The year 1994 was a good year for records

  • James McMurray
    James McMurray
  • Greg Wiggins
    Greg Wiggins

It’s enlightening to turn back the pages of history to see things that happened during a particular year, things we remember fondly; some not so much.

The year, 1994, featured some things much different than today. For example, did you know that the average income for households that year was $37,000? Did you know you could purchase a brand new house for an average of $119,000? You could buy a new car for the average price of $12,350 and could drive it fairly inexpensively as the average price of a gallon of gasoline that year nationwide was $1.09.

The year 1994 featured several events that made national news. O.J. Simpson was arrested for the death of his former wife, Tonya Harding had the knee of ice skating rival, Nancy Kerrigan whacked to eliminate her as a competitor, Paula Jones filed a lawsuit against President Bill Clinton for sexual harassment.

Popular films released that year included Forrest Gump, Shawshank Redemption and Lion King. Baseball season and the World Series were cancelled because of a prolonged strike. The tunnel was completed across the English Channel connecting England and France, and Lisa Marie Presley married Michael Jackson.

During this eventful year, two prominent political figures died; former President Richard Nixon and former first lady, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Former president Ronald Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1994.

Winner of the 1994 Super Bowl was the Dallas Cowboys and the Jacksonville Jaguars joined the National Football League.

While these events were taking place, something was happening in the woods and on the waters in 1994 when two state records were set for bucks and bass, records that still hold today.

On a cold and damp January 4, 1994, Franklin Parish Sheriff deputy James McMurray climbed into his deer stand on Big Lake wildlife management area for a chance at a deer. Using his grunt call and rattling horns, he saw a deer moving through the thicket. Seeing antlers, he knew it was a buck, but had no idea he was about to have a chance at a state record, one that has stood atop the pack for the past 27 years. McMurray’s buck, with more than 40 antler points, was officially scored with 281 6/8 inches of antler.

McMurray’s trophy had a serious challenge this year when Brennan Morris, hunting with a crossbow in Richland Parish, downed a 42-point monster that measured 275 5/8 inches. Close call but McMurray’s buck still hangs on to the top spot in the Louisiana record book.

I visited with McMurray after his trophy buck was mounted and accompanied him to the spot where he downed the buck. Having the opportunity to lay my hands on the state record mount was a special day for me.

On a chilly late winter night in 1994, Greg Wiggins was fishing on Caney Lake using a plastic worm when he felt a thump. Setting the hook, Wiggins was able to hook, hang onto and land a largemouth bass that weighed in at 15.97 pounds. His state record bass has continued to hang onto the top spot for 27 years.

As soon as I heard about Wiggins’ fish, I arranged to meet him and was able to get an interview and photos of him and his big bass, another memorable time for me.

1994 has proven to be a memorable year in many ways with two Louisiana state records, deer and bass, getting equal billing for Louisiana’s hunters and