Casey Haizlip, a 16-year-old sophomore at Western Alamance High School, is a member of the school’s dance team, but she had a different reason to dance the afternoon of Nov. 21 after she bagged a 16-point buck that had been hunted hard by most of her male relatives and other men in the community.

“It was my first deer,” she said. “I had chances to shoot does and smaller bucks earlier, but I wanted my first one to be special.”

And nothing could be finer than her first trophy.

Taxidermist Eric Knowles of Reidsville has green-scored the rack at around 165 to 170 non-typical inches, netting 155.

In a box stand with her dad, Tim Haizlip, with only a few minutes of shooting light left, she put the crosshairs of a 3x9 Variex scope, mounted on a Remington .270,  on the buck’s shoulder and pulled the trigger.

“We were hunting at the edge of a half-acre food plot,” Tim Haizlip said. “Casey had hunted with me before but always wanted to kill a nice buck for her first deer. We had (trail-camera) photos of this buck for the past two years, but we didn’t have any during daylight,” he said.

Tim Haizlip had seen a big 6-point buck with an inside spread of around 18 or 19 inches, and he hoped that buck would show up for Casey on her first hunt with her father.

Tim Haizlip previously had seen a “nice” six-pointer that sported an “18- or 19-inches.”

“I wasn’t expecting to see the big one,” he said. “A nice 8-pointer came out and fed for 20 minutes, followed by a doe and a spike.”

While watching the 8-pointer and deciding whether or not to shoot it, the Haizlips saw the big buck run into the food plot and chase the doe into the woods.

“It got quiet then, and I thought it was all over,” Casey Haizlip said. “About a minute later, a small, spike buck came into the field, and the big buck was behind it.”

Tim Haizlip made sure his daughter went through her pre-shot routine.

“After she pulled the trigger, she was excited at first but started crying,” he said. “I asked her why, and she said the buck had run out of the field. She was worried she’d wounded or missed it.”

Hunting nearby, her uncle heard the shot and hurried to the food plot, where the three followed a blood trail 60 yards and found the buck piled up in the woods.