When adults think of teenagers, their thoughts often drift to things like messy rooms, loud music, dirty laundry, the incredible cost of auto insurance and the daily challenge of keeping pantry shelves stocked well enough to withstand scavenging from daily after-school raids.
But every once in a while you come across great stories like the one about 15-year-old Cammie D’Amico and how her older brother helped her down the buck of a lifetime — and realize teenaged brothers and sisters can sometimes peacefully coexist, and actually show each other a little love, compassion and caring. (Even if it’s just for a little while.)
The D’Amico’s big buck story started to unfold on Nov. 30 when Cammie, a sophomore at St. Joseph’s Academy in Baton Rouge, and her 18-year-old brother Connor, a senior at Catholic High School, went out for an afternoon hunt in East Feliciana Parish on property just minutes from their home in Clinton.
The two were together in a box stand overlooking a food plot of rye grass when a buck came out late — and Connor made his sister hold off on the shot because he wasn’t sure if it was a shooter in the fading twilight.
Cammie, however, wasn’t too impressed with that call.
“I was kind of mad because I really haven’t seen a deer since I shot my last one a few years ago, so I just wanted to shoot one,” she said, noting her previous best was a 120-inch 8-point three years ago.
But Connor told her he’d make it up to her, and eventually get her a shot at a nice buck.
“After I made her pass on that deer, I told her I’d find her one that she could definitely shoot,” he said.
As fate would have it, a couple of days later Connor got a nighttime trail camera pic of a nice buck in the same food plot — a big heavy-horned 8-point he'd never seen before — that was larger than the one they let walk that evening.
“When she saw the picture of that one, that’s the one she wanted,” he said.
So after they got home from school last Thursday, Dec. 8, they returned to the same stand in hopes the big buck would be back — even though Connor wasn’t really expecting to see the deer that afternoon.
“I just knew he was in that area, so I figured that was the best bet since we had that one picture of him there from a few days earlier,” he said.
For about the first hour, there was zero action — until Cammie spotted something off in the distance dead ahead.
“I couldn’t really see much. I saw it and I was like, ‘I think it’s a deer,’” Cammie said. “Connor didn’t really believe me. I looked through the scope and I barely saw the horns.
“I thought he was going to be smaller than it actually was.”
But when Connor got his binoculars on it, he knew exactly which deer it was — but didn’t want to make his sister nervous for the 200-yard-plus shot.
“As soon as I looked at it through my binoculars, I knew it was that deer,” he said. “I definitely downplayed it.
“I told her it was just big enough to be a shooter.”
Five minutes passed as Connor watched the buck with binoculars and Cammie kept her scope on it. The big deer, which was leisurely munching on rye grass, finally turned broadside — and Connor told his sister to fire away.
From 230 yards, Cammie squeezed off a shot with her .308 — and the big deer disappeared into the thicket.
“I knew she made a good shot because he barely walked out the food plot, and he was moving slow and he had his tail down and he was kind of hunched over,” Connor said.
Cammie said her brother told her they had to wait and go get their dad, Brit, before heading down to check on the buck.
“He ran about 10 yards and then disappeared so we thought he went in the woods,” she said. “Connor wouldn’t let me go out and see it, so that made me a little more anxious as to whether I hit it or not.”
They eventually returned with their father, but they didn’t have to look for long — the big buck was piled up on the edge of the thicket, just 10 yards from where it stood when Cammie fired.
“I was really surprised and shocked,” she said. “I kind of couldn’t believe I actually hit it.”
The buck was a brute of an 8-point, with a 15 ½-inch inside spread, 6-inch bases and a sticker on its left G2. The deer, which was estimated to be 5 ½ or 6 ½ years old, tipped the scales at 210 pounds and green-scored 140 inches.
So in the end, Connor ultimately put Cammie on the biggest deer anyone in the family has ever shot.
“I think it’s really nice of him, when it’s the biggest deer he’s ever seen,” Cammie said. “I kind of feel bad now though, since he’s a more serious hunter than I am, and he stressed so much about finding it to kill it — and then I shot it.”
To top it off, Connor’s 133-inch buck currently above the family’s fireplace is coming down — to be replaced by his sister’s big 8-point.
But being a true southern gentlemen, Connor said he was very proud and really happy for his sister — and also motivated now more than ever to get an even bigger buck himself.
“Well, it’s a bigger deer than I’ve ever killed, my dad’s ever killed and anyone in our family’s ever killed, so I was definitely excited for her,” he said with a laugh. “But now I’ve got some catching up to do.”
Don't forget to enter photos of your bucks in the Nikon Big Buck Photo Contest to be eligible for monthly giveaways and the rand drawing for Nikon optics at the end of the contest.
Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.