Russell Haynie won the Star City Whitetails website big-buck contest with a massive 13-point trophy he killed on family property in the Northern Neck section of Virginia.
Second went to Joshua Collins of Virginia Beach, who killed a 20-point buck on Fort Pickett property at Blackstone.
Jeff Phillips, host of the popular website, said both bucks should dominate big game shows later this year.
Phillips’ contest differs from most. It doesn’t involve precise measurements of antlers; rather, readers are invited to vote on what they consider the best buck pictured on line. Rack size isn’t the only consideration. The quality of the pose and picture count. No ghastly body cavities, please; respect you kill, Phillips says.
The contest attracted more than 400 entries, evidence that the 2017-18 season was an outstanding trophy year. Phillips whittled the entries down to what he considered the best 130 and put them on line to be judged. There were more than 90,000 viewers and 8,000 voters. Haynie’s buck received 39 percent of the votes; Collins 25 percent.
Haynie killed his winning buck from a tree stand in Lancaster County. As the afternoon sun began to fade, he spotted a doe entering the bean field he watched.
“Russell was watching the woods behind her and he caught a gimps of movement, then he noticed some antlers and all of a sudden there the buck of his dreams stood,” Phillips said.
Both Haynie and Collins were hunting late day with muzzleloading rifles. Collins killed his buck at 30 yards as it crossed an opening, nose to the ground. His dad, Alvey, who taught him to hunt, was on a distant stand.
- The Virginia State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will meet in Roanoke Friday through Sunday to discuss a number of subjects, including the recruitment of new hunters and the use of electronics for keeping in touch with members. The highlight will be the organization’s annual awards banquet at 6 p.m. Saturday (An incorrect date was given in an earlier report). The event is expected to attract 250 people from across the state, according to state chapter president Richard Pauley of Buchanan.
- North Carolina Wildlife officials have closed the speckled trout fishing season until June 15 to take the stress off a species that has experienced major die-offs during the recent frigid weather. There have been kills in Virginia, but no word on if the season will be closed.
- The body of Nik Kayler, a co-angler in the Costa FLW fishing tournament on Florida’s Okeechobee Lake, was found following a rough-water boating mishap, officials report. Kayler, 38, of Apopka, Florida, was fishing in a boat operated by Bill Kisiah, a pro from Louisiana. Kisiah was rescued several hours after the first-day weigh-in. The tournament was canceled after the first round, the winner determined by the first-day results. A 19-pound, 3-ounce catch by Justin Hammer of Newport, Alabama, was the heaviest catch.
- Hunters in West Virginia reported killing 3,160 bears, the second-highest number on record. Deer hunters didn’t do as well in the Mountain State. Their kill of 108,803 was 4 percent below the previous year and 15 percent below the five-year average. Officials said the near-record bear kill was the result of an abundant mast crop that delayed denning, making bears more vulnerable to hunters. Figures for Virginia have not been released.
- Wildlife officials across the country have been watching, California where fines have been increased to deal with poachers of big-game animals. Fines that once could cost a violator $1,500 have been boosted to more than $5,000, sending the message that poaching is a crime.