Big deer, fish make headlines

Published 8:59 am Friday, December 30, 2011

Deke Joyner holds a 20-pound channel catfish he caught on the Blackwater River. SUBMITTED

EDITOR’S NOTE: The year 2011 was a busy one for those who like to hunt and fish. Derrick Ledbetter of Newsoms was recognized for harvesting the largest deer in Virginia in 2010 with a gun, Jamison Storm Gray received a scholarship from the 2010 Christopher Ray Memorial Fishing Tournament and Bubba Gay was named Angler of the Year for the Three River Bass Tournament Series. The following is a rundown of what made headlines on the Outdoor page in Western Tidewater in 2011.



• Derrick Ledbetter’s 14-point whitetail was the winner of Franklin-area taxidermist Doug Gray’s first-ever big buck contest. The Newsoms man’s deer, which had a 22-inch spread and a Boone & Crockett gross score of 181 6/8, was mounted free.

• The General Assembly voted against a bill that would allow landowners to kill — without a state permit — deer, elk or bears damaging fruit trees, crops, livestock or property used in commercial farming. Farmers instead will be required to continue getting kill permits from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.



• Deke Joyner of Franklin caught a 20-pound, 36-inch channel catfish on the Blackwater River at about 4 p.m. March 5. He caught the fish near the International Paper pollution pond about a mile from where the Blackwater meets the Chowan River. Joyner was using cut shad for bait.

• Nearly 60 youth from the Holland, Waverly, Wakefield, Zuni and Sedley areas showed for the first Sedley Hunt Club’s Kids’ Day. Youth participated in BB gun and archery target shoots, and deer dragging and tracking competitions.

• The team of Greg Harmon and Reggie Rush took first in the initial Three Rivers Bass Tournament Series held on March 20 at Tunis Landing in Winton, N.C. Their catch weighed a total of 13.03 pounds.



• The Blackwater Nottoway Riverkeeper Program’s Clean Rivers Day resulted in 234 volunteers collecting 6,153 pounds of garbage. In 11 years, 1,544 volunteers have picked up 68,209 pounds of trash from the watershed for Clean Rivers Day. That’s an average of 140 volunteers a year, picking up 6,200 pounds of trash.

• The team of Glen Drake and Jeremy Drake won the Meherrin Valley Hunt Club’s White Perch Fishing Tournament. The Drakes’ 10 fish weighed 6.42 pounds. Second place went to Mike and Lois Strickland with 5.29 pounds of fish and Bradley Gray and Wayne Gray with 5.17 pounds.

• Sixteen veterans from Walter Reed Army Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital met on the archery field at Airfield 4-H Center in Wakefield to try their hand at shooting bows.



• Mallory Taylor of Newsoms won the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association’s 2010-11 Annual Collegiate Undergraduate Writing Contest. A junior at Ferrum College, Taylor was recognized at the annual meeting at Bear Creek Lake State Park in Cumberland County.



• The Franklin City Council during its June 13 meeting will discuss opening two ponds on city-owned property for fishing. The fenced-in retention ponds behind the former Winn-Dixie and Armory Plaza are open to city employees with permission.

• Jamison Storm Gray received a scholarship from the 2010 Christopher Ray Memorial Fishing Tournament. The check was presented during this year’s tournament on June 18. Twenty-six, two-man teams participated in this year’s event, which raised $5,700. Ray, 22, was killed in an August 2009 car accident while working as a deputy for the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office.



• Youth in the Franklin Summer Super Jam Program sponsored by the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Virginia and Franklin Department of Parks & Recreation were at the James River fishing Pier for the 10th Annual Kiwanis Children’s Fishing Clinic.

• Southampton County in 2010 had the second highest harvest in Virginia with 7,140 deer, an increase from 6,281 taken in 2009, according to the state Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Southampton County had the fourth highest number of deer kills in 2009.


• Archery hunting season for deer was expanded in Suffolk after the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries decided to include the city in a new Urban Archery Season before and after the statewide archery seasons. The Urban Archery seasons will be Sept. 3-30 and Jan. 9-March 31, book ending the state’s Early Archery Season for deer hunting, Oct. 1-Nov. 18, and the Late Archery Season, Dec. 1-Jan. 7.


• The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge’s fall deer hunt will be canceled this year due to the 6,000-acre wildfire that continues to smolder. Refuge Manager Chris Lowie said he cannot provide the quality hunt program that hunters deserve while the staff is involved in firefighting efforts. Refunds were made to hunters who submitted applications.

• The team of David and Billy Nunnally won round 13 of the Three Rivers Bass Tournament Series at Lake Gaston on Sunday. Fishing from Peahill Creek Landing, the team caught five bass that weighed a total of 9.64 pounds.

• During the 72nd Eastern Regional and State Championship Big Game Contest at the Southampton County Fairgrounds, Derrick Ledbetter’s 14-point was recognized as the largest taken in the state during the 2010-2011 season. The Newsoms man took the deer on Bruce Phillips’ Capron farm.

• A Newsoms 16-year-old set a new state record for a 14-point buck he took on the final day of the 2010 hunting season. Mason Wright was recognized during the 72nd Eastern Regional and State Championship Big Game Contest at Southampton County Fairgrounds.

• Officials on Sept. 26 held a ribbon cutting for 4,400 acres purchased by the Virginia departments of Forestry and Game and Inland Fisheries in Sussex County, commonly known as Big Woods. The new state forest and wildlife management area is adjacent to the 3,200-acre Piney Grove Preserve owned by The Nature Conservancy.


• Jerry Bradshaw and Travis “Cricket” Butler won the Three River Bass Tournament Series’ end-of-the-season Classic Bass Tournament at the Bronco Rod and Gun Club on the Nottoway River. The duo’s 10 largest bass caught over two days weighed a total of 19.79 pounds.



• Bubba Gay was named Angler of the Year for the Three River Bass Tournament Series. Gay received a trophy and certificate during the bass club’s recent awards ceremony at the Bronco Rod and Gun Club.