Mallory O’Brien and her dad, Kurt, were running a little late when they decided to head out to their deer lease near Marksville for a holiday hunt this past January.

So instead of heading to one of her own tree stands around 2:30 that afternoon, she opted to just go and sit in a blind closer to the camp.

“I didn’t want to really go get in a tree in the middle of the woods and disturb everyone who was already on stand, so I just went to a stand I was familiar with,” said Mallory, a 17-year-old senior at Catholic High School in New Iberia. “It was a box blind that was set-up already at the camp. The rut was just starting over there.”

She wasn’t expecting to see a shooter, but as the old saying goes, she happened to be in the right place at the right time.

“I was watching a little basket rack chasing does around and I was actually videoing it, then he stepped out and I was like, ‘Oh! Oh my God!’”

“He” was a big 10-point, the biggest deer by far that Mallory had ever considered shooting, and she needed to make a decision — quick.

“So I texted my dad, and I was like, ‘Daddy, I see him!’ And he was like, ‘Well, you know what to do.’”

So she sighted in the big buck, who was about 150 yards away, and fired her Kimber .308.

“I was nervous, but I tried not to psyche myself out too much before. I was like, ‘I know I can make this shot, I know I’m perfectly capable of it,’ and I just kept telling myself that,” she said. “It wasn’t until after that I started shaking.

“After I took the shot, I was shaking like a leaf. I was so excited and nervous and freaking out and everything.”

Her aim was dead-on, and the buck piled up against a tree about 100 yards from where she shot him. 

“It was just a lucky spot in the box stand, not even one of the spots I had scouted,” she said. “No one had ever seen that deer on our lease before. No one had pictures of him.”

The big 10-pointer weighed 190 pounds and green scored 149 1/8 inches Boone and Crockett, with 22-inch main beams and an 18-inch inside spread.

An avid hunter since the age of 8, she started hunting alone in the stand about three years ago, she said. And although most of her girl friends at Catholic High aren’t big hunters, she plans to keep doing it as long as she can.

“None of my school friends are into it as much as I am,” she said. “One of my friends duck hunts a little bit. So it’s definitely my own thing, but I have my guy friends I can talk about hunting with.”

She’ll be busy the next several years: she's going to LSU in the fall to major in marine biology, and then plans to attend medical school.

But whenever she has the time, she hopes to be able to keep heading into the marsh and the woods to pursue the sport she loves.

“Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep going,” Mallory said. “Whether it’s deer or duck, I’ll be able to do some hunting on breaks.

“I definitely plan on keeping it as one of my main hobbies.”