A Dixie Lady Deer Hunter
Article by Fred Messina, editor of "On Target Outdoors" from The Vicksburg Evening Post on Friday, January 19, 1990. Photo by Bob Phillips.
Bob Phillips came up the other day with a photo of his wife Marian and a deer she got on Brown's Point New Years Eve. The deer was an 8-point with 16 inches of inside spread that weighed in at 190 pounds. A nice trophy in anyone's book. However, the tale Bob told is that this was Marian's fourth deer this year and he claimed that he would have done better than he did if he had not spent so much time hauling Marian's deer out of the woods. Come off it, Bob. We all know who the hunter was.
Thursday, January 07, 2016
Braxton's 7-Point Buck & Tradition
Braxton Hartley and his father, Chris Hartley, were hunting on the evening of January 5 when this monster walked in front of them. It was a 7-point buck and weighed about 190 pounds. Braxton's mother is Aimee Hartley.
My congrats to Braxton in our great wild outdoors! A beautiful picture with his buck and dog.
I wanted to share this write-up in today's paper, The Vicksburg Post, that I am old enough to remember this man who wrote several articles of my deer that I harvested.
Deer Photos A Tradition Well Worth Continuing by Ernest Bowker.
Those of you who are old enough might remember one of the most beloved reporters to ever grace the halls — although he’d probably say deface them — of The Vicksburg Post, Fred Messina.
Fred was quite the character. He once famously made a phone call to someone for a story, then told them to hold on for a minute so he could “Write down your name so I know who I’m talking to.” In the 1970s and 80s, readers opened their newspaper to see Fred pointing a .357 magnum at them in his column mugshot.
Fred passed away in 2007, but if you look at the top of this column you’ll see that his legacy lives on.
During his heyday, Fred started a tradition of running pictures of hunters and fishermen with their trophies. If you grew up in Vicksburg, having your picture in Fred’s “On Target” column was probably up there with driving and having your first kiss on the list of life’s milestones. I have my name in the paper almost every day, but the day in 2006 when he ran my picture with a 9-pound bass that I caught was a career highlight.
I’m aware that seeing grinning children posing with dead deer is not everyone’s cup of tea. Besides the fact that some animal lovers are opposed to it on merit, some of the pictures we get are downright gruesome. To be honest, some of them still haunt me years later. We don’t publish the worst of those.
The vast majority, however, are more palatable and publishing them is a tradition worth continuing. Hunting is an activity shared by parents and children. It’s a time when they can bond. Even though I’m not a hunter, I can appreciate that and see the value in it.
Publishing the “deer photos” is an extension of that. For a child, taking their first deer is a waypoint in life to celebrate. It’s one we’ll continue to celebrate in these pages for years to come.
So please send us your hunting stories and photos. We prefer email — our address is firstname.lastname@example.org — but if you want to drop them off to our office at 1601-F North Frontage Road, that’s fine too. If you’d like to go the extra mile and write a short story about it, we might even publish it. Just keep it around 375 to 450 words, please.
Thanks to all of those who have sent in pictures and stories this hunting season. Let’s keep Fred Messina’s memory, and this wonderful tradition, alive by keeping them coming.
Ernest Bowker is a sports writer. He can be reached via email at email@example.com