After studying hard all week, then acing her test, 11-year-old Mary-Katherine Tisdale went hunting on Friday afternoon, Oct. 20. Hunting with her father, Dale and younger sister Whitney, she drilled a massive 9-point drop-tine buck after only 10 minutes in the stand. 

“She is an excellent shot and loves to hunt,” Dale Tisdale said. “We started getting trail camera pictures of this drop tine buck in early September and we were trying to get him ever since.”

Mary-Katherine really wanted to get a shot at this deer more than anybody and she wanted to go hunting all week. But she knows her education comes first, so loads of homework and an important sixth grade test took precedence. 

Unfortunately, the drop tine buck had vanished from their Williamsburg County, S.C. trail camera views. 

“We hadn’t seen the drop tine buck in three weeks, but we knew there were some other decent bucks in the area,” her dad said. 

On Friday afternoon, Dale and his two girls loaded up around 6 p.m. and headed to the woods. They all got in the stand together with Mary-Katherine armed with her Mossburg .243 and her younger sister, Whitney on her father’s lap. 

“I told Mary-Katherine where the deer would probably come out and to keep her attention to that certain spot,” Dale Tisdale said. 

Ten minutes later, the drop tine buck stepped out and walked across the power line. Mary-Katherine got ready and found the buck in the crosshairs, but the buck was steadily walking and her father wanted the deer to stop before she took her shot. 

“I started grunting with my mouth to get him to stop and it took me three times almost yelling at him in the end. Finally, he stopped and looked in our direction,” he said. “With Whitney in my lap, we watched Mary-Katherine shoot the buck of her life.”

As the rifle fired, the deer just stood there without giving the hunters any indication of an impact. He turned and trotted off into the woods. The deer behaved just as if the shot had completely missed.

“I believed that you missed,” Dale said. 

Mary-Katherine was devastated.

“She was heartbroken and she started beating herself up over missing the deer,” he said. 

Her father headed to the place she shot and started to look for blood or a miracle. He found a few small spots of blood nearby. Then, a few minutes later and another 50 to 60 yards away, he saw the deer lying on the ground.

“The drop tine buck was dead. Mary-Katherine had made a perfect shot right in the top of the shoulder,” he said. 

Dale Tisdale dragged the deer out to the truck so his daughters could see. As soon as the girls saw the deer, Mary-Katherine busted out into tears of joy. 

“I explained to them that as hunters, we always look for our game that we shoot, because sometimes you just never know if the animal is hit or not,” he said. 

“She will treasure that day forever and I will too. She talked about that hunt for the next 24 hours and found it hard to go to sleep that night. Needless to say, I'm one proud father of an ecstatic little girl.”