As the second full week of deer season winds down, plenty of skilled and lucky hunters have already filled their tags.
With each filled tag comes a memory that will last a lifetime … and a story that many will share.
Virginia Mattson-Tracy says she’s been hunting since she was a teenager. Now 84 years old, she’s got plenty of hunting tales she could tell.
Like the story of the deer she shot when she was 81 … or the story of the deer she shot two weeks ago. Or the story of the deer her 88-year-old husband, Sylvanus Tracy Jr., shot three days after that.
“I shot a deer the first day [of the season],” Mattson-Tracy says, proudly. “My husband shot one on Tuesday, in the very same place I shot mine.”
Mattson-Tracy isn’t just saying that the two bucks were standing in the same place, mind you. She’s saying that both she and her husband spotted those deer while “hunting” from the same spot.
That lucky spot: Right in their kitchen, while looking out the window toward a large field and a distant apple tree.
For the record, Virginia Mattson-Tracy also bagged her 2011 deer when she spotted it while looking out the same window.
“I let ‘em come to me,” she says. “I can’t go out and tramp any more.”
The method works. Virginia said she keeps her hunting rifle — a .300 Savage — nearby. Her husband does the same with his .30-06 rifle.
“You’ve got to keep [the gun] handy, you know?” she says.
And after the deer were down and field-dressed, Virginia and her husband often get a little bit of help.
“I have a wonderful neighbor,” she said. “He says, ‘You call me and I’ll drag [the deer] up.’ Because we can’t drag anymore, either.”
What they can do is shoot. Both deer were about 100 yards away from the house.
Despite the fact that there are some things — “tramping” and dragging, for instance — that they can’t do as well now that they’re in their 80s, Virginia and her husband still live active lives.
On Veteran’s Day, Sylvanus marched two miles in the Bangor parade, carrying the flag for World War II veterans the whole way.
“I feel pretty good today,” he said a day later. “I’m surprised.”
And on Halloween, the couple went out on the town, entered a costume contest, and won first prize (and 40 bucks, Virginia proudly says). Both were pirates.
The two are still nearly newlyweds, having been married just four years.
“I was married to my first wife for 61 years,” Sylvanus says.
“And I’m hard on husbands,” Virginia says, explaining that Syvanus is her third.
That doesn’t worry Sylvanus a bit.
“I’m still going strong, though,” he says, chuckling.