Sports column: Deer season is here, so share your hunting photos

Published 8:00 am Saturday, November 26, 2022

Around 8 p.m. on Nov. 11, I was standing on the sideline at Vicksburg High’s Memorial Stadium when the wind suddenly kicked up. The temperature felt like it dropped 5 or 10 degrees in a matter of minutes. It kept falling through the night, from about 70 at that moment to below 40 by sunrise.

And, just like that, winter was here.

Sure, it officially doesn’t start for another month. Even by cultural standards it wasn’t until this weekend when Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season. But for all intents and purposes, that chilly Friday night a couple of weeks ago moved us from balmy fall to cold winter.

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I’m not a fan, personally, but I know some folks who are — hunters.

The combination of the onset of cold weather and Thanksgiving weekend also heralds the start of deer season in Mississippi.

Although archery season began way back in October, and various other seasons since then, Nov. 19 was the first day you could legally shoot a deer with a rifle in Mississippi. The current four-day weekend provides the perfect opportunity for an extended stay at deer camp or just a long, quiet morning in the woods.

While we at The Vicksburg Post will not be tagging along, we do hope to share the good times and memories with you in another way.

For nearly 50 years we’ve regularly published your hunting photos, and God willing we’ll do it for at least 50 more. Whether it’s deer or rabbits or squirrel or even a winter fishing trip, send us the photos and we’ll run them in our pages and on our website vicksburgpost.com.

For the second year in a row, we’re also conducting a Best Buck Showcase. Submissions will be accepted until the end of January, and in February our readers will vote for the winner who will receive a prize provided by The Vicksburg Post.

Much like the game wardens, however, we do have some guidelines and rules we need to enforce:

• Photos should be submitted online at vicksburgpost.com/bestbuck or 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. 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 a lot of 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 an outtake 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 in which rifles are 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 out and have fun. Be safe. Bundle up. Shoot some photos after you shoot some deer, and share them with us. We’ll share them with the world and keep a little piece of Vicksburg tradition alive and well 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 reporters in the paper's 139-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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