On opening day of the gun season for deer on Nov. 23, David Weber’s emotions ran the gamut, from pride to a broken heart and then lifting to a level of celebration the likes he hasn’t seen in decades.
And Weber never fired a shot. He never even got into a deer stand that day.
His daughter, Julia, 16, a junior at Leake Academy, did and killed a monster buck sporting a non-typical rack that green-scored 156 3/8 inches.
It was the biggest deer ever killed at their Leake County camp. It had 20 scorable points, including 13 atypical ones that measured over 50 inches.
“It would have scored more but there were at least two or three other points that were broken off, and there are some weird notches I don’t even think were scored,” said David Weber. “It was really crazy, and not one like you would normally see in this neck of the woods, not in Leake County.”
The day started normally, the dad said, as he and his daughter decided to go to a stand over a green field at their camp.
“When we got to the stand, she told me she wanted to hunt alone, that I made her too nervous,” David Weber said. “She has never done that, hunted alone. This was her first time to hunt by herself in a stand. I was proud of her that she felt confident enough to do that. She’s a little bitty thing, about 89 pounds.
“But after I put her in the stand and took a photo of her, I climbed out and I left. I went home, which was about five miles away, and I’ve got to tell you that on the way, I was a little heartbroken at not getting to hunt with her. I guess you could say it hurt my feelings.”
All that was forgotten about an hour later.
“She texted me at 5:14 and said she had just shot a deer,” he said. “Then I called her to ask her what she had shot. She said she wasn’t sure and then I started giving her fits about that because we all hunt only big, mature bucks, and she’s killed some big bucks before, too.”
Julia Weber said she was sure the buck was a shooter but was just too excited to express that to her dad.
“At first, when I saw him, I wasn’t sure what it was,” she said, referring to the antler dimensions. “I just knew he was big. I was nervous and shaking; my heart was beating so hard that I could feel it beating out of my chest.”
It was the only deer in the field when she pulled the gun up, put the crosshairs on its shoulder and squeezed off the shot. At 120 yards, the buck fell right where it stood, graveyard dead.
“I asked her if she had gone to look at it, and she said she was still in the stand and wasn’t getting out,” David Weber said. “She had seen a coyote earlier that day, and she didn’t like that. I told her to sit tight and I’d be right there.”
Dad went straight to daughter, got her out of the stand and he pointed out the buck’s location. They made the 120-yard walk fairly quickly and then David Weber broke away to get the first look.
“I saw all those points, going every which way and I said, ‘oh man!’” he said. “Then she looked and saw it and screamed and jumped in my arms and we flipped and rolled on the ground. I had never killed a buck that big and she hadn’t either.”
Said Julia: “I started screaming and freaking out.”
After celebrating with Dad, she did what most young girls would.
“I had to call my boyfriend and brag to him,” she said.
The big buck has been the talk of Carthage, their hometown, ever since.
“I’m not kidding you about that; it’s what everybody is talking about,” David Weber said. “No matter where we go, especially Julia, everybody says they’ve never seen a buck like that in Leake County.”
That makes another trophy that will soon adorn a Weber wall.
At David Weber’s office in Carthage hangs a replica of the 61-pound redfish he caught in 1992 out of Cocodrie, La. It remains the record redfish for the Northern Gulf of Mexico.
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Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.