Skip to main content

Girl Shoots Record 23-Point Buck

Girl Shoots Record 23-Point Buck
Teenage Girl Harvests Youth Record Whitetail

Originally Article by Steven Hill of Field & Stream.

Makayla Hay had her eye on a gnarly 23-point buck as the Texas firearms opener approached—but then so did almost every other deer hunter in Madison County after a photograph of the bruiser swimming the Trinity River appeared in the local newspaper in October.

Makayla and her father, Jim, knew the photograph was taken near their deer lease, and they joked about the possibility of seeing the buck. When Jim dropped 15-year-old Makayla off at her tree stand on Nov. 2, she told him that she was going to wait for the river rack to show. "He said, 'You're not going to be able to be that patient,'" Makayla recalls. "I've never really waited a long time to kill a buck, but I said, 'Oh, no, I'm waiting for the deer in the picture.'"

Sure enough, when a "pretty nice 8-pointer" came out shortly after first light, she let it pass. But she did send her dad a text saying she had her backup buck in case the big deer didn't show. A few minutes later, less than an hour into the season, the buck did show. "I didn't know for sure it was the buck from the photo, but I did know it was bigger than anything I'd ever killed," Makayla says. She loaded her rifle and watched calmly as the buck turned broadside, then dropped it with a shoulder shot. When the deer lunged to its feet, she shot it again.

Teenage Girl Harvests Youth Record Whitetail

Only after her father came and they walked over to the deer together did she know that she had indeed shot the buck from the newspaper photograph. "My dad said, 'You did it. You shot the buck from the river,'" Makayla said. "I couldn't believe it, because it seemed to me like the deer in the picture wasn't real. He said, 'I told you it was a real deer.'"

Real—and real big. The 23-pointer green-scored 213 2/8 gross, 203 1/8 net. If the score holds up after the 60-day drying period, Texas officials say, it will likely stand as the biggest free-ranging non-typical ever taken by a youth hunter in Texas. It would also be the biggest Madison County buck in the last 46 years, and second only to a 223 2/8 inch 24-pointer shot in 1967.

While Makayla might have taken some ribbing in years past for being quick on the trigger, she is a serious hunter who always tries to shoot successively bigger bucks each season. "She's better at aging deer on the hoof than a lot of men," says her mother, Mary Hay. "Her daddy always tells her, 'You gotta keep shooting bigger.' And now he's like, 'Well, what are you gonna do now?'"

"I told him I would wait," Makayla says with a laugh. "I waited. It only took until 7:30 on opening day, but I waited."

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Sometimes you have to fish a bait that allows you to cover a lot of water efficiently. When you're on the search for bass that have moved into deeper water off the bank and away from obvious holding spots, a swimbait can locate them.

On the Search with Swimbaits

One of the best imitations of a wounded baitfish is the soft-plastic jerkbait, or fluke. A fluke darting just beneath the surface can be too much for a bass to resist. Rig it and fish it according to water conditions and cover to make this great bait even more effective.

Fun with Flukes

There are three models in SPRO's Outsider crankbait series: 55 (runs 3-4 feet), 60 (7-9) and 80 (19-21). Professional bass angler Jonathan Kelley goes over the specifics at ICAST 2022 in Orlando.

SPRO's New Outsider Crankbait Series: First Look

Professional bass angler Jonathan Kelley highlights the features of SPRO's new lures at ICAST 2022 in Orlando.

New Essential Series Spinnerbaits and Buzzbaits from SPRO

Syd Ribes with Sea Falcon highlights four new lures for saltwater fishing. At ICAST 2022 in Orlando.

New Lineup of Lures from Sea Falcon

Syd Ribes highlights two new saltwater lures from SPRO: Flutter Tail Shrimp and Cannon Ball Jig. At ICAST 2022 in Orlando.

New Saltwater Lures from SPRO

AFTCO's Matt Florentino highlights the features of the new Barricade cold-weather suit, a Best of Category winner at ICAST 2022 in Orlando. With Game & Fish's Adam Heggenstaller.

New from AFTCO: Barricade Cold Weather Tactical Gear

Three-time ICAST Best of Category winner Bubba covers it all with new knives set. With Bubba's Matt Kinamore and Game & Fish's  Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2022 in Orlando.

4-in-1 Bubba Multi Flex Cutlery Kit

The innovative landing net will weigh and measure your catch while it's still in the net. Best of Category winner at ICAST 2022. With Game & Fish's Adam Heggenstaller.

Award-Winning Frabill Witness Net 'Keeps You Honest'

Game & Fish Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now