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Rachel Anderson grew up in a hunting family, and has spent plenty of time in the woods with her father, Eric, and her brother, Brady. And she’s had plenty of success over the years, shooting seven deer over her first 14 years of hunting.
On Thursday, Anderson again cashed in, and the 25-year-old West Baldwin woman’s eighth career deer is one she will always remember. Its 15-point rack (with a large drop tine on one side) also earns her family bragging rights, for now.
Appropriately, it was that buck’s massive antlers that first caught her attention when she saw the deer walking over the crest of a hill 60 yards in front of her tree stand in southern Maine on Thursday.
The day dawned cold — about 9 degrees, she said — and Anderson had two deer come in behind her shortly after daybreak. Not long after that, another one approached, but she never got a look. A couple hours after that, things got really exciting as another deer approached.
“This buck came in around quarter of nine. It started walking up the hill. And all I could see was horns when he got to the top of the hill,” she said. “Things slowed down right then. I was like, ‘That is going to be a big buck.’”
The buck stopped — there. And Anderson took advantage of the shot.
“I shot, and he took off. So I went down to look for the trail and called my dad,” she said. “I said, ‘I just shot at a monster buck. I need you here to come help me.’”
She also texted her brother, who was hunting about 25 minutes away, in New Hampshire. Both Eric and Brady Anderson quickly dropped what they were doing and joined in on the search for Rachel’s buck. It didn’t take long for them to find it.
“They got there, and we all walked down together to look for it, and my dad saw it first,” she said. “He’s like, ‘There it is!’ and he took off running.”
Although Anderson had told her dad she had shot at a big buck, she was not prepared for just how impressive the rack was.
“When I called my dad I said, ‘I swear it had a drop tine on it. It’s huge,’” she said. “But I walked up to it not expecting it to be that big.”
Rachel said the family had no trail camera footage of the deer, and its existence came as a surprise to all. And after passing up on smaller deer over the past couple of years, she was happy to fill her tag with a big buck.
The buck weighed 181 pounds, which means both her dad and her brother have shot larger deer, but Anderson said neither have shot a 15-pointer.
And she was happy that both were available to celebrate with her.
“It’s just awesome being able to share that with my dad and my brother because we always have hunted together,” she said. “They’re all so excited to come and see it, too.”
And Anderson said she has appreciated the outpouring of support, both in person and on social media.
“I love the hunting community, and how everyone is genuinely happy and excited for someone else to get an awesome deer,” she said. “It’s really cool.”