleloader winner Eric Croniser’s buck

Youth winner is Zach Adams of Vernon, NY. For the second year in a row, Zach gives credit to his lucky orange Pioneer hat. Zach has harvested many deer with this hat. This time it was on a rainy weekend in October. Zach and his dad Steve were hunting along a ditch line between two fields. Taking some shelter under pine trees to keep dry for a couple of hours, not seeing any deer come out, Zach and Steve decided to hunt on the way back to their truck. Going cautiously along ditch line, this 11-point buck jumped up 20 yards from the surprised pair. Zach acted quickly and safely to take a clear shot of this special buck.

Youth winner Zach Adams

Hunting is a sensational sport to share with family and friends. All these stories are special ones for sure. It’s great to take some time off the farm to enjoy a successful hunt. Of course, we all can end the season without filling out a deer tag, but it’s always special to enjoy the outdoors.

Congratulations to all the winners! You all did a job keeping all the taxidermists busy. We always look forward to this autumn for more successful hunts.

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