Jackson Lowder of Lynchburg was hunting by himself for only the second time on the afternoon of Sept. 11, but the 8-pointer in the crosshairs of his Simmons scope wasn't alone. So after dropping the buck in its tracks, the 9-year-old sportsman chambered another bullet right away and downed the second 8-pointer.

The bigger buck weighed 180 pounds and the smaller one tipped the scales at 165. Both racks sported 16-inch spreads.

"He's killed his share of deer, but I was always with him," said his dad, Steve Lowder. "I've taken him since he was 5, and he's proven he's ready to sit alone now."

A fourth-grader at Robert E. Lee Academy, Lowder has had little time to hunt this season. Between school and playing on a travel baseball team, he has only hunted twice. He let a cowhorn and another small buck walk on his first trip, and saw the same two deer early on in his second hunt. After allowing them and a doe to walk again, Lowder caught his first glimpse at the duo of 8-pointers.

"He saw them in some heavy thick brush," Steve Lowder said, "and he decided to wait for a clear shot."

Then the two deer disappeared.

"Jackson said he started regretting not shooting one of them in the brush, but a few minutes later they both reappeared, this time in a clear shooting lane."

Sitting in an enclosed box stand about 12 feet off the ground, Jackson Lowder was overlooking a pea and chicory patch on the Lee County side of the Black River Swamp. He shot the bucks at about 90 yards with Core Lokt 150-grain bullets from his Remington 700 .270.

After hearing his son's shots, Lowder headed to the stand and was met by Jackson coming down the path with a big smile on his face.

"I killed 2 monsters!" he said.

Preparing to track a couple of blood trails, his dad asked him how well he hit the deer.

"They're both laying on the ground right where I shot them," the young hunter said, the led his dad to the two harvested deer.

The Lowders use trophy management techniques on their land, and Steve Lowder was afraid that having to pass on so many deer was turning his son off to hunting. He decided to make an exception for Jackson, and told him he could shoot whatever he wanted.

"When I was nine years old, I'd have shot that doe, the two little bucks, and the two 8-pointers, but Jackson stuck to the trophy management plan," Lowder said.