Second annual Big Buck contest open

by By Cristin Parker

Hunters in Cherokee and adjacent counties are invited sign up for the second annual Big Buck hunting contest, sponsored by Rusk’s Cherokee Warehouse feed store.

Anyone harvesting free range white tailed bucks, legally, in Cherokee and adjacent counties is eligible. Entry fee is $25 and includes a hat; 10 percent off processing at Dyess Processing; and entry into a drawing for a Henry lever-action rifle. Participants must enter the contest prior to harvest and present proof of a valid Texas hunting license.

“We wanted to give local hunters a chance to compete in a contest, show off their deer, hang out and talk hunting,” Cherokee Warehouse owner and contest organizer James Newman said. “Call Cherokee Warehouse at (903) 683-3414 to get signed up over the phone or come by the store, 1945 S. Dickinson Dr. in Rusk, and sign up in person.”

Awards in five categories -- men’s, women’s youth, archery and the Big 8 -- will be presented during an awards banquet set for Saturday, Jan. 11. The ceremony will include a chili cook-off.

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s website, the bag limit in Cherokee and its surrounding counties is four deer, no more than two bucks, and no more than two antlerless, all seasons combined.

“The bag limit in each county is two legal bucks, but only ONE may have an inside spread of 13 inches or greater,” TPWD’s website states. “A legal buck deer is defined as a buck deer with: at least one unbranched antler; OR an inside spread of 13 inches or greater (does not apply to a buck that has an unbranched antler). A hunter may also take ONE buck with an inside spread of 13 inches or greater in a different county with antler restrictions, and not to exceed that county’s bag limit.”

Recreational hunting and fishing licenses and stamp endorsements are available at TPWD offices and parks, and other locations. Most recreational licenses may be purchased by phone or via the internet with approved Visa, Discover, or MasterCard. A $5 administrative fee will be charged for those sales. Many licenses may be purchased for immediate use except where tagging is required, i.e., deer and turkey. Visit the TPWD’s website, or call (800) 792-1112 to apply for a license or find a retailer offering licenses.

“100 percent of hunting and fishing license fees go to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for on-the-ground conservation efforts that help make Texas one of the best places in the country to hunt and fish,” TPWD’s website states. “Fish stocking, wildlife management, habitat restoration, land conservation, and Texas Game Wardens are just some of the initiatives funded in part by your license fees.”