Hair-stylist Tammy Tatum of Prospect Hill in Caswell County has been getting gussied up and ready to hunt, but she’d gone 15 years without killing a buck until she dropped a big 10-pointer on Nov. 11.

Tatum, who killed a spike buck on her first deer hunt a decade-and-a-half ago, went way past that benchmark with her 170-pound buck, which was taken with a .50-caliber Knight muzzleloader.

She had a work a half-day at her shop in Durham the morning she killed her buck.

“Hunting season really is my busiest time of the year,” she said. “Everyone’s coming to get their hair done.”

Tatum’s outdoor adventures usually happen in the company of her husband, Howard, in a two-person ground blind.

“The first time (Tammy) went, she killed that cowhorn and said she wanted to take it up a notch and get a better deer,” Howard Tatum said. “Then every time, it seemed like, I’d go or could go, I’d see a nice buck, but when she’d go, she wouldn’t see anything. Then unusual stuff started happening.”

Unusual indeed.

“I had the gun misfire once when I was ready to shoot a big buck,” Tammy said. “Another time I couldn’t get the safety off with a big buck I front of us – even my husband couldn’t get it off. I was so mad I sold that gun. Then we hunted during an ice storm about seven years ago in December and a big buck came in, and the safety froze up again.”

The piece de resistance came not in the form of weather but a one-in-a-million mishap.

“She’d taken a 7-mm-08 bullet out of a box and loaded it in her rifle,” her husband said. “A big buck came by; she got ready to shoot — and it wouldn’t fire.”

It was the only bullet in the box with a faulty primer.

“About six years ago, a front was coming, and I called her and said, ‘Let’s go; they’ll be moving this afternoon’ and she said, ‘No, I got to fix the hair of one of my clients.’” he said. “So I went and killed a 10-pointer that scored 147 net, my best buck.”

However, Tammy Tatum’s long streak of misfortune came to a booming halt Nov. 11. The two Tatums crawled into their ground blind at 3:15 p.m., and around 4:42, Tammy pulled out her cell phone.

“That’s when Howard whispered to me: ‘Get your gun; it’s the big one,’” she said. “So I said to him, ‘You’re lyin’,’ but he insisted, ‘No, get your gun; he’s coming.’”

Out the blind’s window where his wife had no field of vision, her husband had seen a big buck walking toward them.

“As soon as (the buck) walked out, I had the scope on his shoulder and pulled the trigger,” she said.

Howard watched the deer bolt up a hill then turn left toward a cutover. They came back at 7 p.m. with friends and tracked the buck into a cutover, where they found him, about 180 yards from the spot where he’d been shot.

“You can’t print what I said when I finally got my hands on his antlers,” Tammy said, giggling.

“She’s fired up to go now and has two trail cameras (set up),” Howard said. “The bucks on those cameras belong to her. I’m just draggin’ and skinnin’ now.”

Proving her jinx finally was finally over, Tammy Tatum tagged out for 2013 with a big 8-point buck on Nov. 23.