Published November 15, 2009, 12:00 AM

Big antlers for a young buck

Ten-year-old Brodie Abernethy of Duluth made his first deer season count by taking a big buck.

By: Sam Cook, Duluth News Tribune

Before deer season, 10-year-old Brodie Abernethy of Duluth had imagined what his first season on the stand might be like.

“Boring,” said Brodie, a fifth-grader at Homecroft Elementary School.

Well, it wasn’t boring about 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, when a heavily-antlered nine-point buck walked in front of his stand. He was hunting off St. Louis County Road 547 near Brimson with his dad, Todd Abernethy, sitting right behind him in the stand.

Brodie dropped the buck with his second shot at 35 yards.

“I said, ‘Holy crap, that’s a big deer,’” Brodie said.

Todd Abernethy felt the same way.

“We were ecstatic,” he said. “I was pretty choked up, actually. I was trying not to cry.”

Brodie was hunting with his dad under a 2008 Minnesota law change that allows 10- and 11-year-olds to hunt big game as long as a parent or guardian is within arm’s length. The young hunters are not required to have passed a firearms safety class until they’re 12.

The law was intended to encourage more young people to get involved in hunting.

After waiting a few minutes and climbing down from their stand, Brodie and his dad approached the buck. Todd Abernethy said he was sure the buck was dead, so he let Brodie approach it first.

“He walked up to it. I got 15 yards away, and I knew we were going to mount it,” Todd said.

The buck had a thick set of antlers and a 21½-inch inside spread. Later, at Hugo’s Bar in Brimson, the buck weighed 190 pounds.

Earlier on Saturday morning, opening day of Minnesota’s firearms deer season, Brodie and his dad had seen a smaller buck pass by.

But Brodie’s arm rubbed against his polyester snowpants when he raised the Remington Model 700 .243-caliber rifle, spooking the buck.

Hunting had been a little boring until then, Brodie said.

“But that first buck got me motivated,” he said.

By the time the larger buck came in, Brodie had practiced raising his rifle quietly.

The nine-point buck was quartering away from Brodie when he made his first shot, and he hit the buck in the hind quarter, he said. His second shot hit the buck in its spine, killing it immediately.

“I was so surprised I got something that big for my first deer, and actually saw something that day,” Brodie said.

He carries a photo of the buck with him, and he’s getting a lot of attention.

“He’s going to need a chiropractor from giving people so many high fives,” his dad said.

Todd has worked with Brodie, and his older son, Tucker, teaching them to hunt safely, he said. Tucker, 13, shot his first deer, a doe, last fall. Todd helped Brodie practice shooting and sighting in his rifle this fall, Brodie said. He’s also been hunting grouse this fall, too.

“He’s got eight grouse,” Todd said. “He gets ecstatic when he shoots a grouse.”

On Tuesday, the Abernethys delivered Brodie’s buck to Bowe Taxidermy, where it will be mounted.