The Virginia Peninsula Sportsmen’s Association (VPSA) in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (VDWR) and the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show held the 83rd annual Virginia Big Game Contest August 5-7 at the Meadow Event Park in Doswell, Virginia.
The contest featured many of large deer, bear, and turkey harvested throughout the state during the last hunting season. Overall, the event featured 335 deer, turkey, and bear. All were displayed for all the public to view. This was the second best turnout in contest history.
Steve Little, VPSA’s Chief Judge, reacted by the amount of heads by saying, “We had some good quality deer enter this contest; it was great to see so many come from such distances. I’d say this was our best show, ever!”
After all deer were scored, VPSA crowned a new Virginia state champion – Austin Ragland. Interestingly enough for two, consecutive years a 23-point buck has been the state champion.
In 2021 Joshua Clark earned the State Championship with his 23-point buck from Pulaski County that scored 244 15/16 while Austin Ragland harvested his giant 23-point buck on October 24, 2021 in the eastern portion of Nelson County. Austin’s deer scored 233 11/16 under the Virginia Scoring System.
VPSA also strives to support youth hunting. In 2016, they began awarding a trophy named in honor of their long serving president of 22 years, Mr. Kenneth R. Pickin, to the largest deer harvested by a youth in the Commonwealth. This year’s recipient of the Ken Pickin Youth State Championship was Robert C. Hatton with the 12-point buck he harvested in Sussex County Virginia on November 20, 2021. Robbie’s buck scored 190 4/16 points.
The other state deer champions were as follows:
- CLASS I – GUN – 12 POINTS & ABOVE – Zachary Schatzman – 13 Pt – Halifax – 229 5/16
- CLASS II – GUN – 9,10,11 POINTS – Garry Dunlow – 10 Pt – Southampton – 200 0/16
- CLASS III – GUN – 7 & 8 POINTS – Trevor Revere – 8 Pt – Gloucester – 178 8/16
- CLASS IV – GUN – 6 POINTS & UNDER – Howard Delk – 6 Pt – Nelson – 146 10/16
- CLASS V – ARCHERY – 12 POINTS & ABOVE – Austin Ragland – 23 Pt – 233 11/16
- CLASS VI – ARCHERY – 9,10,11 POINTS – Dylan Wood – 10 Pt – 205 0/16
- CLASS VII – ARCHERY – 7 & 8 POINTS – Leon Jordan Jr. – 8 Pt – 170 2/16
- CLASS VIII – ARCHERY – 6 POINTS – Peyton Moore – 6 Pt – Charles City – 136 6/16
- CLASS IX – BLACK POWDER – 12 PTS/Over – Cory Sandridge 15 Pt – Augusta – 222 15/16
- CLASS X – BLACK POWDER – 9,10,11 POINTS – Aaron Throm – 11 Pt – Wythe – 202 4/16
- CLASS XI – BLACK POWDER – 7/8 PTS – Frankie Fisher – 8 Pt – Westmoreland – 185 7/16
- CLASS XII – BLACK POWDER – 6 POINTS – Norman Wilfong – 6 Pt – Fauquier – 152 5/16
Vance Willis harvested a gobbler that scored 78 14/16 on April 13, 2022 that earned him the State Championship for Wild Turkey. Vance harvested his championship bird in Lancaster County.
Young Benjamin Evans of Floyd County won the Youth State Championship with his turkey that scored 78 9/16 points. Ben’s turkey is #1 All Time for largest wild turkey ever harvested by a youth in Virginia! This bird was harvested on April 14, 2022 in Floyd County.
Christopher Buck claimed the Bear State Championship with a bear harvested on October 8, 2021 in Brunswick County. Christopher’s bear weighed in excess of 400 pounds and scored 28 14/16 points. The bear was stated to be an extremely old specimen.
Thomas Atkins took home the Youth State Championship for his bear that he harvested in Prince Edward County that scored 26 6/16.
The entire list of results from the contest is posted on www.vpsa.org.
The VPSA, headquartered in Williamsburg, is a group of sportsmen who serve sportsmen. They founded the Virginia Big Game Contest in 1940 and developed the Virginia Scoring System for deer and bear. The group is the caretaker of the 83-year-old Virginia Record Book documenting the largest deer, bear, and turkey ever to roam within the Commonwealth.
The Big Game Contest is the oldest consecutively held deer contest in the country. The VDWR supports the group but VPSA manages the contest entirely with its cadre of well-trained volunteers.
At the ceremony, Jones and the VPSA also crowned an Eastern Regional Champion, Western Regional Champion and overall State Champion for Deer, Bear, and Turkey. Jones presented more than 50 awards to show attendees, including eight Virginia Grand Slam Awards. The Grand Slam is awarded to a hunter who harvests a Virginia Buck, Gobbler, and Bear all in the same hunting season.
The awards ceremony closed with remarks from VDWR Executive Director Ryan Brown. Brown was ecstatic with the size of the crowd (estimated 500) and noted that they all should be proud of their accomplishments. He thanked the VPSA for being their advocate to issue state citations and awards for these great harvests.
VPSA membership is open to anyone residing in Virginia. For more information visit www.virginiapeninsulasportsmen.square.site/