Chesnee Wallace stalked silently yet deliberately on her way to a tree stand in a secluded area of Newton County in search of a nice buck. Wallace had joined a group of friends on the hunt, but preferred hunting alone on her stand.

As she moved further into the woods she became engrossed in her surroundings, searching for any sign of the buck she knew was out there somewhere, possibly very near. Arriving at her stand, Wallace eased up the ladder and settled in for the afternoon hunt.

With the final rays of sunlight disappearing swiftly over the horizon, Wallace's hopes were fading fast. Suddenly she heard a crack and snap, as something was approaching the lush greenery in the field directly in front of her. Seconds later, Wallace saw antlers coming out of the woods.

Sure enough, a buck was coming into the field in search of an easy meal. As soon as the big animal settled down, Wallace raised her Remington .270 rifle, centered the crosshairs on the buck and slowly squeezed the trigger. As the rifle roared, the buck collapsed in a heap and the young sharpshooter had harvested her very first buck, a nice 9-point Newton County deer. Though that buck wasn't a monster, it was truly a trophy for her and one that ignited her passion for the wild even further.

Wallace, now living in the Raymond area, has always been fascinated with the outdoors, and hunting deer was just one more way for her to connect with her roots and love of nature. Though her dad, Ross Cheatham, didn't hunt deer, he did carry Chesnee fishing and camping during her formative years. As an only child, she was given every opportunity afforded any boy to develop a love of the outdoors.

"I grew up in the Forest Hill area of Jackson, and spent my time outdoors riding bikes, building forts and fishing with Dad," said Wallace. "He took me fishing and camping at Cooper Lake near Morton, so staying outdoors just came natural. And when I got the chance to start deer hunting at 19, I jumped at it."

She has become quite proficient at it as well, evidenced by her numerous buck kills over the years.


Favorite hunt

After a few years of hunting deer successfully, Wallace bought a used bow and started practicing with it. The thrill of hunting with a stick and string excited her and challenged her to get closer to the deer and hunt them on their terms. Harvesting a deer is quite an accomplishment, but killing one with a bow is said to be the ultimate experience in deer hunting. When bowhunting deer in close quarters, the simplest movement or sound may send a buck bounding away in pursuit of safety.

Normally Mississippi deer don't wait to see what made the movement or sound; they just flee with reckless abandon.

"I like to be as quiet as possible and reflect on things while waiting for the deer to appear," Wallace said. "I'll soak up the natural sounds and reflections and just enjoy nature and what God has created, while being surrounded by the land and splendor of it all."

Wallace was positioned in a stand overlooking a pasture and cut corn field when a herd of does came in and started.

"A few does came by me on the edge of the wood line feeding on acorns," she said. "When one passed by at 20 yards, I drew back, released my arrow and smoked her!

"Though I've killed many deer and some pretty good bucks, that first bow kill remains my favorite hunt of all time."

Though her first hunt occurred near Taylorsville at the young age of 19, and her first few kills came from the Newton County area, Wallace knew something had to change if she was going to harvest quality whitetails. As a result of her maturity and newfound hunting skills, Wallace did a little research and quickly changed hunting locations. That was when she started harvesting deer most people only dream about.

"My first really good buck came from an area near Flora," said Wallace. "Madison County is known for producing trophy bucks, and I decided to start concentrating on bigger deer there."

Another thing Wallace did in her quest for harvesting quality whitetails was to let the young ones walk. One such instance came to mind for Wallace when she explained her theory of letting the younger ones pass.

"I located a good area along the Big Black River near Flora that was promising and full of big buck sign," Wallace said. "I got into my stand before daylight to allow the woods to settle down before dawn."

Her specific hunting location was chock full of hardwood timber and white oaks. The succulent acorns are deer magnets during plentiful years, and the deer will flock to them. Along with the hardwood timber surrounding the stand area, Wallace had a good view of a broom sage field perhaps a football field long. Though she didn't see anything early, the action heated up around 9 a.m. Turning her attention to an area along the edge of the broom sage, Wallace spotted movement.

"I saw an 8-point come out and start across the broom sage, squeezed my safety off slowly and had the crosshairs centered on the buck's shoulder," she said. "But before I could shoot him, another buck suddenly burst out of the woods, and this one was even bigger.

"The bigger buck came out about 10 steps behind the other deer. I quickly moved the crosshairs on him, and laid him down."

A few minutes later, Wallace heard some hunters on the adjoining property coming back down in the woods on their 4-wheelers. The successful hunter's plan of arriving at her stand site well before daylight had paid off, as she was prepared when the other hunters pushed two nice bucks right by her stand. Some say the early bird gets the worm, but in this case it was Wallace who arose well before daylight, got in her stand and harvested a trophy buck while her neighbors were just making their way into the woods.

Wallace's Big Black River buck weighed in at 220 pounds and sported a tall 8-point rack with a 20-inch spread. Known for her one shot kills, "Little Sure Shot" had done it again.

This talented hunter has proven her prowess over and over again, while hunting by herself. And though she does hunt with her husband Randy a good bit now, she has always been quick to head to the woods alone.

"I'd recommend any woman to give deer hunting a chance," Wallace said. "You don't have to hunt by yourself when you're just starting and don't need to be intimidated into thinking that women don't have a place deer hunting. There are lots of folks who will help get you started and you can hunt by yourself at your convenience, whenever and wherever you can."


Drop-tine buck

When Wallace lived in Rankin County, she made the best of her time and went to the woods many times after leaving work. The young lady had put up a metal ladder stand on the back of her property overlooking a deer trail that crossed her place.

"I've spent a lot of afternoons on that stand when I didn't have much time to hunt," she said.

And while she didn't kill a deer every time she went, she did get to watch deer occasionally and enjoy nature. On one late afternoon hunt, she climbed into her stand and had an exciting, fast-paced afternoon. She was hunting the clear trail looking for any sign of a deer, when a nice buck suddenly burst out and came out across the trail directly in front of her.

"He came cruising through looking for does and never knew I was there," she said. "I took aim, squeezed the trigger slowly and downed him with one shot."

The magnificent buck sported 11 points and had a rare drop tine.


Thanksgiving pregnancy hunt

You can usually tell where a person's passion lies by watching how they live and what they do, and Wallace is no exception to that axiom. In fact, you can hear the passion she has for deer hunting in her voice as she relates the triumphant stories of her deer hunts. You can also see it in her trophies displayed on the wall. So nobody should be surprised that an expectant mother like Wallace would want to go deer hunting before having her baby.

"Around Thanksgiving a couple years ago, I was pregnant with my first child, and I just couldn't wait to go hunting and kill another deer," Wallace explained. "I knew that I wouldn't be able to hunt much, if any, after the baby came, at least for awhile, and I had to get another chance at a buck."

With the pregnancy in mind, the avid hunter planned a hunting trip in search of another deer.

"I just love the thrill of the hunt and knew that this might be my last chance at a buck, so we went hunting," she said. "Some of the guys were picking at me about being pregnant and going hunting, and others were really concerned."

This time Wallace was joined on the stand by her husband Randy, who was admittedly worried about her hunting alone under these conditions. Their hunting location was a tree stand overlooking a broom sage field that usually had ryegrass and clover planted in a strip through the field.

Suddenly a deer came into the field and Wallace got ready for the shot. As she kept waiting for the perfect time, Randy couldn't stand it any longer. "Do you want to shoot him?" he asked. "If you don't, I'm going to."

Finally Chesnee took aim at the buck at a distance of 100 yards and fired a shot. The buck kept running and stopped about 30 yards further away.

"After I shot him the first time, he stopped and I shot at him again and he kept going," said Wallace. "Just as the buck was about to escape, I fired again as he jumped the fence and disappeared."

This time the modern day Annie Oakley proved that she could hit a running deer, even if it had taken three shots from her .308 rifle. But just as the real Annie Oakley did with amazing frequency, Wallace's aim was straight and true when it counted. The buck was found dead only a few feet from where he jumped the fence, and another triumphant celebration ensued. Chesnee had killed another fine buck, a heavy horned 8-point with a nice spread. Her kill was just in the nick of time, as she gave birth to future hunter Raney Ross Wallace a short time later.


Mossy Horn broken-antlered buck

After the birth of her baby, Chesnee spent a lot of time doing what mothers do, taking care of little Raney. That didn't leave much time for deer hunting.

"On my first trip to the camp last fall after I had my baby, my husband and I got up and decided to go hunting," said Wallace. "He told me to ask Shane if he'd carry me over to the tripod stand, and he agreed when I asked him.

"The land isn't hunted a lot, so I decided to watch some deer before pulling the trigger."

It didn't take long before the action heated up. After watching a few does feed through the area, Wallace heard quite a commotion.

"About 30 minutes after we'd been on the stand, I heard something and looked over, and here came a 9-point; he was looking at me," she said. "When he turned his head my way, all I saw were points going everywhere, so I shot him. He took off running, and I heard him crash just out of sight."

After a friend came down to help look for the deer, they found blood everywhere, and that was right up Wallace's alley.

"I love to blood-trail deer; it's really a great part of deer hunting to me," said Wallace.

The blood trail didn't go very far as they found the buck a short distance away at the base of an oak tree.

"He ran smack into a huge oak tree covered with green moss, and died right there," said Wallace.

Ironically, the buck hit the tree running wide open as evidenced by the green moss on one antler. Part of the other antler was broken off by the impact, but no matter, that only added to the excitement of the hunt and made for a unique story. After quite a search, the other antler parts remained missing in action, but the hunt was a rousing success as Chesnee made good on her comeback hunt by killing a mossy-horned, broken-antlered buck.