Sports column: Deer season is in full swing, and we want your hunting photos

Published 4:00 am Sunday, November 26, 2023

The turkey is eaten. Family has parted ways. The Black Friday sales and fistfights are now legendary stories for next Thanksgiving.

All of which means, for many Mississippians, it’s time to go spend some time shivering in the woods waiting for a deer to walk into their rifle scope.

Deer season has been open in some form or fashion for about two months in Mississippi, and gun season opened in earnest earlier this month. Thanksgiving always seems to mark the real start, however, with a long holiday weekend that provides plenty of time to spend at deer camp.

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Another tradition in these parts is The Vicksburg Post documenting it all. Ever since the late, great Fred Messina started it sometime in the 1970s, the Post has published photos of people of all ages with their trophies.

A first deer is a rite of passage in Mississippi and we enjoy sharing it with the world just as much as a major news story. As such, we invite our readers to send us photos of the deer — or rabbits, squirrels, fish and other assorted critters — they’ve harvested during the winter.

We’ll publish them in our print edition, on our website vicksburgpost.com, and for the third year in a row through our Hunting Season Showcase.

There are important safety rules to follow in the woods, of course, and there are some when it comes to sending photos. They might not all be to enhance safety, but they will help keep things orderly:

• Photos should be submitted online at vicksburgpost.com/HuntingShowcase 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 wrap up the moment. Use a flash or light up the area with headlights if it’s dark. A shaky hand or dark photo can ruin an otherwise great moment.

• Please keep blood and gore to a minimum. Hunting, by its nature, is a bloody endeavor. That doesn’t mean people want to see it while drinking their morning coffee or scrolling Facebook. Look at your picture before you save it. If it looks like you’ve been hunting with Jason Voorhees, try a different angle that crops out the worst of the gore.

• 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. Over the years 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 it. Head out and have fun. Be safe. Bundle up. Shoot some photos after you shoot some deer, and share them with us. Even if there are plenty of dead deer this winter, we’ll hopefully keep this Vicksburg tradition alive 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 140-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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