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More than 300 deer expected at big game contest

Published 1:34pm Saturday, September 8, 2012

COURTLAND—Larry Wise has doubts that the 10-point buck he took with his bow on Nov. 2 will do as well in this weekend’s Virginia Big Game Contest as his 13-point did in the 2011 show.

But, the 33-year-old Newsoms man will give it shot.

Wise is among 300 expected to enter deer mounts in the 73rd Annual Eastern Regional Championship at the Southampton County Fairgrounds in Courtland, said Ken Pickin, president of the Virginia Peninsula Sportsmen’s Association.

It’s possible an all-time record could be set for a deer taken in Surry during the recent hunting season, Pickin said.

He also expects more than 2,500 people to visit the show, which should include 100 to 125 turkeys and 10 bears.

The sportsmen’s association and Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will co-host the event from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, and continue 10 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 9. Awards will be presented at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Admission is $3 and $5 for a two-day pass.

The entry deadline is 6 p.m. Saturday. The registration fee is $10 per entry.

Wise placed eighth in the 2012 Virginia Deer Classic in Richmond with his 10-point, which had a 16-inch tall rack with a 22-inch spread that scored a 139.25. The deer was included in a class with typical 9-, 10- and 11-points.

“The 10-point class is really hard because there’s a lot more of them,” he said.

Wise took second in a show in Richmond with the 13-point he harvested in 2010. The deer took first in its division during last year’s Big Game Contest at the Southampton fairgrounds.

Killed with his bow on the first day of the 2010 archery season, the antlers had a 19½-inch spread and were 15 inches tall.

As for this year’s entry, Wise was in a tree-stand hunting over a soybean field where he knew a lot of big deer hung out.

“It was during the rut, and there were three or four bucks trying to run a doe in the field,” he said.

The 13-point came to within 15 feet of his stand, but Wise couldn’t get off a shot because of a limb that was in the way.

“I waited for him to clear it and got it with a 45-foot shot,” he said.

Historically, the show’s biggest deer come from Surry, Southampton and Sussex counties, Pickin said.

The top five deer in each category will advance to the Western Regional and State Championships at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds in Harrisonburg Saturday, Sept. 22, and Sunday, Sept. 23. They must participate in the show to be considered for a statewide placing.

During last year’s finals, Derrick Ledbetter of Newsoms was recognized for taking the largest whitetail in the state during 2010-2011. Ledbetter killed a 14-point on Bruce Phillips’ Capron farm. The deer scored a 235 using the Virginia scoring system.

Mason Wright of Newsoms set a new state record for a 14-point buck he took on the final day of the same hunting season. Mason, 16 at the time, broke the record in the youth division for a deer that was 12-points or larger taken with a gun.

His deer scored a 205 7/16, using the Virginia scoring system.

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