With Texas' archery only season opening Saturday, registration is underway for TylerPaper's 34th annual Big Buck Contest.
Registration is free and registration forms are available at contest sponsors including: The Tire Barn, 13687 FM 206 at Spur 364; Army/Navy Store of Tyler, 1201 E.SE. Loop 323; East Texas Seed, Cotton Belt Rail Yard; Lynch's Food Store, 3400 E. Fifth; Mac's Gun Shop, 213 E. Elm; Noonday Gun Trader, 14674 Texas 155 South; and Still Life Taxidermy, 1415 E. Tyler St., Athens. Participating hunters must register at least 24 hours before taking their deer.
There is one change in this year's contest. The Youth Division will include both statewide boys' and girls' categories. The girls' division replaces the South Texas division for the Youth Division, open to hunters 16 years old and younger.
Winners in the two youth divisions will receive a mount of their buck. Second and third place winners will receive a gift certificate.
The contest has three adult divisions: North Texas, South Texas and Women's. Winners in each division will receive a Remington .270-caliber rifle and a mount of their deer. Second-place winners will receive gift certificates.
No deer taken within a high-fence property may be entered in the contest.
Only bucks with hardened antlers may be entered in the contest. This eliminates so-called velvet-horned deer from the competition. The change was made not because velvet-horned deer aren't bucks, but because the velvet covering provides an unfair scoring advantage.
All deer must be taken to either Still Life Taxidermy or Lynch's Food Store within 10 days of being harvested to be entered in the contest.
The contest runs through Jan. 26, one week after the regular season closes in South Texas.