During opening evening of archery season in Stokes County, King’s Janet Jones arrowed a hefty 10-pointer with her Parker Challenger crossbow.
It should qualify as a Pope & Young archery entry for the Stokes County grandmother, and she only seriously began hunting deer three years ago when she reached her late 50s.
Her methodical approach to scouting and hunting has paid off.
“My latest buck — I’m calling him a 10-point because he’s got a kicker point on the back side of each main beam behind the brow tines — was my second 10-plus pointer in two years,” she said.
In 2016 she fired a crossbow bolt through an 11-pointer, and in 2015, she killed a doe with her crossbow, and one with her late father’s .308 rifle.
“I was a daddy’s girl and he took me hunting with him a lot,” she said. “I’ve found hunting deer is a way for me to stay close to him. It’s hard to explain, but it works for me.”
Jones owns a real estate agency, and on most weekends, she’s tied up with clients. So she often hunts on weekdays, and usually alone.
“I’ve learned basically to hunt deer by myself,” she said. “My husband Mike is more of a fisherman.”
When she first began hunting, she sat in the woods hoping to see a deer, but now she peppers the woods with trail cameras and hauls two buckets of sweet meal to feeding stations near her ground blinds every few days.
She first noticed the 10-point buck on her trail cameras, and paid close attention to the deer’s schedule.
“He started showing up at 1 or 2 a.m. then gradually started coming later, so I knew he was an evening buck,” Jones said.
The afternoon of Sept. 9, she hunted from a wooden ground blind her father had built. The stand was just off a cow pasture facing a stand of large hardwood trees.
“I feel comfortable shooting out to 30 yards, but I put deer food inside of 20 yards,” she said. “I want to make clean kill shots.”
About 6:30 p.m. a group of does and fawns came to the sweet meal, but all raised their heads quickly to look across a small draw and up a hill.
“I saw a big-bodied deer and two smaller bucks coming down the hill,” she said. “I knew one buck was the one I’d hoped to see. I actually cried.”
Within moments the three whitetails walked to the feeding area.
“But they were walking in circles, sort of sizing up each other and bumping one another,” Jones said.
When the bigger deer turned to his left, showing his full body length, Jones put her scope’s crosshairs behind the buck’s left shoulder blade and squeezed the crossbow’s trigger.
The big deer bolted up the hill then stopped.
“I didn’t see him or hear him crash because he fell on pine needles,” she said.
Texts to her sons and a grandson quickly brought help. The three of them hoisted the buck onto the back of a four-wheeler.
“Mark Hambry (Hilltop Farm Processing) estimated it weighed from 175 to 185 pounds,” she said. “The taxidermist said the rack should score 141 at least.”
Jones said she hopes her story encourages more women to take up the sport of deer hunting.