Sports column: Thanksgiving marks the real start of deer season

Published 2:00 pm Sunday, November 21, 2021

Next weekend, many Mississippians will engage in a tradition that spans generations.

After all of the turkey is eaten and the dishes cleared, all of the football has been watched and a nap taken, they will head to the woods for a weekend of hunting.

Deer season in Mississippi started with archery season on Oct. 1, but Thanksgiving seems to be when it kicks into high gear. Children are out of school, the four-day holiday weekend offers the opportunity for a short work week, and the weather is starting to cool down a bit.

It’s a wonderful time of year — except for the deer, of course — when lifelong memories are made. We here at The Vicksburg Post have been, and are hoping you’ll help us continue to be, a small part of them.

For nearly 50 years we’ve regularly published your hunting photos. There once was a long-running ban on pictures of snakes for some reason, but almost everything else from fish to rabbits to deer are fair game. We’ll publish them all if you’ll send them to us.

The tradition started with former outdoors writer Fred Messina. He passed away in 2007, but I and the other sports editors since then have happily carried it forward and will do so for as long as we can. We even hope to up the ante this year with a Big Buck contest planned for December sponsored by State Farm Insurance agent Robyn Lea.

It should be a big season for deer, and we hope you’ll flood our inbox with your photos. We do have some rules, guidelines and suggestions, though:

• Photos should be emailed to sports@vicksburgpost.com with something along the lines of “hunting photo” in the subject line. Please include a contact number in case we need more information, as well as the names of the people pictured; the size of the animal; and the date and location of the hunt.

If there are any interesting details about the hunt, let us know in your email. Maybe we’ll write a little longer story on it.

• When taking photos, check to make sure they are well lit and in focus before you send them. Use a flash or light up the area with headlights if it’s dark. It makes a world of difference in the quality of the photo. We’ve seen more than a few pictures over the years ruined by a shaky hand or because they were taken in the woods, at night, with no flash.

• Watch out for blood and gore. Hunting will, by its nature, produce bloody wounds. That doesn’t mean people want to see them. Again, take a quick look at your picture before you save it. If it looks like a still photo from a horror movie, try a different angle that crops out the worst of the gore. We want to make people smile, not recoil in horror.

Along the same lines, if it’s a picture of a first deer we prefer pictures of children before they have been blooded. It’s a little more palatable for a wide audience.

• Be careful with your weapons. We’ve received a number of photos where guns were propped up on deer with the barrels pointing toward the hunter. Even if it’s unloaded, always keep the fundamentals of gun safety in mind.

That’s about it. Head into the woods and have fun. Shoot things. Shoot photos. And then send them (the photos, not the things) to us. We look forward to sharing them with the rest of the world and continuing this local tradition for years to come.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at ernest.bowker@vicksburgpost.com

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured sports reporters in the paper's 137-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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