Hunting the same lease, Tyler's Amanda Blomdahl moved into second in the Women's Division with a 10-pointer scoring 142 6/8.
Spivey, who now lives in Katy, was facing a shortened hunt on the Dougherty Ranch because of work.
“I only had Monday evening and all day Tuesday and Wednesday to hunt. I could tell the rut had started because the deer were chasing, but the weather was so hot that the deer weren't really feeding during shooting time. All that made me nervous to the likelihood of seeing a big deer,” Spivey said.
It turned out that two days were all he needed.
“Tuesday morning, Bill Blomdahl had hunted in the same area and seen a good deer in the distance that may be a shooter. He hunted a different area of the ranch later that day, so I slipped in where he was in case the deer he saw came out again and in shooting distance.
The area I was hunting was a sprawling area with sparse patches of brush on one side and a small pond next to heavy brush on the other side … all separated by a levee that we ultimately put a pop-up blind on that I hunted out of,” Spivey explained.
While it turned out not to be the buck seen that morning, Spivey still got a good shot on a buck that came in after chasing a doe.
The buck had an inside spread of 16 5/8 inches and a longest main beam of 23 1/8 inches. The longest tine measured 10 6/8 inches and the greatest base circumference was 3 6/8.
“When I was 13 years old I shot my first deer with dad. For being 13, the 7-point that I bagged was until now one of my proudest moments. But who wouldn't want a bigger buck memory, especially now that I'm 24,” she said.
The hunt started slow in terms of deer, but was still a good trip.
“The best part is that throughout the teases of nature during the hunt I got to spend special quality time with my dad,” Blomdahl said.
It was the waning minutes of the final day before the action picked up.
“It wasn't till the very last hunt of the very last day, 20 minutes before dark that we saw my new trophy. It came out of the brush in the dim light of dusk and managed to keep safe from my aim behind a feeder within a pen,” Blomdahl said.
Now they were looking at a 5 ½-year-old buck at 135 yards with no shot made the wait seem much longer than 10 minutes.
“All we needed him to do was take one more full step and we would have had our open shot. To our dismay, hogs in the brush startled him and he managed to hop the fence and disappear five minutes before the black of night. For a minute it seemed like it just wasn't going to be the year I'd earn my stripes,” she said.
But with time running out on the day and the hunt, the two could see its antlers in a among the limbs of tree. Two steps later, the buck was on the ground.
“When I arrived at the lease I was optimistic I'd get a chance at bragging rights. When I left the lease, I left with the fulfillment of killing the biggest deer of everyone that hunted that week and a new memory with my dad,” Blomdahl said.
Tyler's Pam Lott continues to lead the division with a 14-point McCulloch County buck that scored 149 1/8. Beverly Minson, Tyler, drops out of the standings.
Tyler's Earl Brady continues to lead the North Texas Division with a 9-point Throckmorton County buck scoring 158 7/8, while Tyler's Jason Ruark is second with a 10-point Callahan County buck scoring 151 5/8.
Cooper Hill, 8, Tyler, leads the Youth division with a 9-point Anderson County buck scoring 156. Tyler's Clayton Bochow, 15, is second with a DeWitt County 10-point buck scoring 145.
Cole Findley, 11, Flint, is third with an 11-point Concho County buck scoring 142 5/8.
Registration continues and is free at any of the contest sponsors: 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.
Hunters must register at least 24 hours before taking 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.