Call it woman’s intuition, but Garlandville’s Lauren Shimfessel just had a good feeling as she eased to her elevated Jasper County stand about 3 pm. on Dec. 26.
And an hour later her hunch turned into a trophy buck when a 167-inch 12-point walked into range.
But Shimfessel, who was making her first solo hunt and had never killed a buck, thought the hunt was over minutes after settling in for the hunt when she had to struggle to keep quiet.
“I really felt good about my hunt that afternoon, but after I started coughing and sneezing I was worried that I might scare the deer off,” said Shimfessel, who killed her first deer just last season.
But she finally settled down and began readying herself for any chance at a shot.
“I have a system where I practice aiming by picking the gun up and looking through the scope and picking out a point to shoot,” Shimfessel explained. “That gets me ready, so I felt prepared if a buck came out.”
A few minutes later, the 21-year-old hunter was ready to make something happen.
“Around 3:30 (p.m.) I used my grunt call, and (I) heard a noise off in the woods,” Shimfessel said. “At 4 I grunted again, and about 15 minutes later a buck came walking out in the green field.”
Shimfessel was in a shoot house that was located off of the field, partially concealed about 190 yards away.
“I knew that I didn’t have much time, so I put my crosshairs on him,” she said. “He came out sniffing and looking in my direction, and I really got nervous — so I took three deep breaths, and on my last breath I had (the rifle) on his shoulder and squeezed it off.”
The .308 Remington roared, and the buck dropped in his tracks.
“I really didn’t know how big it was, but knew it was at least a 6-point,” Shimfessel said. “I called my Dad, and he asked if it was me that shot.”
She still had no idea about the size of the buck’s rack, telling her father she thought it was a 6-point.
“He told me to stay there until he got there after I told him I had one down,” Shimfessel said. “So he came pretty quickly, and we walked down to the deer.”
The elder Shimfessel was stunned.
“Lauren, you have no idea what you did!” Donnie Shimfessel told his daughter. “Six points — he’s got that many on one side.”
The 180-pound buck sported 12 points with two kickers, and the rack green scored 167 Boone and Crockett.
“I would have been extremely happy to just kill a buck and I thought he was a 6-point,” said Shimfessel. “It was amazing.”