Johanne Lavoie didn’t really plan to go hunting on Saturday. Instead, she planned to spend time at the Allagash camper that she and her her husband. Reno, own.
That plan changed … and the 62-year-old Cyr Plantation woman ended up with quite a hunting story to tell.
“We were supposed to do some floors at the camp, and I didn’t want to do floors,” Lavoie said. “So we went for a ride.”
Not long into that ride on the Johnson Road — at about 12:45 p.m., about 20 minutes into their hunt according to Lavoie — she saw something that made her take notice.
“I turned my head and said, ‘Back up! Back up!'” Lavoie said. “All I could see was branches. But it wasn’t branches.”
It was a massive set of antlers on a deer that stood about 200 yards away, in a field filled with raspberry bushes.
“I waited to see if [the deer] would move, and it didn’t move. We had to look, both of us. And it was there, just standing.”
Johanne Lavoie got out of the truck and took the shot, and the big buck went down.
Johanne said she turned to her husband, and the couple discussed the deer.
“He said he kind of figured it was big,” Johanne Lavoie said. “I said, I think it was a seven [-pointer].’ But I only counted one side [of the rack]. My husband said ‘Double that.'”
Reno was right: The buck was a 14-pointer that weighed 230 pounds, field-dressed.
“It’s humongous. Just a big buck,” she said.
But then the couple had a bit of a problem.
Johanne admitted she wasn’t dressed for a hunt — she was wearing clogs and corduroy pants — since she had expected to work on floors that day. And she realized she might need some help.
“I thought , ‘How the heck am I going to get it out of here?'” she said. “My husband is an amputee. He was in the Vietnam War.”
Johanne Lavoie knew she had plenty of rope, and could drag the deer out of the field if she had to. As it turned out, she didn’t have to.
“There was a truck came by, with two young men in it,” she said. “They looked at that deer and stayed 10 minutes, just looking at it. Then they each took a side of the horns and dragged, taking a breather once in awhile. But they never asked questions. They just helped.”
Johanne Lavoie said she tried to offer the men gas money for their work, but they refused the offer and quickly drove off. She’s sorry that she didn’t catch the men’s names, so she could more formally thank them for their help.
Johanne said she didn’t know why the deer simply stood still when she got ready to take her shot.
“It wasn’t rutting or anything. It was just there,” she said. “Just one of my lucky days.”
Johanne Lavoie said she has been hunting since she and Reno were married, 45 years ago this Nov. 28. And though her husband had shot a big North Woods buck before, Johanne hadn’t. Until Saturday.
“I’ve shot small bucks, spikehorns,” she said. “When the does were allowed [in northern Maine], I got those once in awhile. I’ve seen big bucks, but never shot one like that. I almost felt bad afterward when I saw how beautiful it was.”
And after tagging the buck at Joe’s Country Store in St. Francis, the Lavoies soon learned that their deer was the talk of the region.
“We had people coming [to the camper] from all over,” she said. “From Vermont and all over, taking pictures and congratulating me and my husband.”
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