BITELY, Mich. - How much are you willing to spend for a trophy buck? You can celebrate open firearm season by spending $20,000 for a genetically-bred trophy buck at Legends Ranch.
The pampered hunt is not for everyone and it's not without some controversy. However, the high-fenced operation houses some of the world's largest white tail bucks. Legends Ranch, located in Bitely, is one of the biggest commercial hunting outfits in the U.S., genetically breeding record-breaking bucks. Head guide and Taxidermist, Randy Flanery, said anyone can have their shot at a trophy buck for a professional price.
"Yeah there's a small fee. Our trophy hunts start at $20,000 and go down to $13,000. Those are for the biggest animals you can find," said Flanery.
Legends Ranch holds the Safari Club International world record for 224 inches typical, which measures the length of each tine, the main beams, spread, and the mass of the animal. Hunters worldwide travel here for a week of luxury and guided hunting. And when guests tire of hunting, there are multiple lakes and ponds on property for fishing, even a 24/7, on-call masseuse.
"I always say it's just a big boy scout camp," said Flanery.
Pristine acreage ringed by miles of high fence holds some of the world's most prized whitetail deer. Greg Dietrich is another guide for the ranch who said they're able to host safari style hunts all year long because they're a commercial entity and the deer are fenced in on private property. But nothing is guaranteed.
"We don't guarantee any animal," said Dietrich. "We're hunting a 2,000-acre ranch so these animals can be anywhere and hide anywhere, and we don't guarantee anything other than coming out and having a good time."
Dietrich said each animal is strategically harvested which helps build the population of mature deer while preserving the best genetics for trophy hunters. It's a controversial style of hunting which Flanery said more and more people are trending towards.
"The hunting industry, the whitetail industry, has evolved tremendously," said Flanery. "I have been here twenty years, if you will and I've see it all happen. It’s just increased over the last seven to eight years. It’s really blossomed to your trophy animals. This is the way the future is trending to a point throughout the United States."
Legends Ranch typically runs deer hunts from September through December, but offer their services throughout the year. You can even book a wedding there.