Her dad, Michael Peyton, got her interested in deer hunting.
Her grandfather, Bubba Vandervere, taught her patience through fishing.
And, her husband, Tim Paul, bought her a bow that got her started archery hunting for deer about five years ago.
On Oct. 14, it all culminated in her taking her first bow buck, and, wow, what a trophy it is. The 14-point taken near Benton in Yazoo County will qualify as a typical for Pope & Young. It grossed scored 157 inches green and netted 132 ⅜ inches, setting a pretty high bar for women archers in the Mississippi Sportsman Big Buck Bounty.
"I killed five does the first year I hunted with a bow and a few more the last few years, but my goal the past two years has been to get my first buck," Paul said. "I would have never thought that my first buck I would kill with a bow would be a 14-point, bigger than anything I ever shot with a gun."
It was only because of her determination - and patience passed on by her mentors - that the 14-pointer was the first.
"About a week before that she passed on a really nice 8-point we'd seen on cam in that same spot," husband Tim said. "As a matter of fact, I have a picture of the 8 taken while she was in the stand that day, 20 yards away. It was an 8-point that anybody would shoot. I know I would have.
"But she was determined that she wanted that 14. We had gotten several trail cam photos of it, too, in that area, but it was only coming through about once a week over the previous month. The 8 was more active, and I hung the stand there and cleaned out (shooting lanes) thinking about the 8."
Thing is, the 8 just wouldn't do.
"No, I wanted the 14," Tracy Paul said. "I passed on that 18- or 20-inch 8 because I really wanted to wait on the 14.
"As you can imagine, that 8 started to grow in my head over the next few days."
Before it could turn into a full-blown case of regret, her perseverance paid off.
"The next weekend, I had not planned on hunting because it was so hot outside," she said, adding that her husband was working and her parents were out of town. "But at the last minute, that Sunday I remembered what my grandfather (Vandervere) used to tell me when he'd take me fishing. He'd say, 'If you're line's not in the water, you definitely can't catch anything.' I decided if I wasn't in the stand hunting, I couldn't kill the 14-point.
"So, I loaded all my stuff up and went to my parent's land in Benton by myself. I got on the stand a little late and didn't see anything for 1½ hours, and at 6:15 I started to remember what my dad always taught me when we'd sit in a stand together and it would get late in the afternoon - 'Be real still and quiet; it's prime time for the big bucks to come out.'"
Which, of course, is exactly what happened.
"Right after that, a button buck walked through, and then I heard something walking behind my stand and I looked to my left," Paul said. "All I could see was antlers coming through the thick woods. I couldn't tell if it was the 14-point we had on camera or not, but I knew it was big so I stood up and drew back while he was still in the thick woods.
"As soon as the deer stepped out into an opening, I knew it was the 14 because I could see all his antlers forking. He came out 25 yards from my stand, and I knew he wouldn't stay there long, so I shot."
She said she heard the arrow hit her target, but couldn't see where it struck the deer. She felt pretty good about the shot and had to share the news with somebody.
"I immediately called my husband and my parents and told them 'I just shot the 14 point,'" she said. "I hadn't been nervous as it was happening because it happened so quick, but then I got nervous. When I called my husband, he said he could hear me shaking."
Tim Paul said he could definitely hear her excitement.
"She was saying she thought she had shot the 14-point and was excited to the point of tears," he said. "I had just gotten off work in Yazoo City, and I immediately started heading that way."
In her haste to get to the woods, she had forgotten to grab her flashlight - "I didn't think I'd need it," she said - so she had to wait the 30 minutes for Tim to drive to the farm and make it to her stand.
Blood-trailing the buck would prove a chore, and take much longer.
"There was no blood where she shot the buck," Tim Paul said. "She shoots a 45-pound bow, a Mathews Ignition, that I bought her in 2008. I don't think the arrow penetrated very far. We looked and looked, and finally I found the arrow about 60 yards away from where the deer was shot.
"There was blood for about 4 inches on the arrow, so I knew it hadn't penetrated too far. The buck ran past a tree and it knocked the arrow out. I still didn't find blood, so I went and got blood-trailing dog and it just ran in circles for about 30 minutes without getting on anything."
Determined, the husband didn't give up on his wife's buck.
"I decided I'd just hit this briar thicket and start looking, and after 30 minutes I just happened to look down and I found a big pile of blood," Tim Paul said. "Apparently, it didn't start bleeding for about 30 more yards after it knocked the arrow out, and then it bled pretty good."
The chase was on.
"I hollered to Tracy, and she came running," Time Paul said." From that point on, I'd look for blood and when I'd find it, she'd move to that spot and wait until I found the next one. This lasted a while, about two total hours start to finish, but I finally found the buck on a ditch bank where it had left the briar thicket. I hollered to her and she came running."
Tracy Paul hurried to her husband's side because she could hear something different in his call.
"I knew he found it by the way the excitement grew in his voice," she said.
The deer is a mainframe 10-pointer with forked G2s and G3s on each side. And the rack is tall, with G3s that go 12 and 11½ inches off 23-inch main beams.
It was not exceptionally wide, at just under 16 inches. It had 4-inch bases, a mass that each main beam carried throughout the required scoring areas.
The celebration began.
"Yeah, you could say she was some kind of excited, and I was too," her husband said. "I was so happy for her. We made a pact this year that our goal would be for each of us to take a 150-inch buck (gross). I guess I have a lot of catching up to do."
Tracy Paul's next call was to her dad, who started her hunting as a youngster.
"He bought me a .243 rifle when I was 9, and he is definitely the reason why I love hunting," she said. "Then Tim bought me my first bow and made me some pink zebra fletchings, and I got hooked on bow hunting. I love it."
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