Monthly Featured Story
Looks Can Be Deceiving
By Tony Young
Tricia Smith – your every-day, all-American girl next door. A third-generation Tallahasseean, Tricia attended
and graduated from the capital city’s Leon High School. While there, the petite, sandy-blond-haired girl
was a cheerleader and in the Anchor Club.
a junior at Florida State University and a member of Chi Omega sorority, Tricia
is your typical, 20-year-old college girl.
She says she is not high maintenance but admits to having a walk-in
closet full of shoes, dresses and handbags.
classes, Tricia works part-time as a law firm runner and earns extra money
baby-sitting. In her free time, she says
she enjoys running, socializing, attending Seminole football games and doing outdoor
activities like camping, boating and saltwater fishing. Tricia also likes relaxing at the beach.
you will not catch her at the beach November through January. There is more to this brown-eyed girl than
meets the eye. You see, Tricia Smith is
an avid deer hunter, and a pretty successful one at that.
that’s why I’m majoring in criminology – because I like guns,” Tricia said. “I don’t see myself working all day at a
boring office job, but I also don’t see myself wearing a law enforcement
uniform either. Maybe an undercover cop
or an FBI agent – now that would be fun!”
has deer hunted for five years and really has the fever. She mainly hunts on her family’s 250-acre
piece of property off Meridian Road in northern Leon County. The
tract offers exceptional whitetail hunting because it is in the Red Hills Region,
on 5,700-acre Lake Iamonia, two-and-a-half miles from the Georgia line.
real dedicated and persistent,” said good friend Mike Chavez, who sometimes
takes Tricia to hunt on his family’s land in nearby Jefferson County.
the woods, she has telephoned Mike from her cell phone on more than one
occasion to help drag out and load up a deer she had shot – some close to twice
been deer hunting since I was 15. My dad
and Mike got me into it. Mom even used
to hunt back in the day, and really – all the men in my family have hunted,” Tricia
said. “It’s a family tradition for us
sometimes takes her 16-year-old brother Julian with her. But she prefers hunting alone, when she has her
really enjoy being in the woods all by myself.
My family’s land is gorgeous, and being out there gives me time to think. Plus, it’s such a beautiful drive along the canopy
roads from my house in town to our property.
It’s just so peaceful and relaxing,” she said.
uses her father’s Browning automatic .270-caliber rifle with Leupold 3.5x10
scope. She has taken five racked bucks
off the property, including a 200-pound, eight-point, whose head is displayed above
her fireplace. She has averaged four
deer a season for the past three years, but last season was her best.
During the 2005-2006 hunting season, Tricia harvested two
10-point bucks and three does to boot.
One of the 10-pointers she shot opening week of the Central Hunting
Zone’s general gun season. Tricia admits
to skipping class that afternoon to go hunting instead.
Then, on Thanksgiving morning, she
took the larger of the 10-points, which qualified for the Florida
Buck Registry, netting a score of 128 7/8 Boone and
Crockett points. The deer’s antlers were measured by
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologist Don Francis.
just got both deer back from the taxidermist.
Alan Davis over at Wallhangers did a great job on them, as he did on my
first one. They’re gonna be great additions
to my house,” Tricia said.
biggest factor in making her successful at taking quality deer is putting in
the time. She even schedules fall
classes around deer season.
try to go three or more times a week, mainly in the afternoons,” she said.
only other thing Tricia does to up her odds is limit her scent. She often heads straight from class or work to
the woods and still has remnants of perfume on.
So after changing into her hunting gear, she sprays herself with “scent blocker”
to neutralize unwanted scents.
always hunts from her favorite box stand which is just 5 feet off the ground, but
it has a good roof, enabling her to hunt in comfort, even when it is
often bring a good book with me to help pass the time,” she said.
tripod feeder is about 100 yards away.
Both stand and feeder are in the middle of a hardwood opening in close
proximity to the lake and near a large ravine, from where most of the deer come.
and her father, Vereen, feed the deer year-round by keeping the feeder full of
corn, and during the season, she sweetens the spot by scattering extra corn
along a few shooting lanes leading to the ravine. They also attract game to their property by
planting field corn, iron-clay peas, oats and chufa in a 2.5-acre food
Smiths employ such land management practices as prescribed burning every other
year and thinning timber stands. They also
practice quality deer management in shooting only seven-pointers or better and try
to keep their buck-to-doe ratio in check by harvesting does during antlerless
deer season and with doe tags.
haven’t taken any girlfriends hunting with me yet – so far, just some of my guy
friends. We let them shoot does during
doe week, and that in turn helps us better manage them,” Tricia said.
would like to invite some of her sorority sisters and girlfriends hunting one
day – they just need to be patient and willing to try something new, she said.
can’t even describe the feeling that comes over me when a trophy buck steps out
of the woods – my heart just starts beating a million times a minute. It’s really a rush!” Tricia said excitedly.
even assists in the field-dressing process and likes the taste of venison.
can cook it pretty well too, mainly burgers.
But grandma – her backstrap is delicious!” Tricia said proudly. “No one cooks it better than she does.”