Lillie Anna Lyons Shoots Buck, Still Makes Softball Event

Hunter's Journal: GON readers share their favorite hunt stories.

Reader Contributed | August 30, 2020

By Jay Jay Strickland

This story actually began in early 2018 when I took Lillie Anna Lyons, aka Lillie Sue, on a deer hunt on the last week of deer season in January 2018. Lillie Sue wanted to kill a buck, but the rut was already over. I had a deer stand with lots of sign and told her that we maybe could catch a buck slipping through the food plot there. She piled up two does and a very small spike in one afternoon hunt. She told me after the season went out in 2018 that she wanted to kill a BIG BUCK the next season.

Fast forward to the 2018-2019 deer season in early November, and I asked Lillie Sue if she was ready to go with me one day soon. She said YES! So, on Nov. 12, 2018, I texted her and told her we needed to go since the bucks were rutting. She told me she wanted to go bad, but she had to be at a recognition for the softball team at the local school board meeting, and she couldn’t miss it.

I called her mother, Cindy, aka Sinbad, and told her we needed to go hunt for a big buck that afternoon since the conditions were perfect and we had a west wind at the Ritz Carlton stand. She told me NO, that there wasn’t enough time for us to hunt before the school board meeting. I advised Sinbad that the time had already changed, and it would be dark by 6 p.m., and the board meeting was at 7 p.m. She relented and made me promise to bring Lillie Sue to the meeting since she had to go ahead earlier. I agreed.

Lillie Sue and myself loaded up and drove about a mile from her house to the stand near the Alapaha River in Lanier County. We got settled in the box stand about 4:30 p.m. and began the wait. Our stands have three shooting lanes like a turkey foot.

After about 20 minutes, four does came out and began feeding around in the food plots that we planted in a mixture of oats, wheat, rye, rape and clover. Lillie Sue was getting impatient with the does, and I told her to chill out and wait since the rut was on.

About 30 minutes before dark, I hit my grunt call to see if any buck might respond that was lurking nearby. Immediately,  I saw a shooter buck enter the shooting lane. I told Lillie Sue that it was a big buck and handed her the youth model .270 single-shot rifle that all of my kids have shot deer with. She got braced up on the shooting rail, and I was watching in the binoculars. There was a doe in front of him and told her to wait until the doe cleared before she fired a shot. I saw the end of the gun shaking and told Lillie Sue that she had to calm down and reminded her not to look at the horns. She told me that I might have to shoot the buck because she was too nervous. I told her no ma’am, she was going to do it since she wanted to kill a big buck! She seemed to calm down some since the doe was enjoying the food plot.

After a few long seconds, the doe walked up and out of the way of the big buck, which was broadside, and I told Lillie Sue it was time. I could see that the end of the barrel had quit shaking, and I asked her if she had the crosshairs slightly behind the shoulder. She replied yes, and I told her to execute him. Boom! And he fell in his tracks.

Lillie Anna Lyons, of Naylor, with a Lanier County buck she shot on Nov. 12, 2018 while hunting with Jay Jay Strickland.

She started hyperventilating with excitement, and we were high-fiving each other. Lillie Sue started texting her mom, Sinbad, about her buck, and we got down and went to him. When we got there, she couldn’t believe her eyes, and she sat down on him and grabbed the horns. I called  her mom, who actually hadn’t left yet to go to the school board meeting. I told Sinbad that Lillie Sue had smoked a big buck and she couldn’t believe it. I told her to get the camera ready, and we would be there in a few minutes.

We loaded the deer into the back of my truck, and Lillie Sue called her dad and told him about her big buck. We drove back toward her house where her mom was waiting. I cannot describe the squealing that took place once Sinbad saw the big buck. She took more pictures than I could count.

There’s no better feeling than watching a kid shoot a deer. Lillie Sue was beaming with pride. After that, Lillie Sue made it on time to the school board meeting, and we cleaned and caped the deer later that evening at Sirmans Hardware and Outdoors in Lakeland where several hunters came to admire the big buck.

A hunt that I’ll never forget.

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