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Sports

Grayson Co. Poacher, John Walker DrinnonNovember 27, 2017 - Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens in Grayson County recently closed out a trio of poaching cases involving several trophy class white-tailed deer, all of which were taken illegally during the 2016-17 season. According to a TPWD report released on Nov. 17, the outlaws involved in the cases were ordered to pay a combined total of $34,954.80 in civil restitution fees alone for their involvement in killing three bucks with a combined Boone and Crockett score totaling more than 535 inches.

The report says numerous charges were filed in the cases ranging from taking deer without landowner consent (a state jail felony), hunting without landowner consent, hunting from a vehicle, hunting from a vehicle, hunting without a license, hunting from a public road, no hunter education, illegal means and methods, improperly tagged deer and hunting out of season.

John Walker Drinnon of Whiteboro was named in a recent TPWD report identifying him a one of three men involved in separate deer poaching cases filed in Grayson County by Texas game wardens. The report says Drinnon confessed to killing this big 19 pointer illegally in Dec. 2016. The buck scores 202 B&C and commands civil restitution fees totaling more than $18,000. (TPWD Photos)

The biggest of the three bucks was a 202 inch 19 pointer killed last December by John Walker Drinnon of Whitesboro, the report says. According to TPWD, Drinnon originally told wardens he shot the buck in Oklahoma but eventually confessed to killing it with a rifle from a public roadway in Grayson County, an archery only county. Civil restitution on the deer is more than $18,000, the report says.

TPWD also named Timothy Kane Sweet of Sherman and Brian Eugene Gulp in separate poaching cases. According to the report, Sweet claimed he shot a 19 pointer scoring 177 B&C in Fannin County, but game camera photos identified the deer as a Grayson Co. buck. According to the report, Sweet told wardens "he made a poor shot on the deer that didn’t draw blood, but returned to the area later that evening to inspect. When the buck jumped up and began to run off, Sweet said he shot it five or six times illegally at night with a pistol." Civil restitution on the buck was nearly $10,665.

The report says Culp killed a Grayson Co. 10 pointer scoring 157 last season using tags from a Super Combo license he was not qualified to possess. Civil restitution on that deer totaled more than $6,240.

The full report is available at tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/releases/?req=20171117a.

November 27, 2017 - A sign recognizing the accomplishments of the Texas South Regional Champion Center 6U All-Stars T-ball team for the 2017 season was placed at the Center ballpark T-Ball field on November 12, 2017.

A cookout for players and family was held at the park before the sign was placed.

The team had a 13-0 post season during which time the team earned three championship titles. They participated in the State Tournament in Longview, Texas where they earned 2nd place in Texas.

In Ruston, Louisiana the team played in the World Series tournament where they placed 5th out of approximately 300 teams.

During their cookout, family members of players and coaches combined efforts to hang the sign in honor of the team.

Lady hunter Chloe Howard of Bullard displays the 21-point bruiser she brought down while hunting with her uncle, Clint Miller, of Jacksonville. She was hunting on 100 acres of open range in Nacogdoches County. (Photo courtesy of Clint Miller)November 27, 2017 - Just about anyone with an interest in chasing whitetails likes to hear a good story about a young deer hunter bushwhacking a big ol' buck. But it's episodes like the one that unfolded shortly after daylight on Oct. 28 on a 100-acre family farm in western Nacogdoches County that will put an everlasting twinkle in your eye and leave you scratching your head at the same time.

Just ask 40-year-old Clint Miller of Jacksonville. It's been nearly three weeks since Miller watched his 12-year-old niece, Chloe Howard of Bullard, blast the biggest buck that either of them has ever seen. He still gets goose bumps just thinking about it.

"I still can't believe it," Miller said. "That buck was a monster, man. He just showed up out of nowhere and took us both by total surprise. There are some pretty decent deer that hang around out there on the farm, but we've never seen anything close to this. The other farms around our place get hunted, but as far as I know nobody knew a thing about this buck. I know I didn't."

And neither did Howard.

A 7th grader at Bullard Middle School, Howard lives life like many other girls her age with roots in rural East Texas towns. She enjoys the classroom, is involved in FFA and is big on sports. She wears a jersey on the Lady Panther volleyball and basketball teams and has aspirations of joining the track squad next spring.

In the midst of it all Howard likes to cradle a rifle or shotgun and go hunting whenever the chance arises. Her most frequent partner is her Uncle Clint, a life-long deer hunter who knows the value and importance of getting youngsters in the woods at a young age.

"I've got an 11-year-old daughter and I take her and Chloe whenever I can," he said. "We've got a family ranch in North Texas where I do a good bit of my hunting, but I also enjoy going over to my mom and stepdad's 100-acre farm. It's a really sweet spot with lots of deer. It's not managed and we don't have game cameras or anything like that. It's one of those places where you just go sit and wait. You're always just about guaranteed to see something over there. If you don't see deer while you're in the stand you'll see them on the way out. It nothing of the ordinary to see 10-15 does at one time."

Miller has his own theory as to why the acreage attracts and holds so many animals, and it makes plenty of sense.

For starters, there is a hog wire fence around the perimeter and adult does utilize the property as somewhat of a sanctuary during the fawning season. Plus, the deer don't see much outside human traffic and hunting pressure is limited to a few family members who take a handful of deer off the property each year. Everyone with key to the gate is becoming increasingly choosy about the bucks they squeeze the trigger on.

"The guy who owned the place before my mom and stepdad had a bunch of goats and he had it fenced to keep them in," Miller said. "It's not a game fence, but it'll hold cattle. The adult deer can jump the fence easy and they come and go, but the little ones can't. A lot of the does have their fawns on the place. They'll hang out there because the fawns aren't big enough to jump out. When the rut starts those bucks come running. Sometimes you can rattle them up. At times it's almost like a hunting show on television."

The acreage also is heavily wooded and cluttered with mast producing oaks. Miller says large white oak trees that produce nutrition-rich goodies are especially abundant on rectangular shaped piece of land.

"The white oaks are another big key, no doubt about it," he said. "There are lot of big trees on this place - way more than you see most land around East Texas. The deer don't have any reason to leave because they've got plenty of food and water right there. Those deer hang out under those white oaks and feed on those big ol' acorns. I think that's what helped this is buck get so big and massive. There are some pretty good genetics out there, too."

That's all interesting stuff, but what is even more intriguing is how everything came together and paid off with a brute of a buck for a pretty young blonde with her hair styled in a pony tail. Here's how it all went down:

Short but Sweet: Hunt of a Lifetime

Volleyball season had rolled to a close just prior to the two-day Youth Only season in late October, so Howard took advantage of the free time to join her uncle in a box blind on opening morning. One of fall's most pronounced cold fronts had recently passed across the region, dropping outside temperatures into the upper 20s long before the dawn of another day.

"He told me I needed to get up at 4 a.m. and be ready," Howard recalled. "It was about 6 a.m. when we got into the stand and it was freezing out there. I was dressed in layers, though, so I was pretty warm."

That's a good thing. Howard said her uncle had two propane heaters in the stand that morning, but couldn't get either one of them to fire up.

"He even had a spare bottle of propane, but it didn't help," Howard said. "He was thinking it was going to be a horrible morning for hunting because it was so cold, but it ended up turning out pretty good. I'm glad we went."

Howard said they had been in the box blind for close to an hour before the first hint of daylight made it possible to see. The woods were still and quiet, but it didn't stay that way for long.

"It was just breaking day when I looked past Chloe and out the window on the left side of the blind," Miller said. "That's when I saw him. I couldn't tell much about him other than he had a really thick set of antlers and was definitely a shooter. He was headed right at us and getting really close. I handed Chloe the gun, got her chair positioned at the right angle and told her to get ready."

A Hitch in the Plan

Something went terribly wrong as the young girl searched for the buck through the 3X9 power rifle scope.

"You see him?" Miller asked

Chloe's reply: "No, I can't see anything. It's all blurry."

That's when Miller remembered he had cranked the scope to its strongest power ahead of time, just in case his niece was faced with a long range shot. At a distance of 40 yards the buck was over-magnified, making it difficult to find in the lens.

"My uncle got the scope turned down, but by that time the buck had stepped behind some brush," the hunter said. "At first he thought the deer was gone, but I could still see him behind the brush. Then he deer started trotting away from us."

Howard says she wasted no time getting repositioned, sliding the .308 barrel out the front window and steadying for a shot.

"I still couldn't shoot, though," she said. "The buck was trotting away from us and wouldn't stop. That's when my uncle yelled and clapped his hands."

The sudden commotion caused the buck to slam on the brakes and spin sideways, offering Howard a clean broadside shot at 50 yards. The deer fell in its tracks and a celebration began.

"I'll never forget it," her uncle said. "She was so excited. She shot out of the blind before I knew it and I'm yelling for her to come back and get her gun. When we got up close to him I couldn't believe it. He was a monster. It looked like had big tree branches on his head."

Tale of the Tape

The gross score tallied by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department wildlife biologist Larry LeBeau of Tyler explains why. LeBeau green scored the massive 21-point rack at 171 3/8 using the Boone and Crockett scoring system.

More than 41 inches of circumference measurements account for a percentage of the score, largely as the result of the extreme palmation (webbing) on its right antler. The final circumference measurement on that antler is 7 4/8 inches, a good indicator of how much mass the animal was able stack on.

Not surprisingly, Howard quickly became the talk of the hallways at Bullard Middle School as word of her trophy buck spread among her classmates.

"Some of the guys at the school didn't believe me until they saw the picture, and then they were like "whoa!" she said. "My volleyball coach even wanted a copy of the picture so he could show his friends. That was pretty cool. He definitely looks like something you'd see in a deer hunting magazine."

Matt Williams is a freelance writer based in Nacogdoches. He can be reached by e-mail, mattwillwrite4u@yahoo.com.

November 21, 2017 - The Joaquin Junior Varsity and Varsity girls play Harleton in Harleton at 5pm. For the full basketball schedule for Varsity and Jr. Varsity Boys and Girls for 2017-18 year, click here.

November 15, 2017 - The Center Roughriders will face Silsbee in the first round of the playoffs on Friday, November 17, 2017 at Nacogdoches Dragon Stadium. Tickets will be sold at Stadium only!! All tickets are $6 adults and $4 students. Passes accepted are THSCA, District 9-4A and District 10-4A. Center is the visitors and kickoff is at 7:30pm.

November 10, 2017 - The Center Recreation Department is proud to announce that the 2018 Little Dribblers sign ups will begin soon.

Where? The Center Middle School Cafeteria

When?
Thursday, November 16
All from 5:00 to 7:00 pm

Cost is $50 for Basketball (Ages 4-12)

(Includes jersey, insurance, trophy, and all fees)

All children are eligible to play as long as they were born between August 2005 and August 2013. A copy of the birth certificate is needed. Anyone interested in Coaching or Volunteering, please fill out the section on the sign up form.

See you there!

For more information contact Jason Mitchell, City of Center Recreation Director at 936-590-7196.

November 13, 2017 - The Joaquin Rams will play against Centerville in the Bi-District Playoff at Tyler All Saints (Mewbourne Field, 2695 S. SW. Loop 323, Tyler, TX 75701) on Friday, November 17, 2017 at 7:30pm. Joaquin will be the visitors. Tickets are sold at the gate are $5 adult and $3 children. Passes accepted are THSCA, THSWCA, District 11 and 12 Pass, and Senior Citizen.

November 10, 2017 - Friday Night Football Schedule for November 10th, week 11.

Friday Night Football
Joaquin 55 - Cushing 6, Final Score
Shelbyville 18 - Alto 52, Final Score
Tenaha 40 - Timpson 6, Final Score
Center (Bye week)

Jakayla Weathered (Photo by Maxwell Cloudy)November 9, 2017 - The JV Lady Riders defeated Shelbyville’s JV 51-23. Top scorers of the game were Desire’ Himes 22 with points, Beyonce Bell with 10 points, and Mackenzie Mireles with 10 points.

The Varsity Lady Riders defeated ​Shelbyville’s Varsity​ 62-38. Top scorers of the game were Taylor Nichols with 22 points, Jakayla Weathered with 13 points, and Shanyah Williams with 10 points.

November 8, 2017

The Center Roughriders beat the state ranked Kilgore Bulldogs by a final of 49-35. Center now stands at 3-7 for the season and has a conference record of 3-3. This keeps Center in the playoff hunt as they are the frontrunner for the district’s fourth playoff seed. The ‘Riders have a BYE week for this Friday and will have to see how this week’s District 9 4A-1 games pan out.

The Joaquin Rams fell to the unbeaten San Augustine Wolves by a 33-20 score last Friday. This was the Rams first District 11 2A-1 loss. They trail the Wolves by a single game in district play. Joaquin’s overall record is 7-2 and they are 3-1 in conference play. This week they host the Cushing Bearkats on Friday, November 10, 2017, at 7:30 p.m. The Bearkats are 4-5 overall and are 0-4 in district play. The Rams should make the playoffs as the second seed.

The Shelbyville Dragons fell to 2-7 overall, and 1-3 in District 11 2A-1 play with a 56-22 loss, at home, to the Price Carlisle Indians, last Friday. The Dragons will try to rebound when they travel to Alto on Friday, November 10, 2017, for a 7:30 p.m. kick off with the Yellowjackets. A loss would eliminate the Dragons from the playoffs but a win could see them enter the playoffs as either a third or fourth seed.

The Tenaha Tigers and Timpson Bears will battle it out this week for the District 11 2A-2 Championship. Tenaha beat Overton 59-6 on the road last Friday. The Tigers have a 9-0 record and are 4-0 in conference action. Timpson is also 4-0 in district competition. They beat the Mount Enterprise Wildcats 49-6 at Mount Enterprise. The Bears are 8-1 overall.  Kickoff will be at Timpson High School next Friday, October 10, 2017, at 7 p.m. The winner will be the district champion and the loser will take the #2 playoff seed for the conference.

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