The season had been slow for an Itta Bena teen, but an invitation to hunt from family friends and an afternoon in a deer stand in the Mississippi Delta produced a giant buck that’s her biggest to date.
It also produced an experience her mother will never forget.
“It was not very good,” Neely Jordan, 14, said about the season prior to Dec. 10. “We really hadn’t seen anything — maybe a doe or two.”
However, that was about to change for the young hunter.
“We got invited to go to my parents’ friends’ land,” Neely said. “Every year we get invited to go. They have some big deer there.”
On the afternoon of Dec. 10, Neely and her mother, Kristi, climbed into a box stand overlooking a food plot and the two started seeing activity soon after.
“We got in the stands around 2:45,” Neely said. “Ten minutes after we got in the stand two dogs came out behind us.
“They were just eating. They were making their way towards us in the stand. We were just watching the does and my mom looked forward and she saw the buck in the woodline.”
Kristi, an avid hunter, knew it was a good buck.
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“We’re sitting in the stands and two dogs had been behind us forever,” Kristi said. “I just looked in front of me and I saw him.
“I thought he was a pretty good deer, so I got my binoculars. I saw he was a nice buck. I told her if he stopped and she could steady the gun and felt comfortable, she could shoot him.”
The buck was 100 yards away in the woods and Neely had trouble seeing him at first.
“She tried to point him out to me, but I couldn’t see him,” Neely said. “Once he got in the open, I could see him.
“He was just walking along. He was going straight to a scrape. He was walking pretty fast.”
Because the buck was walking at a fast pace, Neely was concerned her window of opportunity was going to be a small one.
“For a second I kind of thought that,” Neely said. “He was walking pretty fast and I thought he was just going to go back into the woods.”
The scene was unfolding quickly and Neely said she didn’t have time to get nervous.
It was a different story for her mother.
“I was shaking for her because I knew what it was,” Kristi said. “My heart was pumping and I was shaking.”
The buck stopped broadside and Neely wasted no time. She squeezed the trigger on her 7mm-08 rifle and the buck dropped where he stood.
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“Before we got down we were screaming and giving high-fives,” Kristi said. “We knew the buck wasn’t going anywhere.”
Although there wasn’t enough time before the shot, it didn’t take long after for Neely’s nerves to get the best of her.
“I was shaking a tear the whole time after I shot him,” Neely said. “Like when we were walking across the field, I was shaking a ton.
“That’s like the biggest deer I’ve ever seen. I was really happy because I’ve never killed anything as big as he was.”
And Neely isn’t alone in saying she’d never seen a deer that big. Many others have never encountered a buck that large. Neely’s father, D’Wayne, said the buck had an inside spread of 19 1/2 inches. His bases measured 5 1/2 inches and his main beams were 22 1/2 inches. His gross score was 144 5/8 and he was estimated to be 5 to 6 years old.
At 185 pounds, the deer provided a lot of meat, too.
“This was a big buck,” Kristi said. “We just went and got the meat yesterday. It’s plenty for us.”
It’s a buck, and a moment, that are etched in Kristi’s mind.
“I was so proud,” Kristi said. “This memory — I will never forget this my whole life. She was so excited.”
Contact Brian Broom at email@example.com or 601-961-7225.
This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Mississippi teen deer hunter bags trophy, 140-class buck