Senior sets sights on BIG BUCK

Judith Wheeler gets her buck on Oct. 4, the first day of hunting season – her first deer in forty years.

JOHN DAY – It was the first day of 2014 deer season – a good day for Judith Wheeler of Prairie City to shoot her first buck in 40 years.

This is the second year hunter education teacher Bryan Nelson has given their family friend a landowner tag.

Last year wasn’t as lucky, and Wheeler’s new gun wasn’t sighted in.

“I thought it was a great day,” Wheeler said of this year’s successful hunt. “He’s a very good mentor and guide – he has a lot of patience.”

She added, “He believes in getting your deer on the first day of the season or as soon as possible, so the coffee’s on and you’re getting up early.”

A lot of walking was involved on Nelson’s property near Pine Creek Road just east of John Day, and his four-wheeler also came in handy.

“I’m almost 70 years old,” Wheeler said. “He took me over hill and dale.”

Nelson said his hunting buddy shot her deer at 150 yards.

“It was the first buck her gun had killed,” he said.

“We followed three nice bucks,” he said, adding, the one she shot “was the only one we jumped and he happened to be the biggest of the three” – a 4x6-point buck.

“I was glad it was dead,” Wheeler said – she’d spent a good portion of the day hiking, tracking down the perfect one.

Nelson also shot a deer, which he gave to Wheeler to add meat to her freezer.

“It was a great day,” he said. “We didn’t eat dinner until 10 p.m. that night – I was happy and she wants to come back next year.”

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