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When 14-year old Balin Horton brought his big buck to the scales to check it in last Saturday morning at Holley Fork Shooting Complex during the local NWTF chapter’s Jake Day it dominated the topic of conversation.

The young Henry County hunter had just bagged a buck bigger than most veteran deer hunters around here had ever seen. His trophy deer tipped the scales at a whopping 217.8 pounds. That was the field dressed weight of the handsome 10-pointer taken while hunting with his dad Brian during the Young Sportsmen’s Deer Hunt.

It was a big day for small hunters. Each year Jakes Day is timed to coincide with the opening morning of the first of two special youth hunts held in Tennessee.

Some 75 youngsters participated in the festivities where NWTF volunteers cooked up chili, hotdogs and all the fixins donated by Kroger and Wendy’s for the hungry hunters after hosting a series of shooting contests for shotgun, archery and BB-gun. Trophies were awarded to the top three in each shooting contest.

The event recognized all the youngsters who checked in deer by making a photo for them and also offered prizes to the top three biggest deer checked in both buck and doe divisions.

Horton’s trophy buck easily took first place, followed by Addison Delaney’s 9-pointer weighing 171 pounds and Brendan Miller’s nice 8-pointer weighing 151 pounds. In the big doe contest it was Kelly Combs taking first with one weighing 102 pounds, followed by Will Overton with one at 98 pounds. Third place went to Rodney Littleton Jr. for a doe weighing 90 pounds.

Some 75 kids showed up and a great time was had by all, according to Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew.

Meanwhile, not only did Balin Horton have a spectacular day but so did his 11-year old sister Maura as she bagged her first deer ever on opening morning. Sounds like the Horton household will have plenty of deer meat and memories to go around.

“Balin won a $150 gift certificate from Hulmes Sporting Goods and also won a free mount courtesy of Clay Lindsey of Head and Shoulders Taxidermy,” said a proud Brian Horton when asked to comment on his son’s trophy buck. “He was shooting a 7 MM Magnum rifle.”

“We had seen the buck on a trail camera for the last three years but never saw him during the day,” continued Horton. “As luck would have it he walked out very early that morning and Balin made a nice shot at about 125 yards.”

“I’m very proud of him as he has practiced restraint and let a lot of smaller bucks walk over the years. He took a nice one back when he was in the 5th grade but has passed on a lot of deer that many hunters would have shot. He has been particular on what he shoots.”

“I’ve taken some big deer in other states but never one that big here in Tennessee. He’s got me beat,” laughed a proud dad.

“I love taking my kids to the woods and sharing the outdoors with them. They love deer and turkey hunting too.”

No doubt both Balin and Maura had a memorable day in the woods. Time spent with your dad in the outdoors is never wasted, especially when you bag your first and biggest deer of your lifetime!



    The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency provides several methods for hunters to report their big game harvests. Recently some hunters have reported problems when using their personal computer to report a harvest. TWRA is offering the following instructions for those persons experiencing time-out issues when accessing the TWRA’s online harvest reporting system.

    In most cases, the issues are connected to the internet browser on your computer and can be resolved by following the steps below. (The specific instructions are based on Internet Explorer because it is the State of Tennessee standard). However, if a different browser is utilized such as Firefox or Chrome, the persons will need to accomplish the same task, but will need to refer to specific instructions posted on those manufacturer websites.

1)  Select "Tools"

2)   Select "Internet Options"

3)   Delete all cookies and temporary internet files

4)   Open a new browser tab and manually type in GOTWRA.ORG (do not use the saved link from a previous session)

    Sportsmen are reminded that big game harvests can also be checked in on the TWRA mobile app from a smart phone or tablet and in person at a traditional check station.

Steve McCadams is a professional hunting and fishing guide here in the Paris Landing area. He has also contributed many outdoor oriented articles to various national publications.



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