Maci Messenger may not be a huge fan of math class, but she probably likes the symmetry of the numbers 11, 12, 13 and 14 after a special weekend deer hunt with her grandfather in northern Natchitoches Parish.
The 7th grader at St. Mary’s Catholic School dropped a big 165-inch 11-point buck in a cornfield this past Saturday, which happens to be written out numerically as 12-13-14.
But when her mom and dad scheduled a Christmas shopping trip that afternoon in Shreveport, Messenger came very close to not even making the hunt with her grandfather.
“I wasn’t going to go at first because I was tired and stuff,” she said. “And then my dad came upstairs and said, ‘You should go, because I have a feeling he’s going to come out.’
“So I called my grandpa and told him we should go again.”
Her dad, Casey, who farms corn and soybeans in Natchitoches Parish, had looked at trail cam pics of an elusive 11-point taken that very morning before he left to go shopping around noon.
“This deer disappeared off the cameras from September until Saturday morning,” he said.
So Maci and her grandfather, Roy Fair, made it to the family’s double box stand overlooking the old cornfield bordering the Red River National Wildlife Refuge about 4 p.m.
“She carries everything with her,” Fair said with a chuckle. “It takes a moving van to get her to the stand, she’s got so much stuff. She’s got everything you can think of in there. And she absolutely loves it.”
Maci laughed when detailing the contents of her hunting backpack.
“I have my ear muffs for when I shoot, and my headphones for when I listen to music, and I have my iPad,” she said. “And I have my bullets, and I have a flashlight, my phone and a shooting stick.”
Fair said it wasn’t the quietest deer stand he’s ever been in for about the first hour of the hunt.
“About 4:30, she kicks the shooting stick and it hits the floor. Bam! Then about 5, she drops her iPhone and it makes a lot of racket. Then she blows a couple of bubbles with her bubble gum, and they pop, so I had to get on her about that,” he said. “I’m thinking, ‘We ain’t got a chance this evening.’
"There’s just too much going on.”
But as her dad suspected, the big buck appeared in the field only 50 yards from their stand about 5:15, oblivious to whatever noise was being made inside.
“I was playing on my iPad and I just happened to look up and I saw white and big horns,” she said. “I was like, “Paw, Paw, he’s right there! He was a little to the left and he started walking, then he stopped.”
Fair, who had been scanning the field with his binoculars, hadn’t seen the buck because the deer was in a blind spot from his side of the stand.
“I put my binoculars on him and I was going to tell her to take a deep breath, let it out and shoot, and before I even said that, she fired and hit him,” Fair said. “She’s been killing deer since she was 8 years old, and she’s only missed two in her lifetime.”
Maci said she was nervous as she sighted in the buck, which was standing broadside, with her .243 Remington 700 Youth Edition.
“He looked the other way and started walking a little bit. That’s when I shot,” she said. “My heart was beating so fast. Right when I shot I knew I hit him because when he ran into the weeds, he started going down like he was about to fall.”
The two didn’t find much blood and couldn’t locate the deer, so Maci placed her coat near the blood they had found, and endured the long wait for her mom and dad to return from Shreveport.
“It was miserable,” Maci said. “I was ready to go and find the deer.”
They all returned to the spot after 7 that evening, and it only took her brother a few minutes to find the buck, which had made it about 20 yards into the brush.
“She was just thrilled to death,” Fair said. “She was nervous as I don’t know what, but she was proud of her deer after we found it. I got a brother and all of them hunt deer all the time, and they’ve never killed an 11-point.
“And here she is 13, and she’s got one.”
The big 11-point, a heavy-horned mainframe 10 with a split G2, was initially green-scored at 165 inches, with a 19 ½-inch inside spread.
“She’s my little sharpshooter,” Casey said. “She usually kills a couple a year.”
It’s Maci’s biggest deer so far of the 12 she's taken down, and will soon become the biggest deer hanging in the Messenger home, potentially beating out Casey’s big 8-point taken in 1997.
“I think she’s going to edge me out a little bit,” Casey said with a grin. “And she’s got my son to where all he’ll do is duck hunt. He won’t deer hunt anymore.
“He’s come to the fact that neither of us can compete with her, so he’s moved on to something she doesn’t do.”
Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.