One year later

Published 8:05 am Friday, January 21, 2011

Joshua Hooker, 10, of Smithfield holds the trophy he received for setting a record for the biggest turkey taken by a youth in Virginia. The turkey, harvested last spring had a 12-inch beard and 1 1/2-inch spurs.

Editor’s Note: During the 2009-2010 hunting seasons, three area residents set state records for their harvests, including two monster bucks and a record turkey, all taken in Southampton County. The Tidewater News recently checked in with hunters Delaine Babb and Dustin Heard, both of Suffolk, and Joshua Hooker of Smithfield to see how they fared during the recent season.

Dustin Heard, then 12, of Suffolk set a state record for youth with this 15-point whitetail he harvested in Southampton County in 2009.


In the Heard family, Dustin went home the big winner after the 2009-2010 hunting season.

The then 12-year-old had taken a youth state record, 15-point whitetail in Southampton County that scored a 201 11/16 on the Virginia Scoring System.

For this past hunting season, his younger brother, Hunter, harvested the bigger of the two bucks taken by the sons of Glenn and Carrie Heard on family land in Southampton County.

“Dustin did OK,” Glenn Heard said. “He shot a nice buck with his bow. His 9-year-old brother shot a huge deer with his bow.”

Hunter Heard took a 10-point in October .

“He arrowed this deer in ‘the 10-ring’ and it only ran about 50 yards before expiring,” Glenn Heard said. “This deer should score very high in this year’s big game contest.”

It was during last fall’s Virginia Peninsula Sportsmen’s Association Eastern Big Game Contest at Southampton County Fairgrounds in Courtland that Dustin Heard, Delaine Babb and Joshua Hooker were recognized for their state-record harvests. This year’s contest is set for Sept. 10-12.

Delaine Babb of Suffolk set a new state record with this 8-point harvested in Southampton County in 2009. The deer, which scored a 199 0/16 with the Virginia Scoring System, was taken on the last day of the season.


On the last day of the 2009-2010 gun season, Babb took his record deer while at Davis Ridley Hunt Club in Courtland. It scored a 199 0/16 with the Virginia Scoring System.

“That was a one-in-a-lifetime deal,” he said. “I had a good season (this year), but nothing in the caliber of that.”

The 54-year-old took an 8-point and a 10-point this year. He took the 10-point on the first day of the season.

“It was a beautiful deer,” he said. “A respectable, shootable deer.”

But the real story lies with the 8-point.

“I saw a big deer, and when I went to shoot it, another deer ran in front,” Babb said. “When he came across the path, he got to the shot before the shot got to the other (bigger) deer. That’s something I’ve never done.”

As far as Babb knows, the bigger deer was not taken this season.

“Someone else saw the deer in our club, but we don’t believe it was killed,” he said.

As for others with the Davis Ridley Hunt Club, Babb said members had a fair year.

“It was a safe year, that’s one of the main things,” he said. “We had some young people in the club who killed their first deer ever. Ironically, the biggest deer was killed on the first day of the season.”


Smithfield’s Joshua Hooker set a new record for the biggest turkey taken by a youth in the eastern half of Virginia for 2010. The then 10-year-old went on to take the state title for the turkey, which he took last spring in Southampton County.

“He hasn’t been turkey hunting since,” said his father, Lee Hooker.

Joshua hunts the spring season and is sure to be out there when it opens.

“He’s always anxious about turkey season,” Lee Hooker said. “He loves doing it, loves calling and listening to the birds. He will be out there the first day.”

Joshua has killed a turkey every year since he was 6.