Suffolk deer among top winners in VPSA big game contest

Published 7:38 pm Tuesday, August 22, 2023

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A Suffolk deer harvest was among the top winners at the 84th annual Virginia Big Game Contest Aug. 4-6 at the Meadow Event Park in Doswell.

Robert Daniels was honored in the youth category for this during the event held by the Virginia Peninsula Sportsmen’s Association, in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources and the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show.  

The contest featured all the large deer, bear, and turkey harvested throughout the state during the last hunting season. Overall, the event featured 365 deer, turkey and bear. All were displayed for all the public to view. 

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The group crowned Brent Grant as the new Virginia state champion as he broke the two-year streak of a 23 point buck winning the contest.  

Last year, Austin Ragland won with his giant 23 pointer from Nelson County and in 2021 Joshua Clark earned the title with his 23 point buck from Pulaski County. 

Grant’s buck was harvested with a black powder rifle in Bedford County and sported a 16 point rack and scored 248 11/16.  His buck also became number four all time in Class 9 for blackpowder bucks 12 points and above.  

The group strives to support youth hunting.  In 2016, they began awarding a trophy named in honor the largest deer harvested by a youth in honor of their long serving president Kenneth R. Pickin.  

This year’s recipient of the Ken Pickin Youth State Championship is Robert Daniels with his 14-point buck he harvested in the City of Suffolk. His buck scored 212 4/16 points.

In 2023, the VPSA began a new tradition by starting a female only and female youth only division. Charlee Spivey won both the two divisions with her amazing 13-point buck from Surry County that scored 187 12/16. 

Ryan Summerford won the state championship for wild turkey and became the state record holder for number one turkey all time. Summerford’s bird scored 82 1/16, edging out the previous record holder (Ryan Pittman – 82 0/16 – Southampton County) by 1/16th of a point to grab the top spot on the all-time turkey list in Virginia. Summerford harvested his championship bird in Northumberland County.  

This was the second best turnout in contest history.  Last year in 2022, there were 335 entries, while 2021 reached a record number of entries with 392. Prior to 2021, the previous record was 304 in 2001.  

“We filled the boards with great deer, bear, and turkey; but I enjoyed seeing all the youngsters with great big smiles showing off their trophies,” said Larry Wales, VPSA’s media manager. “Mike Jones, VSPA’s President, told me he was very excited about the turnout.  He said that over 8,000 members of the public came through the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show to view the entries. Mike noted that he is so blessed to be heading an organization that cares so much to volunteer their time to highlight the accomplishments of the hunters of Virginia.”

The entire list of results from the contest is posted on