ORRINGTON, Maine — Marissa Grover didn’t have a lot of time to waste Saturday morning as she headed out hunting on Youth Deer Day with her dad, Dan Grover.

“I have a babysitting job,” Marissa, 12, explained. That meant she had to be out of the woods — deer or no deer — in time to get to that job by 9:30 a.m.

That didn’t pose much of a problem. The Grovers saw two bucks by 6:30 a.m. One hour later, they were registering the smaller of the two — a six-pointer that weighed 120 pounds — at Bob’s Kozy Korner store.

“What do I do with these?” she asked her father, holding up the two ice bags he’d just purchased.

“Just stick them inside the deer,” he told her.

She did, then scrambled off the tailgate of the pickup to chat about her hunt.

“I’d shake hands, but my hands are all bloody,” Marissa said.

The Grovers are avid hunters, but this was Marissa’s first deer. That hasn’t stopped her from getting involved in other aspects of post-hunt life in the past, she said.

She pitches in to help her family process any big game they shoot and knows her way around the grinder.

“We make different types of sausage,” she said. “We can make maple sausage, spicy sausage, breakfast sausage. We even make breakfast sandwiches out of them.”

And on this, her third Youth Deer Day, during which only youths are allowed to hunt deer with firearms in the state, she finally bagged her first deer.

And her efficiency was impressive.

“We got out at six, and we were going to go to our stand and sit for a while,” she said. “We didn’t even make it halfway to the stand before we saw the [first] buck. When it ran away we went farther, and we were almost there [when we saw the second one].”

A steady stream of young hunters arrived at Bob’s Kozy Korner to tag their deer Saturday and to receive their own hunter orange baseball caps — a Kozy Korner tradition for successful youth hunters — from store owner Bob Bastey.

One of the most successful had to be Colby Grimble, 15, of Holden, who arrived wearing an old Bob’s Kozy Korner hat with the details of his first four deer penned on the bill.

He arrived with his father, Dean Grimble, and Colby’s fifth deer, a four-pointer that weighed 126 pounds.

“We were sitting in Dedham this morning. We were in a treestand, and I was watching to my right, figuring that it would be kind of difficult if a deer walked out that way, because of all the brush over there,” Colby said. “As I was looking that way, a deer walked right out, 10 minutes past legal [shooting time].”

Colby made the shot count, then made the customary trip to Bob’s to tag the deer.

And after further examination, it turns out he might have an unfair advantage when it comes to hunting.

His hunting cap might be just plain lucky.

Colby pointed out the adjusting strap, where a sixth deer is described. That one isn’t on the front of the cap because Colby didn’t shoot it.

He loaned his cap to friend that day, and the friend tagged out with an eight-point buck.

“I didn’t want [that deer] on the front. It’s an 8-point, too,” Colby said. “I’ve got to beat that eventually. He’s got the biggest buck on my hat.”

Early bragging rights at Bob’s weren’t in doubt. A little past 8:30 a.m., Christian Chase-Hurd, 15, of Bucksport arrived with a nine-point buck that tipped the scale at 208.4 pounds, including the heart and liver.

Christian was hunting with his dad, Brad Hurd, and benefited from a bit of luck of his own. He actually missed his first shot at the deer — but it came back into a clearing five minutes later.

“I didn’t think I was going to get another shot at all,” he said. “No way. I missed.”

He took advantage of his second opportunity, and an excited group of onlookers watched as the deer topped the elusive 200-pound mark.

And though Brad Hurd was smiling about his son’s success, he’s also eager to begin his own hunting season next week.

“I’ve got a bigger one than that on camera,” Brad Hurd said. “[Christian] got that one, so I guess I’ve got to get the bigger one.”

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John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. He spent 28 years working for the BDN, including 19 years as the paper's outdoors columnist or outdoors editor. While...