Tunica Farm Supply’s Big Buck Contest

The Big Buck Contest leaderboard at Tunica Farm Supply is a popular gathering spot during deer season.

Tunica Farm Supply’s Big Buck Contest kicked off at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 15, and by the time you read this, it might be too late to sign up for this year’s conest.

But entering the contest is only part of the fun. Visiting the “scoreboard” is worth the trip.

Tunica County is known for producing some of the best deer in Mississippi. The store posts photographs of the current leaders in the Youth, Ladies, Archery and Overall categories, and visitors enjoy coming in to see the size deer that have been posted.

“We try to limit the entries to people in this area,” said Ben Melton, the store’s owner. “It’s strictly a local tournament. We do give away a gun to the overall winner, and the ladies, and even to the youth, if there’s someone to sign it over to, but the big thing about our tournament is the bragging rights.

“The tournament has been going on since 1986, and it’s a pretty big deal to be able to say you’ve won it.”

Melton said people who may not be able to visit the store frequently can keep up with entries — typically between 120 and 150 per year — on social media this season, and especially next season.

“My wife has been helping me with the technology end,” Melton said. “We have a Facebook page now, and we’re going to try to post some of the entries there.

“It’s a lot of fun and now it’s become a tradition,” Melton said said. “We kick off with a big chili supper at the beginning of the contest and schedule another one at the end when it’s time to announce the winners.”

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Phillip Gentry is a freelance outdoor writer and photographer who says that if it swims, walks, hops, flies or crawls he’s usually not too far behind.