November 3, 2017 - The 2017-18 white-tailed deer season opens statewide on Nov. 4, and judging from pre-season forecasts filed by area experts, the upcoming season looks to be a promising one across the East Texas region as the animals enter fall in good body condition with average to above average antler growth on bucks.

Early reports from archery and managed lands hunters indicate those predictions may be right on the mark. At least a half dozen bucks with gross "green" Boone and Crockett scores upwards of 157 have already been reported in eastern Texas.

The biggest thus far is a 179 inch open range 13 pointer taken on 77 acres in Polk County by Onalaska archer Blake Laviolette. The smallest is a 157 7/8 inch 14 pointer brought down in Nacogdoches County by Central Heights archer Jake Crisp.

One thing East Texas deer hunters will have working in their favor throughout much of November is the rut. The rut is natural phenomenon that occurs during the whitetail breeding season. It is a short-lived period of time when an otherwise wary buck might go on a testosterone high that causes it to act silly and make some really stupid mistakes it normally would not make.

I've been interviewing successful deer hunters for more than three decades now. My guess is more than 80 percent of the stories have involved a female.

Girls can make guys do funny things, indeed. But the scent of a receptive doe dancing in the air will get a whitetail buck killed.

Mature bucks are more prone to go on the prowl during the rut than at any other time of the season. When a dominant buck is not chasing on the heels of a hot doe, he is out looking for one.

A rut-crazed buck will travel for miles outside its home range in search of female company. And the natural tendency is to throw caution to the wind once he finds one. That's why hardcore hunters try to spend as much time in the woods as possible when the rut is in full swing.

An extensive breeding chronology study conducted during the 1990s by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department shows that the timing of the rut tends vary immensely from one geographic region to the next. In some cases the differences are so pronounced that the rut can be full blown in one region of the state, while bucks in a different setting are still running in bachelor groups.

In carrying out the study, biologists evaluated nearly 2,500 does from 16 different study areas over a three-year period. The data gathered enabled scientists to determine the general time frame for when the majority of whitetail breeding activity occurs from region to region, one year to the next.

The findings from the breeding chronology study have shown up here before. I thought it might be a good idea throw it out there again, since we're on the cusp of another deer season statewide and many hunters are still planning their calendars: 

Earliest Breeding Date: October 21
Latest Breeding Date: January 5
Peak Rut:
North Study Area: November 22
South Study Area: November 12

Post Oak Savannah
Earliest Breeding Date: September 30
Latest Breeding Date: January 16
Peak Rut:
Central Study Area: November 10
South Study Area: November 11

Gulf Praires and Marshes
Earliest Breeding Date: August 24
Latest Breeding Date: November 25
Peak Rut:
North Study Area: September 30
South Study Area: October 31

Rolling Plains
Earliest Breeding Date: October 8
Latest Breeding Data: December 30
Peak Rut:
North Study Area: December 3
South Study Area: November 20

Edwards Plateau
Earliest Breeding Date: October 9
Latest Breeding Date: January 30
Peak Rut:
East Study Area: November 7
Central Study Area: November 24
Western Study Area: December 5

Cross Timbers
Earliest Breeding Date: October 13
Latest Breeding Date: December 17
Peak Rut:
North Study Area: November 15
South Study Area: November 17

Earliest Breeding Date: November 4
Latest Breeding Date: January 4
Peak Rut: December 8

South Texas Plains
Earliest Breeding Date: November 9
Latest Breeding Date: February 1
Peak Rut:
East Study Area: December 16
West Study Area: December 24

November 2, 2017 - The Tenaha baseball season begins March 6, 2018 with a home game against Mt. Enterprise. For Tenaha's full baseball schedule click here

November 1, 2017 - Tenaha Boys and Girls soccer season begins in December when the Tigers will travel to an away game against New Summerfield. For the full soccer season schedule, click here.

October 31, 2017 - The Bi-District Champion Timpson High School Lady Bear volleyball team defeated Linden Kildare Monday night making their record 25-8 for the season. This is the first volleyball playoff win in school history. They will play Bogata Rivercrest, Thursday 6:30 at Longview HS.

Joaquin Ram’s Stadium. October 27, 2017 –

Early on, it appeared the Joaquin Rams Varsity Football Team would run away with Friday’s District 11 2A-1 game but, after leading 15-0, their opponent Carlisle began to use big plays to gain ground. The Indians pulled to within 15-7 with a fumble returned 33 yards for a score by junior linebacker Luis Adame with 4:53 left in the first half. The Rams bounced back when they extended their lead to 23-7 with 1:53 left in the first half with Kase Yates’ third touchdown score of the night. Yates also intercepted the Indians twice during the contest.

The second half saw Carlisle pull to within 23-15 of Joaquin with a 32-yard score by Indians quarterback Mason Pendleton, who also converted a conversion run for two points with 10.32 left in the final quarter of play. Carlisle later stalled the Rams next offensive drive and tied the game at 23-23 with 1:46 left to play with another Adame touchdown run and a two point conversion run.

The Rams mounted a 12-play drive which ended with a game-winning field goal by sophomore kicker Jesus Bravo from 34 yards out which sailed through the uprights as time expired. This gave the Rams the 26-23win. Joaquin held a 312 to 126 yard advantage in rushing. Joaquin passed for 40 yards completing three passes on six attempts. Carlisle completed nine of twentyattempts for 91 yards and was intercepted twice. Joaquin held a 15-5 advantage in gaining first-downs. Each team was penalized twenty yards during the game.

Friday’s game was Joaquins’ Pink Out Game to Fight Cancer. In conference play, the Rams are tied with the San Augustine Wolves atop the District 11 leader board with a 3-0 mark. Joaquin has a 7-1 overall record. They haven’t lost since a last-second 1-point loss to neighboring Tenaha the first week of the season.

The Rams, Coach Wade Lawson, and his staff will have their work cut out for them as they head to San Augustine next Friday, November 3, 2017, for a 7:30 p.m. kick off with the undefeated Wolves. The Wolves are 8-0 overall and have a 3-0 league mark. They beat the Alto Yellowjackets 51-35 on the road last Friday.

October 27, 2017 - Friday Night Football Schedule for October 27th, week 9.

Friday Night Football
Center 14 - Henderson 27, Final Score
Joaquin 26 - Carlisle 23, Final Score
Shelbyville 41 - Cushing 6, Final Score
Tenaha 49 - Grapeland 0, Final Score
Timpson 52 - Overton 16, Final Score

October 27, 2017 - The growing inclination to bridle in those itchy trigger fingers and the use of game cameras to monitor deer movements continues to pay off with some handsome whitetail bucks across eastern Texas.

Nearly a half dozen bucks with gross Boone and Crockett scores upwards of 155 inches have been reported by hunters in four different counties during the last couple of weeks and another was reportedly hit and killed crossing a roadway by a vehicle - a good indication that the big boys are on the prowl and beginning to make some stupid mistakes in the process.

The mesmerizing powers of the rut will do that to mature white-tailed buck. The rut is the breeding period when does come in estrus, causing inherently wary bucks to throw caution to the wind and do silly stuff they normally would not do and visit places where they normally would not go.

What's spooky about the whole deal is the rut is just now in the early stages and there hasn't been whole lot of hunters in the woods other than those participating in the Archery only and early Managed Lands Deer seasons that run through Nov. 3.

MLD properties are those operating under a deer management plan approved by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. One of the big benefits of an upper level MLD program is it allows hunters to get the woods with rifles a few of weeks ahead the Nov. 4 general season opener. That's when Texas' army of 700,000-plus rifle hunters will head to field.

Hemphill native Travis Neal shot this remarkable nine-pointer off open range MLD property on Oct. 14. A main frame eight-pointer, the buck has been rough scored at 162 4/8. (Courtesy Photo)If the early reports are indication, the upcoming general season should be an outstanding one across East Texas. Some true giants have already fallen, including a bruiser of a nine-pointer brought down on open range by 19 year-old Hemphill native, Travis Neal.

Neal was rifle hunting on MLD property on the afternoon of Oct. 14 when a buck that he and his dad had been watching closely over the last couple of seasons came strolling down a shooting lane roughly 80 yards from his box blind.

Both hunters said they could have shot the buck multiple times last season but they elected to let him walk in exchange for another critical year of age. The younger Neal is particularly glad they did.

"Last season he was an 11 pointer and probably scored somewhere in the 140s," he said. "He lost two points year, but he definitely made up for it."

A main frame eight pointer, Neal's 223-pound buck carries main beams topping 26 inches, G2 and G3 measurements of 11 inches on both antlers and an inside spread better than 21 inches. The buck unofficially gross scores 162 4/8 as a non-typical.

"I actually had my sights on a hog when he stepped out," Neal said. "It didn't phase the hog when I shot the buck, so I ended up getting it, too. It was pretty good hunt."

Nacogdoches County archer Jake Crisp brought down his big 14 pointer on 130 acres of open range on Oct. 7. The non-typical rack has been rough scored at 156 7/8. (Courtesy Photo)Like Neal, Jake Crisp of Central Heights knows from experience that patience can be virtue when you know a big buck is hanging around your hunting area.

Crisp, 18, was bowhunting on 130-acres of family land in northern Nacogdoches County when he arrowed a remarkable 14 pointer that has been rough scored at 156 7/8 gross. It's his second buck with a bow and by far the largest he's taken by any means.

The young hunter said the buck was no stranger to neighborhood. He and a couple of adjacent property owners knew about the deer prior to the Sept. 30 archery season opener, but the crafty animal suddenly went off the radar until the afternoon of Oct. 7.

"I had several night pictures of him in September, but nothing once the season started," Crisp said. "It was the first time I'd hunted that stand this year. I saw him go across a clear cut about 5:15 p.m. and he disappeared. About 1 1/2 hours later I saw a deer staring my direction from the brush about 80 yards away, but I couldn't tell what it was until about 6:45 p.m., when he walked out into a little opening. That's when I shot him about 10 yards away. I didn't have much time to think about it."

Angelina County hunter Bradley Henson with his impressive 11 pointer taken by rifle on MLD property on Oct. 15. Henson's open range non-typical grosses 169 1/8 and nets 165 6/8 B&C. (Courtesy Photo)That's hardly the case with Angelina County hunter Bradley Henson. Henson, 35, has spent the last two years chasing a big buck that first showed up on his lease during the 2015-16 season. Another hunter missed the 130-inch deer that year and several members on the MLD club have been watching him blossom on game camera ever since. Henson said he actually missed the big, basket-rack buck with his bow last year when his arrow clipped a limb.

"Everybody called him "Stickers," he said. "He had been on camera at about 10 different stands and there were six other hunters after him this year. My dad and had him on camera at several of our stands. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time."

Henson said he shot the free-ranging 11 pointer at about 6:10 p.m. on Oct. 15 when it came barreling across a hardwood bottom on the heels of a doe, about 140 yards away. TPWD wildlife biologist Micah Poteet scored the non-typical for Texas Big Game Awards at 169 1/8 gross, 164 6/8 net. A main frame eight pointer, the buck also scores well as a typical, 164 gross and 155 4/8 net.

Cherokee County archer Craig Yates bagged his open range 12 pointer on Oct. 14. The big non-typical grosses 163 4/8 and nets 156 4/8. It is Yates' first deer using archery gear. (Courtesy Photo)Two more outstanding whitetails surfaced in mid-October, including a free-ranging 12 pointer taken in Cherokee County by bowhunter Craig Yates and tall-tined 11-pointer shot by rifle behind high fence in Nacogdoches County by Johnny Cole, Jr.

Yates' buck, his first-ever deer with a bow, was fairly well-known around his hunting lease. The deer had shown up on several game cameras leading up to the season.

"Me and 2-3 other hunters had pictures of him," said Yates, 39. "Then the hogs showed up. They ran him out of my area for about two weeks."

Yates didn't see any more signs of the buck until Oct. 14, when he came slipping into a corn pile at about 7:40 a.m. The deer was all alone.

Yates drilled the non-typical buck and subsequently had it scored for TBGA by Nacogdoches taxidermist Lee Richards. The final tally is 163 4/8 gross, 156 4/8. "I'm definitely tickled with him," Yates said. "I've been bow hunting off and on for about 10 years. To take something like this for my my first bow deer makes it pretty special."

Nacogdoches County hunter Johnny Cole shot this tall-tined 11 pointer while hunting behind high fence on Oct. 18. The big non-typical grosses 164 and nets 161 6/8. (Courtesy Photo)Richards also taped the Cole buck, a main frame 10 pointer that scores exceptionally well both ways.  The gross non-typical score is 164; 161 6/8 net. The rack grosses 162 4/8 as a typical; 158 6/8 net.

Cole, 29, said the big Nacogdoches County whitetail pretty showed up out of the blue in is hunting area sometime around Oct. 11. To his knowledge, nobody else had seen or knew anything about the buck.

"I got a few pictures of him at night after that and I could tell he was a really nice buck," Cole said. "That's when I started hunting him."

Cole got a big break on Oct. 17, when a cool front passed through the region and dropped temperatures into the low 40s. He shot the buck the following morning, right at dawn.

"It was just breaking day and I could barely see," Cole said. "I think the cool front got him going. I honestly believe he had just finished checking a ground scape and was on his way back to his bedding area. I think something got him out of his routine and he was running a few minutes late. Whatever it was he messed up. It was kind of a weird deal. I've never got on a big deer and killed it that quickly. I've chased some bucks as long as two years."

The rut can be a magical time in East Texas, indeed.

Matt Williams is a freelance writer based in Nacogdoches. He can be reached by e-mail,

October 27, 2017 - (Photos by Shelby County Today: Album) - The Center Roughriders lost 10-9 following being down 5-2 after doubles October 24, 2017.

The team made a great comeback and very proud of their singles play. Center went 7-5 in singles but the margin was just too great after doubles.

Spring Hill has a State Champion and State Qualifier in boys and girls at the top but it takes more than just the top players to win as a team.

After being down 2-5, the next four singles matches on would come out 1-3 to make it 3-8 in the team total but then we pulled out the next four singles matches to make it 7-8 with four singles matches remaining.  

Spring Hill won the first match and with three matches remaining, Center would have to win all three. We pulled out two of them to make it 9-9 with one match remaining and Spring Hill would pull it out in a close one.

Very proud of their team effort.

Boys Doubles
M. Rojas/K. Watlington (Center) vs D. Penn/M. Moore (Spring Hill) - Spring Hill 4-6, 2-6
J. Gonzalez/S. McSwain (Center) vs C. McNabb/A. Massey (Spring Hill) - Spring Hill 6-7(3), 4-6
A. Morales/A. Dykes (Center) vs C. Castleberry/J. Couch (Spring Hill) - Center 6-2, 6-1

Girls Doubles
M. Dykes/C. Scull (Center) vs L. Penn/G. Gee (Spring Hill) - Spring Hill 3-6, 1-6
M. Russell/K. Williams (Center) vs E. Nichols/B. White (Spring Hill) - Spring Hill 5-7, 6-7(5)
E. Locke/K. Nehring (Center) vs L. McKelvey/A. Robinett (Spring Hill) - Center 6-3, 6-2

Mixed Doubles
V. Whitley/C. Basham (Center) vs K. Patel/M. Morton (Spring Hill) - Spring Hill 1-6, 1-6

Boys Singles
Mauricio Rojas (Center) vs Dawson Penn (Spring Hill) - Spring Hill 1-6, 1-6
Keaton Watlington (Center) vs Kavin Patel (Spring Hill) - Spring Hill 3-6, 1-6
Juan Gonzalez (Center) vs Micah Moore (Spring Hill) - Center 7-5, 6-3
Abram Morales (Center) vs Carson McNabb (Spring Hill) - Center 6-4, 6-4
Alec Dykes (Center) vs Collin Castleberry (Spring Hill) - Center 7-6(4), 6-2

Girls Singles
Mackenzie Dykes (Center) vs Levi Penn (Spring Hill) - Spring Hill 0-6, 1-6
Keelan Williams (Center) vs. Emmaline Nichols (Spring Hill) - Spring Hill 0-6, 0-6
Caroline Scull (Center) vs. Maz Morton (Spring Hill) - Center 0-6, 6-3, *-*
Maddie Russell (Center) vs. Grace Gee (Spring Hill) - Center 6-2, 6-0
Emma Locke (Center) vs. Brooklyn White (Spring Hill) - Spring Hill 5-7, 4-6
Katie Nehring (Center) vs. Logan McKelvey (Spring Hill) - Center 6-2, 6-2

Thursday, October 26, 2017 –

Last week saw the Joaquin Rams varsity football team get the better end of their cross-county rivalry game with Shelbyville. Center dropped a tough game at home to the #1 Carthage Bulldogs. Tenaha and Timpson each won their second conference games handily.

The Center Roughriders will try to rebound and improve their 2-2 District 9 4A-1 record this week at Henderson, on Friday, October 27, when they face the Lions at 7:30 p.m. Henderson is 1-2 in league play and they lost last Friday to Kilgore 45-35. The Roughriders lost last Friday at home to Carthage by a 42-12 margin. Overall the Roughriders are 2-6 and the Lions are 5-2.

The Joaquin Rams put a damper on Shelbyville’s Pink-Out game last Friday by defeating the Dragons 31-0 in Shelbyville. The Rams are now 6-1, 2-1 in conference action. They will host the Carlisle Indians Friday, October 27, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. The Indians are 6-1, 1-1 and lost their last game to the Alto Yellowjackets by a 31-28 score.

The Dragons are now 1-6, 0-2 and will travel to Cushing Friday, October 27, 2017, for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff with the Bearkats. Cushing is 4-3 overall and have a 0-2 conference standing.

The Tenaha Tigers hosted Wortham and defeated them by a 69-8 margin. The Tigers are now 8-0, 2-0 in conference action. They will travel to Grapeland to face the Sandies at 7 p.m. Friday. The Sandies are 4-3, 1-1 and lost to Timpson by a 44-20 score last Friday. Timpson is 6-1, 2-0 in District 11 2A-2 competition. They will face Overton at Mustangs Stadium on Friday, October 27, 2017 at 7 p.m. Overton is 0-7 on the year and are 0-2 in league play.

October 26, 2017 - On October 21, 2017 the Lil' Dragons at Self Defense America tested for their next ranks. The test consist of a set of techniques and self defense moves. We are proud of the following students.

From left to right; Caitlyn Madden (Blue Stripe), Carlos Lara Cervantes (Yellow Stripe), Jovanny Malando (Green Stripe), Edwin Vazquez (Brown Stripe) and Liam Jarvis (Yellow Stripe). Congratulations to all of these students.

Ultimate Martial Art students at Self Defense America tested on October 21, 2017 for new ranks! These students had to show all techniques to their belts, self defense and board breaking. One of our best test yet.

Students in photo from left to right Back Row; Benjamin Scrimsher (Red), Maximus Rojas (Black/White), Tracie Galindo (Black/White), Samuel Brazzel (Black/White), McKenzie Eston (Yellow), Norman Isch (Black/White) and Hunter Gibson (Yellow). Front Row; Logan Galindo (Black/White), Aiden Hughes (Purple), Jahaziel Figueroa (Blue), Julian Rico (Green), Keven Maldando (Orange), and Hunter "Bo" Green (Yellow). In the splits is Zachary Payne graduated the Lil' Dragon program with a Green Belt. Congratulations to you all for an awesome testing.