There probably aren't a lot of people who can make the claim that they managed to take down two deer with one shot, and there's almost certainly only one who managed that noteworthy accomplishment a few days after their 101st birthday. But the Mississippi Clarion Call has documented Bertha Vickers for that specific achievement.
Vickers has been hunting for decades--Ever since she relied on hunting to help feed her children. Now she shoots from a blind built for her by her family. This past deer hunting season, she had been out four times with no success. Though she had targets, her .243 rifle wasn't up to the task. On her fifth excursion, she was determined to make a kill.
She sighted one deer but decided to wait for something better.
"I decided to wait for a bigger one," Vickers said. "Before long, a bigger doe came out and I shot.
Her patience was doubly rewarded.
"Then I saw two deer on the ground. It shot plum through both of them. They both dropped right there. They didn't take another step. I knew it was back there, but I didn't realize it was that close to her where it could get shot."
Vickers, in addition to her experience and skill at hunting, is active and independent, cooking and keeping her own house, growing her own vegetables and mowing her lawn. She also enjoys fishing, but she doesn't go alone anymore.
"I didn't get to fish any last year," Vickers said. "I'm not as strong as I was last year. I hope to get to fish a little this year."
But she can still do the work of butchering her kills.
"My grandson skins them for me, so I don't have to fool with that," Vickers said. "I cut up what I wanted.
"I made steaks, but I gave most of it to my grandchildren. I don't need a lot."
This isn't the first time her long-time experience in hunting has earned her notoriety in the Mississippi Clarion Call. A few days before her 100th birthday, she shot another deer. She's surprisingly humble about that event.
“I don’t know why everybody is making such a big deal about it. If I’d killed a big buck, I could see it, but it was just a doe.”
Bertha Vickers birth on January 9, 1918, predates the end of World War 1 and the widespread adoption of commercial flying. Most people drove Model T's--If they drove at all. She has an appreciation and a practical attitude concerning her skills and abilities.
"When you're as old as I am, you naturally think each one could be your last one, but I'm going to go as long as I can," Vickers said. "I enjoy it. I love being outside."
Maybe they grew them tougher in the first decades of the twentieth century, or perhaps people in Mississippi are made of sterner stuff. One wonders if there will be yet another hunting trophy to celebrate Bertha's 102nd birthday.
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