It’s not often a 10-year-old downs a magnum whitetail buck, but it was just another deer in a string that stretches back to when Kinley Ferguson was five.

A fourth-grader at Liberty Elementary School, Ferguson was hunting in Granville County the afternoon of Nov. 16 with her father, Jeff, her grandfather and two family friends when she used her .243 rifle to drop a big 8-pointer, her best buck so far.

“I love to deer hunt,” she said, “because I just like spending time with my family, and dad travels a lot with his job, so it’s a good time to be with him.”

Ferguson, who said she’s “never touched a doll,” also enjoys fishing and target practice.

“That’s kind of how I learned to shoot (the .243), with the pellet gun,” she said. “But I like practicing with the .243 and my pellet gun.”

Ferguson, whose favorite school subject is science, said her friends don’t consider hunting to be an unusual hobby for a schoolgirl.

“Most of my friends have an interest in deer hunting,” she said.

Ferguson had passed up several does and a couple of small bucks when a big buck showed up about 4:15.

“Kinley was convinced the deer she saw walking to the food plot was ‘The Big 8,’ a deer we’d been studying on trail-cam pictures since early September,” said Jeff Ferguson, who admitted that he disagreed with her at first about the deer’s identity. But when the buck came within 150 yards, he realized his daughter was correct and gave her permission to shoot.

Aiming carefully, Kinley Ferguson dropped the 165-pound animal in its tracks using a Remington Model 700 .243 that once belonged to her mom.

“It’s not something she gets too excited about,” her dad said. “She shot her first deer at the age of five when she was in kindergarten. Now at 10, she has six does and four bucks under her belt.

“Kinley was brought up hunting. Me and her mom are pretty avid deer hunters.”

Jeff Ferguson finished second in the 2010 Dixie Deer Classic’s archery division with a 160-inch whitetail. Her mother, Kasey, is a co-host on the radio show “Outdoor Nutz,” at Rock92 FM in Asheboro on Saturdays from 5 to 7 a.m.

To prove her first trophy wasn’t a fluke, Kinley dropped another 8-point buck with a 17-inch wide rack a week later in Granville County.

“Now I’m tagged out for this year,” she said. “It’s kinda sad.”