SHOW ‘EM WHAT YOU SHOT: Local business scores turkeys

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 27, 2016

NATCHEZ — Sports Center’s hunting staff is hosting a biggest-bird contest open now through the end of turkey season.

The staff will accept submissions and score the birds. The overall winner at the end of the season will win a Benelli shotgun. The exact model and value has not yet been determined.

“After that we’ll give away a bunch of door prizes, decoys, calls and vests,” Sports Center sales representative Daniel Cavin said.

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There is a category accepting youth submissions as well, and the winner will receive a Matthews Mission compound bow.

“It’s usually a draw on youth, because we usually only get three or four entries for youth. Right now I only have one entry,” Cavin said. “If it stays like that, that kid will win a bow.”

There’s no entry fee. Hunters need to simply bring the turkey into Sports Center and the staff will score the bird.

Cavin said he believes there is a misconception regarding how to score turkeys.

“Scoring turkey and scoring deer are two totally different things,” he said. “Nowadays, everyone knows how to score a deer. A lot of turkey hunters have no idea what it goes into to score a turkey.”

Cavin explained the score of a bird is the sum of the weight in pounds and ounces, the length of the beard and the lengths of both spurs.

Last year — out of 43 birds in the first year of the contest — the winner was a double bearded turkey that scored approximately 115. Cavin said the current leader has a score of 84.

Since the end of turkey season in Mississippi, May 1, is a Sunday, the final day for submissions will be Saturday, April 30.

Cavin said the contest is an effort for Sports Center’s staff to reach out to turkey hunters.

“We’re just trying to get turkey hunters back in the area,” Cavin said. “Sports Center didn’t have a turkey hunter on staff. If you don’t have a turkey hunter on staff, you’re not getting what people want and you’re not getting feedback from them. We’re trying to let people know that we are in the turkey business.”