Hanna Harris, a 16-year-old hunter from Pennsylvania, harvested a milestone buck on opening day. Just 2 weeks after her 16th birthday Hannah went out on her first solo hunting trip and brought home a beautiful 16 point buck. Hanna has been hunting for years with her father, Joe Harris, but this was her first opportunity to do everything herself under Pennsylvania regulations which requires adult supervision for hunters under the age of 16.
Hanna owes her skills as a hunter to her father’s tutelage. “He tells me what to do and he keeps me from falling asleep,” she said in an interview with Field and Stream. “He reminds me to take the safety off and where to line up on the deer, how far I can shoot. He always makes sure I put my safety harness on.”
In the same interview, her father Joe added “My dad took me hunting, and I remember those as some of the best times. We went to deer camp, we trapped, fished. We were an outdoors family. To see it passed on to another generation—it feels good.”
This year Hanna climbed into the stand by herself with her family scattered in similar stands looking over their Danville property. She saw a 6 pointer early in the day, but her nerves got the better of her and she decided not to take the shot. “I started to think about everything my dad tells me to do and I got nervous. I guess I was afraid I’d miss. I’ve never missed, even on turkeys, and I didn’t want to have to call my dad and tell him I’d missed a buck.”
It turns out she made the right choice. “Not five minutes later I looked up and saw a doe and this massive buck. But I really had no idea… I was thinking maybe a nice 8-pointer, not 16.”
Her buck stood still for nearly 2 full minutes before she squeezed the trigger. “I lined up on him then waited a few seconds because I wanted to make sure the safety was off and check everything like my dad tells me. My dad tells me that sometimes when I shoot, I get anxious and jerk the trigger. He tells me to pull the trigger nice and slow, so I made sure to do that.”
Hanna was thrilled with her 70 yard shot. While most people focus on the rack, Hanna finds joy in something else. “Everybody thinks of it as this huge buck, but I think the coolest part is I was out there alone. It makes me feel really good. I’m proud of myself, in a way, that I could take everything my dad taught me and I could actually do it by myself.”