Les Mayfield, her husband, was pretty much going nuts.
"He kept saying, 'it's a big one, it's a big one. Kill it. Kill it. It's a monster,' and I thought he was going to scare him off," Jennifer Mayfield said, laughing. "I kept having to say shhh, shhhh. I was actually having to shush him in the stand."
Les Mayfield backs up his wife's account of their hunt Dec 13.
"Yeah, I was shaking so much I was worried about shaking the stand too much for her to shoot," he said. "I really was excited."
He should have been. A hunter for 25 years, he knew this was no ordinary buck. It wound up grossing 145-inches, and featured 23½-inch main beams, 5½-inch bases, 11-inch G2s and a 19½-inch spread.
"Pretty good for a first buck, eh?" Les Mayfield said of his wife's trophy, which is bigger than anything he has killed. "I have to give it to her, she kept it together good and never got too excited until after we were standing over the buck."
Jennifer Mayfield began hunting during the 2011-12 season, about a year after marrying Les.
"She had to start hunting," he joked, "if she was going to spend time with me in the winter."
She killed a doe that first season, and was hoping to do better this year.
"Jennifer has her own rifle, but I haven't bought her a primitive weapon yet, so she was shooting mine," Les Mayfield said. "It's a Thompson Center and I have a bunch of barrels for it and I put the 35 Whelan on for her. That's what she was shooting."
The Mayfields decided to stay and hunt that Sunday afternoon, after most members of the private club had gone home.
"It was about 75 degrees that day and to be honest I didn't have high expectations," Les Mayfield said. "I think only one other member stuck around to hunt that day. We went to Jennifer's stand, that's what I call it. I planted the food plot for her and my son built the 4X6 shooting house, which backs up to a creek.
"I rarely hunt it by myself, usually only in the mornings. She doesn't like to get up and hunt that early. I bet that stand and that food plot hadn't been hunted five times this year before that day."
About an hour in, a spike walked out, and fed across the food plot and left out the other side.
"We were sitting there and we thought we heard something to our left," Les Mayfield said. "I don't hear so well, after all these years of deer hunting and duck hunting, so I wasn't really sure. It kind of sounded like that noise an armadillo makes coming through the woods. I wasn't sure.
"I guess it was the buck, and I'm not sure if he was making a scrape or rubbing on something, but looking back I guess it was him. He crossed the creek and walked through a thicket. I guess the noise was him in the thicket."
It had enough of Les' attention for him to be looking in the right direction when the buck first appeared at the edge of the thicket 75 yards away.
"I was the one who saw him," Les Mayfield said. "I looked and he walked out of the thicket with his head down. His antlers were white and I could see the main beam and I said, 'baby, there's your first buck.'
"Then he took another step, stopped, turned and looked right up at me. I could see right away he was a big one and I got excited. It was probably a mistake but I told Jennifer, 'it's a monster.'"
Jennifer was already in gear, and getting into her zone.
The husband was sitting on the left side of the stand, and the wife on his right, their regular positions.
"That worked well, since we're both right-handed and the buck came out on our left," Les Mayfield said. "When she's hunting, she always takes her gun and sets it up from the side window to the front window, so she already had it up and was getting on the buck."
Because it had turned to look at the stand, the buck was walking right toward the Mayfields.
"I had to wait for it to turn broadside for a shot," the wife said.
Here the pair's accounts veer off line.
He said: "I tried to calm her down. I was telling her to take deep breaths and to squeeze the trigger, not to jerk it, and to take one big breath..."
She said: "He was saying 'kill it, kill it, it's a big one, kill it.' I started shushing him in the stand so he wouldn't scare the buck away."
The discussion didn't take long. The buck stopped and turned, putting his head down to eat oats. He was broadside at 70 yards.
"I squeezed the trigger," she said. "He jumped but then he took off and ran about 75 yards across the field and stopped."
Les Mayfield was watching him closely and waiting for the buck to fall over dead at any second.
"He made it to the edge of the woods but it's pretty open and I could see him," Les Mayfield said. "I knew she had hit him pretty good and was sure he was going to fall right there. But then he picked up his leg and when he didn't fall, I told her to shoot him again."
"I didn't want him to get away so I shot him again," she said. "I was behind his shoulder on both shots. After the second shot, he ran about five yards and fell over dead."
The pair walked over to the deer and, as Les Mayfield said, there was no ground shrinkage.
"He looked at me with this big ol' grin, and said, 'I hope you know what you just did,'" Jennifer Mayfield said. "That's when I got excited and I have been on cloud nine ever since.
"The two shots were good, about three inches apart right behind the shoulder. I am so proud that I was able to stay focused through it all. That's what I locked in on, focusing on what I had to do."
Consider it a job well done.
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