There were three changes in the TylerPaper’s 34th annual Big Buck Contest over the Thanksgiving holidays, including a new leader in the Women’s Division and two second-place holders in both the Boys’ and Girls’ divisions.
Thanksgiving is all about family gatherings, and this year a Tyler family used the holidays to join the leaders.
What makes it a little unusual is that the two are grandmother and grandson. Susan Bergfeld, Tyler, has moved into the lead of the Women’s Division with a 10-point San Saba County buck scoring 138 1/8. Her grandson, George, 10, has taken over second in the Boys’ Division with an 11-point buck scoring 142 1/8.
In the Girls’ Division, Flint’s Sydney Morris has moved into second with a Dimmit County 9-pointer scoring 142 7/8.
“Our family loves Thanksgiving. To me it is the best holiday — no presents or decorations,” Susan Bergfeld said.
Instead, she noted, the family has spent the last 32 years going to their Hill Country ranch to hunt, starting in a time before there were cell phones and satellite television. This year’s hunt included 13 family members and three dogs.
“Deer hunting to me is not the anticipation of shoot something, rather it is the time you spend with your family, stories about the hunt, sunsets, s’mores around the campfire and the life-long memories you make together,” she said.
This year she was hunting with her daughter, Susie, when she shot her buck.
“We had so much fun together and will never forget the challenge of following the blood trail, finding the buck in the heavy brush, getting it out before it got too dark to see and then coming back to get the men to do the dirty work,” Bergfeld said.
The buck had a 14 6/8-inch inside spread and a longest main beam of 19 1/8 inches. The longest tine measured 9 4/8 and the largest base measurement was 4 6/8.
With the entry Laci Laird, Tyler, drops to second with a 10-point Anderson County buck scoring 126 5/8.
George Bergfeld was hunting with his dad, Andy, when he took his deer.
“I told him he had to wait on a 140 or better since he had already shot a 130 this year. He passed up four 10 points this weekend before taking this buck,” the father said.
The two were stalking through a native pecan grove near the San Saba River when they first spotted a small buck. After a few more steps another buck started moving toward the river.
“The bucks had been really chasing the doe all weekend and I told George that many times the small bucks will be around the edges when a doe is in heat and to be on the lookout for a big buck. As we eased up to the rise where the deer had gone, I looked down the grove to my left and this monster was standing down at the end of the lane,” Andy Bergfeld said.
It only took a quick glance to know it was a shooter.
“The deer was a pretty good distance off and, even as strong as he is, I knew George couldn’t freehand it. I sat down sideways and told him to sit and use my knee as a rest. He shot and the deer spun around and started to head down to the river. He jacked another shell in and I said this is it you better make it count. As the buck was about to disappear into the brush I gave a loud grunt and got him to stop one last time. He fired again and the buck took off down toward the river,” the father said.
After waiting nearly an hour they found the big buck.
“This was a buck no one had seen on the thousands of trail camera pictures my dad and brother have scoured over in the last few months. Just goes to show you that you don’t know every deer on the place in a low fence environment,” he added.
The buck had a 16-inch inside spread and a longest main beam of 20 2/8 inches. The longest tine was 9 4/8 inches and the largest base circumference measurement was 4 3/8.
Hunter Low, Flint, remains first in the Boys’ Division with a 14-point Dimmit County buck scoring 160 1/8. Will Martin, 7, Tyler, falls to third with an 11-point McCulloch County buck scoring 138 4/8. Sawyer Parker of Mansfield drops out of the standings.
Morris, 12, was hunting with her father, Brad, when she took the buck with a 125-yard shot on the El Regalo Ranch in South Texas.
The buck had an inside spread of 20 1/8 inches and a longest main beam of 25 inches. The longest tine was 8 6/8 inches and the largest base circumference measurement was 4 inches.
Samantha Merrifield, 15, Hewitt, leads the Girls’ Division by a half inch with a 10-point Anderson County buck that scored 143 3/8. Millie Martin, 10, Tyler falls to third with a 10-point McCulloch County buck scoring 137 6/8.
In the other divisions, Nolan Scruggs, Jacksonville, leads the North Texas Division with a 12-point Cherokee County buck scoring 161. Tyler’s Ron Lott is second with a McCulloch 14-point buck scoring 160 3/8.
Tim Parma, Tyler, is still the only entry in the South Texas Division with a 10-point McMullen County buck scoring 148 6/8.
Registration continues for the Big Buck Contest and is free at any of the contest sponsors including: The Tire Barn, 13687 FM 206 at Spur 364; Army/Navy Store of Tyler, 1201 E.SE. Loop 323; East Texas Seed, Cotton Belt Rail Yard; Lynch’s Food Store, 3400 E. Fifth; Mac’s Gun Shop, 213 E. Elm; Noonday Gun Trader, 14674 Texas 155 South; and Still Life Taxidermy, 1415 E. Tyler St., Athens. Participating hunters must register at least 24 hours before taking their deer.
Winners in each adult division will receive a Remington .270-caliber rifle and a mount of their deer. Second-place winners will receive gift certificates.
Winners in the two youth divisions, open to hunters 16 and under, will receive a mount of their buck. Second and third place winners will receive a gift certificate.
No deer taken within a high-fence property may be entered in the contest and only bucks with hardened antlers may be entered in the contest. All deer must be taken to either Still Life Taxidermy or Lynch’s Food Store within 10 days of being harvested to be entered in the contest. The contest runs through Jan. 26, one week after the regular season closes in South Texas.