posted on June 20, 2011 08:18
By Mike Handley
Sixteen-year-old Hanna Harris of Danville, Pa., would’ve been positively gleeful if she’d shot the 6-pointer that passed by her deer stand around 7:00 on the morning of Pennsylvania’s 2010 rifle opener.
The young buck was hers for the taking, too, but she watched it and a couple of other deer melt back into the trees without firing a shot. So wracked with buck fever, her jumpy synapses were arcing like downed power lines, and her trigger finger just didn’t get the juice.
That was Hanna’s first time to hunt unaccompanied. She was in her mother’s elevated stand on the family’s 280 acres, alone, though many other Harrises and some friends were loaded for deer elsewhere on the farm.
While trying to understand how or why she’d frozen, she saw more deer coming: two does and, farther out, a buck.
Determined not to make the same mistake twice, Hanna wasted no time in planting a knee against the stand’s rail so she would be steadier if she got a chance to shoot.
“When this buck stopped behind a double tree, I could see its rack on both sides of the trunks. I knew it was big,” she said.
When it stepped fully into view and stopped, she squeezed the trigger. Not long afterward, her father and brother arrived to track the deer, which took all of 10 minutes.
The Northumberland County 16-pointer is a mainframe 5x5 with three extras on each side. The impressive brow tines are the shortest points on the rack, the rest of the uprights ranging from 9 inches to more than a foot long. With the 20 7/8-inch inside spread included, its BTR composite score is 209 2/8.
Hanna’s will be the cover story (written by Ed Waite) for the November issue of Rack magazine.
Once upon a time, we considered ourselves lucky to be able to feature one female hunter among the 70 to 80 big buck articles we publish each year in Rack. Nowadays, I could fill an entire issue or two with women and girls. Hanna is the second to make the cover in 2011.
A Missouri 7-year-old, the spittin’ image of a young Drew Barrymore, will have that spot in October with an even bigger whitetail.