Registration is free, but hunters must register at least 24 hours before taking their deer. Hunters may register 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.
The contest has three adult divisions: North Texas, South Texas and Women’s. Winners in each division will receive a Remington .270-caliber rifle and a mount of their deer. Second-place winners will receive gift certificates.
There is already an early leader in the North Texas division. Hunting with a crossbow on the opening weekend of the archery season, Lonnie Lippert, Euless, took a 10-point, 4 ½-year-old Henderson County buck scoring 129 5/8.
No deer taken within a high-fence property may be entered in the contest.
There are two rule changes this season. Only bucks with hardened antlers may be entered in the contest. This eliminates so-called velvet-horned deer from the competition. The change was made not because velvet-horned deer aren’t bucks, but because the velvet covering provides a scoring advantage.
Also beginning this season 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. 27, one week after the regular season closes in South Texas.