15-Year-Old Samantha Linhart Wins Ladies Wildcard With 150-Inch Worth County Buck

Roy Kellett | July 1, 2005

Samantha, a 15-year-old girl from Worth County, took home the Ladies Wild-Card for the Truck-Buck Shoot-Out. And she came within a couple of inches of beating her dad, Week 1 winner Gary King, out of the season’s bragging rights for the family’s biggest buck as well.

Samantha is no stranger to Truck-Buck, finishing second in a week last year, missing the chance to compete in the Shoot-Out by 3/8 of an inch. Because Gary and Samantha each won a week, they had to pick only one shooter. Samantha will compete for the keys to a Chevy Z-71 in August.

The hunt that earned her a spot in the Shoot-Out was a last-minute trip. But it had been a season in the making. Samantha was getting ready to go visit family for Christmas when she and her grandfather set out in search of a buck he had seen several times on the property.

Samantha Linhart has come close to winning a week in the Truck-Buck contest before. This year, the 15-year-old made it on the strength of this 150-inch Worth County buck.

“The first time he saw the buck, my granddad told everybody it was mine, so they tip-toed around his area all season,” Samantha laughed. “They didn’t hunt it, and I don’t think anybody even drove through there.”

In fact, Samantha’s grandfather was only one of several family members who saw the buck during the season. But as hard as she tried, Samantha couldn’t see the deer when she was in the woods.

The family knew which area the buck was frequenting, so Samantha set up a ladder stand on the northeast end of a rectangle-shaped field. All the deer Samantha had seen from the stand approached the field from the northwest.

“I had a ladder stand on a point in the field, but the buck never came out there,” Samantha said.

On the day Samantha killed her buck, her grandfather went with her. They placed a two-person ladder stand at the end of the field and waited, expecting to see deer coming from the northwest again. Instead, the deer Samantha had waited all season to see made an appearance from the east end of the field.

“I was just sitting there, and my grandfather said  she said.

Samantha had to wait until the buck got to a place where she could make a clear shot through a hole in the foliage. And when the buck stepped into the hole, she squeezed the trigger.

“I just held the scope on that place, and when he walked into it, I shot,” Samantha said.

The buck took two steps and dropped in his tracks. Since they were able to drive right to the deer, there was no need for a long drag. The only question was whether the buck would overtake Gary’s Week 1 score of 153 1/8.

Almost. The buck had a gross score of 159 inches. After deductions it netted 150 2/8. The deer had a 15-inch inside spread and impressive G2s that measured 11 7/8 and 13 5/8 inches.

“I was trying to catch his buck, and I almost did it,” Samantha said.

If 15-year-old Samantha wins, who gets the Z-71? That has been the topic of some debate around the family dinner table.

“I keep telling her she can have my crewcab, and I’ll take the new truck, but I don’t think she’s going for that,” Gary joked.

2004-05 Truck-Contest Weekly Winner Hunt Stories
Week 1: Gary King’s Worth County Record-Class Bow Buck
Week 1: Marshall Compton’s Rockdale County Non-typical Earns Shoot-Out Spot
Week 2: Taylor McCann’s DeKalb County Bow-Buck Nets 174 7/8 Inches!
Week 3: Forgotten Lock Key Leads To New Hunting Spot And Coweta Winner For John Lewis
Week 4: DeKalb County Pope & Young Puts Brian Mitchell In Shoot-Out
Week 5: Phillip Harper’s 145-Inch Muzzleloader Buck From Meriwether County

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