Southern Sportsman Big Buck Contest sign up has begun

Published 12:16 am Sunday, September 3, 2006

It is hard to believe that nine years have past since Bert Beebe and I sat in his taxidermy shop and decided to organize the Southern Sportsman Big Buck Contest. It was our intention that the contest is fair to all hunters in south Mississippi, and that is why we placed the restrictions on the contest.
Many hunters have the opportunity to travel to north Mississippi and have the chance to harvest some 120-140 class deer and in some cases better. We really wanted a contest that would spotlight the southern part of the state and the deer offered here. Today, the emphasis is on the score of a buck no matter if it was taken in Canada or Florida, this is not actually fair. 
If you have been able to travel to Texas, Kansas, Canada or some of the other states that commonly offer 140 class bucks and better, that is great and you get spoiled to that. To be able to walk into a field and glass 10-15 bucks feeding with 30-40 does and subordinate bucks is nice. Then to sit in a tripod stand or climbing stand and have 20-50 deer a day walk under you is not hard in these areas.
Don’t get me wrong, any true hunter deserves to have these days and experience them, but there is some thing that we do not take into account, geographical scoring.
Geographical scoring is being talked about within the rank and file of novice and professional deer hunters. To come to south Mississippi and harvest a 110-120 class buck is admirable, and to harvest a buck above 130 is about the some as a 150 class buck up north. With this thought in mind, Bert and I penned the rules as follows.
First, any buck entered into the contest must be harvested within the season it is entered. The buck must also have horns attached and not be mounted. Bucks entered must be taken by legal means and not hit by automobiles.
Anyone signing up for the contest must have a resident Mississippi hunting license. This rule makes it easier for Bert and me to police the honesty of the contest. Since the contest is free and loaded with great prizes, some folks may try and take advantage of the rules.
One change has been made to the district in which a buck can be harvested. Since the deer seasons in Mississippi have been broken up into two separate zones, we will be using the counties within zone two. Don’t get confused here.
Zone two is open in most of Covington, Jones, Wayne and some of Jefferson Davis counties since the zoning line split the four counties in half. In years past, these counties were not in the allotted area but now they are.
As of this year, the allotted counties the deer can be harvested and entered are Jefferson Davis, Covington, Jones, Wayne, Marion, Lamar, Forrest, Perry, Greene, Pearl River, Stone, George, Hancock, Harrison and Jackson.
The two most important rules of the whole contest are, first you have to go and sign up between Sept 1st and October 14th at one of the local sponsors. As of this week the sign up forms are located at The Deer Stand, Wal-Mart Outdoor Department and Stewarts Farm and Garden Supply. It is totally FREE to enter the contest, but I do not have a signed form prior to October 14, you will not be able to enter a buck for scoring under any conditions.
The second rule is that the buck must be taken to Beebe’s Taxidermy on Liberty Rd. to be scored. Just because you take it to Beebe’s to be scored does not mean that it has to be mounted by them but it does have to be scored by Bert Beebe to be counted in the contest.
All scoring by Bert and his secret panel of judges is final     
The contest will allow deer to be entered beginning October 15th until February 16th.
I know this only gives a day to get the buck to Beebe’s if you harvest it on the last day, but if it is a good one I am sure you will not leave it hanging around.
As of now the sponsors for the contest are The Deer Stand, Beebe’s Taxidermy, J-Kaulk Firestopping, Wal-Mart, Avon Manufacturing, Stewart’s Farm and Garden, Pearl River County Soil and Water District, WRJW and Picayune Item. I am working with several other sponsors that I will reveal later in a special column announcing the sponsors and prizes.
All I can tell you now is that the prizes are better than they have ever been. A couple prizes are a fully rigged two man bass buddy, shoulder mounts, muzzleloader, bow and stands.
There will be three different divisions, women’s, men and youth division.
Anyone under the age of 16 years will be put in the youth division not matter the size of the deer.
None of the prizes are transferable and if you win a mount for your deer, it is only applicable to the buck entered.
I will have more on the contest each week so keep up with it right here in my Southern Sportsman Outdoor Column and on WRJW 1320 AM every Tuesday at 11:05 for the Southern Sportsman Outdoor Show.
And as always, get outdoors and enjoy what God has given us.