KODIAK — Stephanie Blondin defended her title and took home her third win in this year’s Eric Lochman Big Buck Contest.
“I like that a lot of guys don’t think a girl can win,” Blondin said.
The 16-year-old took first place for her buck in 2006 and again in 2012.
Blondin grew up hunting in Larsen Bay with her family. Living in a village gives her plenty of time to practice, and plenty of time to develop secret hunting spots.
“We have a lodge out in the village for 12 years now,” Blondin said. “I’ve got a feel of the place and know the area really well. I take record on what I get each year and where they’re at.”
The contest scores are determined by measurements of a buck’s rack. The criteria include the antler spread, number of points on each side and the length of the points.
Blondin said she will likely enter the contest again next year. She won a package that included a Winchester rifle, backpack, and other hunting tools valued at $2,180.
The contest, which has been growing in participation, had fewer submissions this year than in past years.
“We had more people sign up for the contest this year than last year, but the deer just weren’t out there,” said Roberto Aragon of Mack’s Sport Shop.
Mack’s usually sees over 100 submissions, but this year only saw 27. In the 2011 contest there were 124 submissions.
“The deer were hard to come by because of the hard winter,” Aragon said. “All I saw when I went out was does and fawns, no bucks.”
Last year the top 15 scores were all greater than 100. This year, Blondin was the only hunter who broke 100, with a score of 111 4/8. She was more than 14 points ahead of Scott Detores who had a rack of 96 7/8. In third was Jessie Michelson with a rack of 94 7/8.
Aragon said Mack’s thought about not doing the contest because of the tough deer season, but the store already had prizes lined up.
“We decided it was in the best interest of the community to keep it going,” Aragon said.
Mack’s gave away around $11,000 in prizes to top 10 scores. Next year the store plans to increase the prizes to $14,000.