Without a doubt, the biggest attraction at the annual Mississippi Wildlife Extravaganza is the Big Buck Contest. It features some of the best deer taken by hunters during the previous season, while entries from any season are welcome to the free Magnolia Records Program scoring session.

The aisles along the display will be crowded again this week with gawkers when the 30th annual Extravaganza runs Friday through Sunday at the Trade Mart in Jackson.

“Yep, I’m guilty … heck my whole family and half our deer club are guilty,” said Larry Johnson of Brandon. “We stand there and gawk and gaze, whatever you want to call it. I used to take my sons when they were kids to see it to increase their interest in my passion sport, and now that they are older and big enough to help at camp, I use it to get them fired up enough to show up at summertime work days.

“I tell them, ‘see what all that planning and planting, tilling and clearing produces. If we work hard enough, we can have deer like this, too.’ It must be working because they understand the importance of commitment to the habitat and to harvest limitations.” 

The Wildlife Foundation understands the importance of the Big Buck Contest as an attraction. All entries to the Big Buck Contest and the Magnolia Records Program get a free pass to the event and are automatically entered into a drawing for prizes that include a $500 gift card to Academy Sports + Outdoors, a Millennium M100 Treestand, a 3X9 Nikon Scope and a Double Bull Deluxe Blind from Primos.

Big Buck Rules

* All white-tailed deer taken legally within Mississippi during any prior hunting season are eligible to participate in the Magnolia Records Program. Only those deer taken during the 2015-2016 hunting season are eligible to participate in the Big Buck Contest. 

* Mount must be registered under the name of the hunter who took and recovered the deer. Mounts not registered under the name of the hunter will be disqualified.

* Mounts must be brought to the Trade Mart between 3:00 and 9:00 p.m., Friday, Aug. 5, or between 9 a.m. and noon Saturday, Aug. 6. Mounts may be removed only between the hours of 3-5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 7, NO EXCEPTIONS.

* The scorers will determine typical and non-typical classes during the scoring process. The minimal score for the purpose of the Magnolia Records Program is 125 for Typical and 155 – Non-Typical.

* If the deer has been officially scored by Boone & Crockett, Longhunters, Pope & Young or Magnolia Records Program, denote the score on the registration form and bring the official score record to the show.

* People entering deer will be given a receipt at the show. That receipt will allow you to pick up your mount on Sunday from 3-5 p.m.