It was an upside down season for the TylerPaper’s 34th annual Big Buck Contest with North Texas outperforming South Texas in deer quality.
It was also a year of firsts, with a very competitive first Girls’ Division.
Nolan Scruggs of Jacksonville won the North Texas Division with the season’s largest buck, a 161-inch, 12-point Cherokee County deer.
In contrast, Tim Parma, Tyler, won the South Texas Division with a 10-point McMullen County buck scoring 148 6/8. It was the only deer entered from South Texas.
Tyler’s Pam Lott won the Women’s Division with a 10-point McCulloch County buck scoring 138 6/8.
In the youth divisions, Hunter Low, 12, Flint, won the Boys’ Division with a 14-point Dimmit County buck scoring 160 1/8. Samantha Merrifield, 15, Hewitt, won the Girls’ Division by a half inch with a 10-point Anderson County buck that scored 143 3/8.
Scruggs won the North Texas division hunting a deer he saw on camera in the summer before the 2011 season as a 9-point and again in 2012 as a 10-point.
Hunting a feeder before Thanksgiving, Scruggs finally got his chance at the buck.
The deer had a 16-inch inside spread and a longest main beam length of 22 4/8 inches. The longest tine was 10 2/8 inches and the large circumference base measurement was 4 6/8 inches.
Ron Lott was second in the North Texas Division with a McCulloch County 14-point buck scoring 160 3/8. The buck had an inside spread of 15 2/8 inches and a longest main beam of 22 4/8 inches. The longest tine measured 9 7/8 inches and the largest base circumference measurement was 4 1/8.
Hunting the third week of the regular season, Parma’s hunt started slow. Encouraged to return to a blind for a second evening, he immediately had deer in front of him. Eventually that included the 10-point buck he was looking for.
The buck had an inside spread of 18 6/8 inches and a longest main beam of 22 3/8 inches. The longest tine was 8 5/8 inches and the largest circumference at the base was 4 7/8 inches.
Pam Lott was on her third trip to the McCulloch County lease when she finally spotted a buck she wanted to take.
She watched the deer about an hour before taking a shot. But when she went to look for the deer it wasn’t there and she assumed she had missed the shot. However, after dropping her off at the stand again that afternoon, her husband, Ron, spotted the dead deer as he was driving away.
The buck had an 18 1/8-inch inside spread and a longest main beam of 21 4/8 inches. The longest measured 9 1/8 inches and the largest base circumference measurement was 3 5/8.
Susan Bergfeld, Tyler, was second with a 10-point Sana Saba County buck scoring 138 1/8. 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.
Winners in each adult division received a Remington .270-caliber rifle and a mount of their deer. Second place winners received gift certificates.
In the first Girls’ Division Merrifield was hunting with her uncle during the early season youth-only weekend when she took her deer.
Hunting the last morning, they saw a buck sneaking though the woods. Her uncle blew a grunt call and the deer started toward them. When the buck turned broadside, Merrifield got her shot.
It had an inside spread of 16 5/8 inches and a longest main beam length of 23 1/8 inches. It had a longest tine measurement of 9 3/8 inches and a 4-inch circumference at the base.
Flint’s Sydney Morris, 12, was second with a Dimmit County 9-pointer scoring 142 7/8.
Morris, was hunting with her father, Brad, when she took the buck that 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.
Millie Martin, 10, Tyler, was third with a 9-point McCulloch County buck scoring 137 6/8.
Martin was hunting with her dad, Mike Martin Jr., when she took her deer that had a 22 3/8-inch longest main beam and an inside spread of 16 1/8 inches. The longest tine was 10 3/8 inches and the largest base circumference measurement was 3 6/8 inches.
Low, who had to sit out of last year’s contest after having won the two previous seasons, was also hunting around Thanksgiving when he took his buck. His dad, Rodney, spotted the deer while working at the lease and had a friend drive Hunter down for the hunt.
Low shot the deer once heard limbs breaking as it ran into the woods, but while waiting a buck walked back out to the feeder. It was the same buck. A second shot dropped the deer for good.
The buck had a 17 7/8-inch inside spread and a longest main beam of 24 7/8. The longest tine was 11 1/8 inches and largest circumference mass was 4 5/8 inches.
George Bergfeld, 10, Tyler, was second with an 11-point San Saba County buck scoring 142 1/8.
Bergfeld was hunting with his dad, Andy, when he took his deer that 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.
Will Martin, 7, Tyler, finished third with an 11-point McCulloch County buck scoring 138 4/8.
The younger brother of Millie Martin, his buck had a 16-inch inside spread and a longest main beam of 20 7/8 inches. The longest tine measure 12 3/8 inches the largest base circumference measurement was 3 6/8.
Winners in the youth divisions received a mount of their deer. Second- and third-place finishers received gift certificates.
The Big Buck Contest was sponsored by 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.