When Dani High of Winnabow, N.C. got out of her dad’s truck at Big Bay Hunt Club in Brunswick County Nov. 19 to get ready for a dog drive, she had high hopes of bagging a decent buck, especially since the dogs were running through an area they’ve jumped some big deer this year. But even she was surprised at the 10-point buck she killed with one shot from her Remington 870 12-gauge shotgun.

“It was the first hunt of the day, and my dad dropped me off just before setting the dogs loose about 200 yards away from me. They have run some good deer through there already this year, so we felt good about them jumping something again,” said High, a 2nd-grade school teacher who is an accomplished deer hunter, with several kills to her credit, including an 8-point buck she killed last year.

“I was standing in what we call the ’S curve’ because it’s shaped like an S, and I could hear the dogs coming my way. I could tell they were onto something by the way they were barking, and then I began hearing some sticks breaking in a ditch that was near me. I knew there was a deer in that ditch, so I got ready,” she said.

The deer seemed to be biding its time in the ditch, hoping the dogs would let up, but when they drew closer, the deer made its move, and popped up out of the ditch and right into High’s field of vision.

“I saw horns coming up out of the ditch, and when I saw its body, I pulled the trigger. I knew I hit it, but before I could shuck another shell in, the deer was gone,” she said.

The No. 1 buckshot had found its mark, but it would be a few minutes before High knew just how big the deer was.

“It ran about 100 yards, and when we got to it, I just couldn’t believe how big he was. We don’t have a very big club. It’s about 1500 acres, and surrounded by major roads. We see a lot of deer killed on those roads before they have a chance to get this big, and we have other hunt clubs all around us that don’t manage for trophy bucks. They just don’t get that big here,” she said.

The 120-class buck had 10 points plus one sticker.

“I killed a nice 8-point buck here last year, and I’ve killed several smaller bucks over the years, but this is definitely my biggest buck. And for around here, it’s really a once-in-a-lifetime buck. I doubt I will get a shot at another one as nice as this, at least not around here,” she said.