By Terry Karkos

Staff Writer

WEST PARIS – Sixteen-year-old hunter Katie Jackson took a lot of good-natured ribbing on Saturday, the last day of Maine’s regular firearms season for deer.

Last year, the Woodstock teen didn’t get her deer until the last week of muzzleloading season. That season runs for the next two weeks.

This month, however, she bagged a spike-horn buck in Woodstock that she’d tracked through snow the day before Thanksgiving with her dad, Don Jackson, also of Woodstock.

“The tracking snow helped,” Katie Jackson said while working inside J and K Sporting Goods on Route 26 in West Paris. “We sat in a (tree) stand for a while, but didn’t see anything, so we went looking for one and jumped it out of its bed. I heard him blow at me and I saw his tracks, then he ran right back at us.”

The 122-pound deer stopped 20 feet from them, turned broadside, and she dropped it with a shot from her .308-caliber rifle.

“I’ve been hunting for six years, since I was 10, and I’ve shot one every year,” Katie Jackson said, crediting her father with teaching her how to hunt.

In 2004 at the age of 13, she bagged a deer, bear, moose and wild turkey for what’s known as the Maine big-game grand slam, besting her father with the deer that year. It was her largest yet at 183 pounds with a 12-point rack of antlers.

Katie Jackson said she likes deer meat and hunting deer best, as does her 13-year-old brother, Travis Jackson, who, recently got his third deer in three straight years of hunting, a 100-pounder in Woodstock.

“I like the adrenaline rush, because it’s really fun, and it’s fun to be outdoors,” said the Telstar Middle School seventh-grade boy.

There was no shortage of deer this fall, said both youngsters, their dad and friends Maurice Hart of Sumner, and Kevin Billings, who owns and operates the sporting goods store and game inspection station.

“I saw 24 deer in one night, all does,” Katie Jackson said.

“I saw a lot of deer and passed up a lot of bucks before I saw this one,” Hart, 36, said of a 214-pound, 11-point buck, the main subject in a photograph he’d pulled out of his jacket. He got it during the season’s second week.

What made the buck very unusual was that it had a dropped tine, meaning one of its antler tines pointed down instead of up.

“It was real good hunting this year. I saw a lot of deer, one of the best year’s I’ve seen,” Don Jackson said. “I passed up four deer before I shot my buck.”

Thanks to buying a Supersport license and getting a bonus tag this year, Don Jackson legally got two deer – a doe in West Paris on the first day of the season and an 8-point, 190-pounder on Nov. 1 in Woodstock.

As of about noon on Saturday, Billings had registered 269 deer for the season, about 69 more than last year and the most he’d ever weighed and tagged in a season. The largest this year was a 220-pound, 9-point buck that Matt Cole bagged during archery season.

But, on Saturday, Billings, who has been tagging deer for about 15 years, had only done five.

“It’s been real slow, I guess, because all the good hunters already got their deer,” he joked.

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