COSHOCTON — In an unusual move, Coshocton County Commissioners have taken possession of a deer head, one of the most famous from the local area.
Known as Hayrake, the 26-point buck with a 228-inch score on the Boone & Crockett trophy scoring system, was a legend among local hunters for several years. It was named for its antlers resembling the agricultural tool. Those lucky enough to see it traded pictures and tales of the deer for a longtime, but nobody was ever able to bag it.
In December 2018, Junior L. Troyer of Millersburg was was convicted of providing false information while game-checking a deer, attaching a game-check number to a deer that was originally issued to another, taking more than one antlered deer in a licensed year, possessing deer or deer parts without valid tag or permit and attaching an anterless doe game-check number to an antlered deer. All were third-degree misdemeanors.
The Amish man was fined $150 for each charge and ordered to pay $87 in court costs and restitution of $27,904.46 to the State of Ohio, based on the deer's value. Coshocton Municipal Court records show all was paid.
According to court records, Troyer shot an 8-point buck earlier in the day on Nov. 7. He went back out hunting in the evening and shot the 26-pointer.
Troyer decapitated both deer and tagged in the body of the 8-pointer with the head of the 26-pointer. The next morning he checked in the headless body of the 26-pointer as a doe. He threw the head of the 8-point buck in a ditch, which was later recovered by authorities.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources took possession of the mounted head. Coshocton County Wildlife Officer Jerrod Allison felt Hayrake should stay local and petitioned ODNR for it to stay in Coshocton County. However, a public entity needed to take possession of it. That's where the commissioners came in.
The deer has been on loan to the Coshocton County Sportsman's Association. Hayrake was on display at its booth during the Coshocton County Fair. Commissioners believe the CCSA is the best entity to have the deer for not only public display, but security they can offer at its facility, 21280 Township Road 283.
One caveat is that Hayrake can be borrowed at anytime by the Coshocton County Chamber of Commerce and the Coshocton Convention and Visitors Bureau for special display at conventions and the like. Commissioner Gary Fischer said Coshocton County is well known for deer hunting and the head certainly has marketing and publicity value.
"If they're doing something to promote Coshocton County, deer hunting is big revenue generator here," Fischer said.
Chuck Wiseman of the CCSA said that won't be a problem and they're glad to make Hayrake viewable to the general public. They also paid to have it mounted.
"It's probably the largest deer taken in Coshocton County, unfortunately it got poached," Fischer said. "It's unfortunate a hunter didn't take this buck of a lifetime by legal methods."
This article originally appeared on Coshocton Tribune: Legendary buck to be displayed in Coshocton County