Miss Emily's deer building a tradition
By By Otha Barham / outdoors editor
Dec. 12, 2003
The two days of Mississippi's special Youth Deer Hunt passed by without young Emily Vaughn bagging a deer. The 11-year-old West Lauderdale student is the daughter of Joey and Denise Vaughn. She has been anxiously seeking her first deer for about three years, ready to take her place in perpetuating a longstanding heritage in the Vaughn family.
This season, she was prepared with her new rifle that her dad gave her. It is a .243 single shot fitted with a 2 X 7 Leupold scope.
Emily likes to hunt at the Buzzard Roost, their hunting club near the Blackwater community with her father as well as with her grandfather, Jerry "Beau Jack" Vaughn. On Saturday, Nov. 29, the young hunter got the chance to spend the day hunting as the first gun season was winding down.
On her morning hunt she saw eight deer from her stand but couldn't get a good shot at any of them. In the afternoon she saw four deer, which continued to build her excitement. She was hunting with her grandfather when she said, "Listen!" A spike buck emerged right next to the shooting house where the two were waiting and watching.
Jerry whispered explanations of the buck's actions as Emily watched wide-eyed. "I could tell she was excited by her breathing," he said.
This close-in sighting led to more scanning with the binoculars. During the wait, Jerry had his granddaughter practice positioning her rifle, sighting and getting comfortable for making a shot.
Soon a large doe came into the field and the two decided it was the right deer for Emily to go for. The spike buck was in the way, so Jerry had the youngster hold her fire until the doe provided a clear shot. "Okay, go ahead and shoot," he whispered to his granddaughter. Emily didn't fire.
At last her rifle fired and the doe, obviously hit, dashed from the field. "Boy, that was loud!" exclaimed Jerry.
Not knowing the exact bullet placement on the doe, Jerry led the excited hunter back to the camp where they got Mindy, a black Lab retriever, and Mickey, the Jack Russell terrier. This pair of canines are outstanding deer retrievers. At camp she told her dad about the shot. Joey had taken a deer that day, too and if they could find Emily's doe, it would make for a perfect hunt.
Back on the scene Mickey took up the trail first and just 40 yards out of the field lay the very dead doe, downed by an accurate shot from Emily's new rifle.
This writer felt a measure of nostalgia upon hearing Emily's success story. I hunted deer with her great-great-grandfather, Clifton, her great-grandfather Joe and her grandfather Jerry, as well as her great uncles. Great uncle Ernest Vaughn, 85, has already bagged his venison for the 2003 season. Time flies when you are having fun in the deer woods watching a fine family tradition in the making.