Top 5 stories of 2020

Mississippi’s outdoor scene was certainly not lacking in newsworthy stories throughout 2020. It seemed like a month never passed without something of great interest to hunters and fishermen taking place — some good, some not so good, some just interesting.

We looked at and we came up with the 5 most-read stories of 2020. Hope you enjoy looking back at them.

1. Carriere hunter takes public-land monster

Blake Herrin’s dream, like that of most deer hunters, has always been to kill a big trophy buck. On Nov. 23, hunting at Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in the Mississippi Delta, he did just that, bagging “the biggest buck I’ve ever seen.”

The buck’s rack produced 176 inches of antler.

“He dropped right where he was standing,” said Herrin, of Carriere. “That’s when I started shaking. You see those kids in all those videos shaking after killing a deer.… Well, let me tell you, I bet I looked just like them. I was shaking so hard that when I climbed down out of the tripod stand, I almost fell out of it.”

2. Father and daughter set Magnolia Crappie Club record on Grenada

Terry Stewart and his daughter, Terra, caught seven crappie that weight a total of 21.7 pounds, with four fish over three pounds, at the Magnolia Crappie Club spring tournament on Grenada Lake. They topped that bag of fish with a 3.83 pound thumper to win first place overall, big fish and set a club record.

Stewart says without the LiveScope, they would have never caught those fish. But it still wasn’t easy. They had to fish very slowly over a five-acre area to catch enough to get to their limit. The wind was blowing and the boat traffic had the fish skittish. He said they could have caught more numbers had they just been fishing for regular size crappie, but when you focus on the LiveScope and target big fish, the number of fish you catch overall goes way down.

3. Mississippi State student arrows bizarre Monroe County monster

Trent Pace of Aberdeen saw a peculiar-looking deer last season that got his attention. At the time, it was not a “shooter” buck, which earned the animal a pass on private land in Monroe County.

This year, the buck got no such courtesy.

“I’ve been watching the deer for a while, and last year it was smaller and had an odd rack, like it was long spikes with drop tines off the bases,” said Pace, 22, a student at Mississippi State University.

And, if a spike with drop tines isn’t odd enough.…

“This year, it just blew up into something crazy,” Pace said.

The buck, which he killed on Sunday, Oct. 4, is certainly a weird one.

4. Louisiana hunter drops Humphreys County king

On Dec. 11, Robin Prince of Labadieville, La., went to his deer stand in Humphreys County in the Mississippi Delta with the intent of killing a doe.

“That was the plan; I was going to take a doe,” said Prince, 69. “And after a couple of hours of seeing nothing, a doe finally walked out into the far corner of the food plot about 125 yards away.

“But I looked around and thought I had a good bit of sunshine left, and I said, ‘No, I’m not going to shoot her just yet. This looks too right, too good.’ I decided I was going to wait and see what happened.”

In the history of deer hunting, few people have ever made a more fortunate decision. Moments later, Prince was squeezing the trigger on one of the biggest and oddest bucks ever taken in Mississippi — gross scoring 215 7/8 inches as a 24-point. If it holds that score for 60 days, it will be the 13th biggest non-typical listed in Magnolia Records.

5. Petal hunter drops second huge buck in three weeks

Matt Langford of Petal dropped a 157-inch Holmes County buck on Nov. 22, and he had another, even bigger buck, on trail-cam photos on the tract of land a duck-hunting buddy had allowed him to hunt.

That second buck was penciled in on his wife, Chelle Langford’s hunting menu.

“When I killed that first big one, I was real proud of it, and with my wife still looking for her first buck, we put her on it. She hunted it two or three times,” Matt Langford said.

When he slipped back onto the property for an afternoon deer hunt on Dec. 5, the bigger buck was the last thing on his mind.

“I just went that Saturday, never thinking I’d see him,” he said.

But when a 176-inch buck walks within five yards of your tree stand and eventually gives you a 20-yard broadside shot, what can you do?

You shoot and hope that asking for forgiveness is as easy as asking for permission.

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