A New London woman celebrated Veteran’s Day in an unusual but exciting way by killing her best deer in more than 25 years, a 150-inch 10-pointer. 

Donna Shaver was hunting in Stanly County last Monday with her 74-year-old father, James Potts, when a wide-racked buck with stepped into view of their tripod stand. Surprisingly, it took Shaver a little time to decide if she wanted to shoot the deer with her muzzleloader.

“I was hunting on The Fork Farm & Stables property in Norwood, which is operated by my friends, Charles Cooper and Zeb Blake,” Shaver said. “They had shown me some trail- camera photos of a drop-time buck, and I had been hunting that deer for six days and had my heart set on him.”

Shaver said her father saw the deer first, moving through the pines, and when the deer stepped out into the open, Shaver had her .50-caliber Savage muzzleloader up – but hesitated. Earlier in the week, Shaver had passed up a respectable 10-point buck, and she paused to ask Potts what he thought.

“My dad said he couldn’t understand why I hadn’t already pulled the trigger,” she said.

Taking careful aim at 126 yards, Shaver put the crosshairs on the deer’s shoulder and squeezed the trigger. At the report, the deer bucked and mule-kicked, but when the smoke cleared, she began to doubt that she had hit the deer. Although she wanted to get down and begin tracking the deer, she called her husband on her cell phone and asked for his advice.

“He told me to wait an hour before I got down to look, but I wasn’t sure I could wait that long,” Shaver said. “My poor dad was breathing harder than me, but we gave him time before we stated looking.”

When father and daughter got to where the deer had been standing, they could find no blood on the ground. Leaving Potts at the spot, Shaver followed the buck’s path and found him down within 70 yards of where he had been shot.

“I couldn’t believe it; this is the best deer of my life,” she said. “I even face-timed my son, Jeremy, who is in the Marine Corps in Israel and was showing him the deer on my phone. He couldn’t believe it and wished he could be there with me.”

Shaver has turned the deer over to James Gill taxidermy, where the buck was green-scored at 153¼ inches, with a 21½-inch inside spread. She said she’ll have the buck at the Dixie Deer Classic, hoping to win the muzzleloader category for female hunters.