Hunters heading out for Saturday’s opening of Texas’ regular season have time to register in the Tyler Morning Telegraph’s 33rd annual Big Buck Contest.
Registration is free at any of the contest sponsors, but hunters must register at least 24 hours before taking their deer. Sponsors include: 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.
Lonnie Lippert, Euless, leads the North Texas Division with a 10-point Henderson County buck taken opening weekend in Henderson County. The 4 -year-old deer scored 129 5/8.
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 are two youth divisions — North and South. The winners in each division will receive a mount of their buck. Second- and third-place winners receive gift certificates.
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.
HUNTERS CAN HELP NEEDY
The Hunters for the Hungry program provides quality meat for meals for low-income people across the state, and the program remains free for Tyler-area hunters who want to participate.
Last year, hunters statewide donated 153,000 pounds of venison to the program, providing an estimated 600,000 servings.
Through the Hunters for the Hungry program, hunters take their excess venison to participating processors. In most cases those processors charge $40 for processing and wrapping the meat.
In Tyler, Lynch’s Food Store and the East Texas Woods and Waters Foundation have teamed to make the program free. Lynch’s owner, Joe Lynch, donates the labor and in recent years ETWWF has underwritten the cost of materials.
Last year, hunters donated about 1,400 pounds of venison through Lynch’s, providing an estimated 5,600 servings.
This season, Lynch’s is the only Hunters for the Hungry participating processor in the surrounding area.
The only restriction in the Tyler program is that the deer must be delivered to Lynch’s, 3400 E. Fifth, with the hide off.
Deer may be delivered during daily store hours.
TOWER PHEASANT SHOOT SET
The shoot is a 500 pheasant shoot.
For more information, contact Billy Burnett at 903-714-7574 or go online to www.hiddenlakeshuntin gresort.com.
AREA ANGLERS TAKE SECOND
Even a 9.9-pound big bass couldn’t help the East Texans, who lost to the father-son team of Bubba Haralson of Del Rio and Charlie Haralson of Laredo. The Haralsons weighed six bass totaling 45.9 pounds.
The tournament winners took home a Skeeter ZX20 bass boat rigged with a Yamaha 225. Second place paid $3,000.
Keel and Duran’s big bass was the biggest of seven 9-pound bass weighed in the tournament, but it wasn’t the two-day event’s big fish. There was also a 10.25 and an 11.27 weighed.