The deer’s spread measured at 18inches and it was unofficially scored at 151 points. It hasn’t been officially weighed yet, but Ken Falk estimated it was about 160 pounds.
The two were hunting out of a blind near a cornfield at about 9:15 a.m. Sunday about halfway between Manistee and Onekama when the big buck emerged. “We saw about 20 doe in the morning, then he came walking out,” Ken Falk said. “All I saw when that thing came out of the pine trees was the rack.”
The dear was about 25 to 30 yards from the blind. Ken Falk said they had seen the buck while out scouting Wednesday, but didn’t expect it to come out Sunday.
Nick was armed with a .44 Magnum lever action Winchester lent to him by the son of another local police officer, city police department Sgt. Steve Schmeling’s 13-year-old son, Tad.
“I gave my son the gun, he put it up, aimed it. He shot, the deer did the big kick, so I knew he hit him good,” Ken Falk said. “The deer ran about 25-30 yards. And that’s where we found him.”
Nicholas got the buck in the lungs. When it dropped, father and son were stunned. “We freaked out at that point,” Falk said. “I grabbed a hold of him and said, ‘You just shot the biggest buck ever.’”
Emotions ran high. “My dad and I were so happy, we started crying,” Nick said. “It was a big deer.” The 11-year-old said his grandma even cried when she saw the deer.
“No one in my family has ever shot a buck that big, and they’ve been hunting a long time,” he said.
Paul Schaffley will provide the head mount of the deer. Ken Falk said his son is excited to continue hunting in the future, but warned him that this buck may be a once in a lifetime occurrence. “I told him if he sees more of these in his lifetime it would be amazing,” he said. “He was in the right place at the right time.”
In honor of shooting such a big deer, Tad Schmeling plans on giving Nicholas the gun he shot him with. “It’s a very emotional moment to see you son get their first buck,” Tad’s dad, Steve, said.