Kayla Morse knows that she is fortunate when it comes to deer hunting.
Her family is blessed to have productive land in St. Albans on which to hunt, and she has benefited from the guidance provided by her parents, Patrick and Ashley Morse.
Combined with the ability to keep calm and make a good shot, Kayla Morse has put together an impressive string of successful deer hunts.
On Saturday, which was Youth Deer Hunting Day in Maine, the 14-year-old took care of business when she shot a crotch-horn buck during an afternoon sit. It marked her seventh consecutive year harvesting a deer.
“Seven straight years tagging out. She’s my little eagle eye,” Patrick Morse said. “One more year left and then no more youth hunting in my household.”
Kayla Morse enjoys getting first crack at a deer on youth day, especially since her parents, older sister and other family members all hunt but have to wait for the start of firearms season, which begins Saturday for Maine residents.
“I have a big advantage,” Morse said. “My sister, my uncles, my grandfathers and my parents, it’s all good competition.”
Saturday’s hunt didn’t last long as Kayla and her dad sat together in a ground blind.
“I was actually very lucky, because I’m a really impatient person and the deer came out fairly quickly, so I was only sitting for about half an hour,” said Kayla Morse, who has hunted with both of her parents over the years.
She has learned valuable lessons from both of them.
“My dad, he is more business, like, we’re here to get it done,” Morse said. “My mom is more laid back, so it has its perks with each person.”
This year’s successful hunt provided a breakthrough of sorts for Morse, who typically has shot her deer in the neck, although not necessarily by design.
“This was actually the first year I had shot behind the shoulder,” she said of the excellent heart shot on her buck, which weighed 120 pounds.
Morse said she’s not hung up on whether she shoots a buck or a doe. Plus, she also still has an antlerless deer permit for this season.
“Obviously, if it’s a buck and there’s a lot of points it’s a bonus, but I really don’t care about points, because it’s more of just being able to provide meat for my family. But the competition is fun, too!” she said.
Morse didn’t expect any deer-related hoopla upon her return to classes Monday at Nokomis Regional High School in Newport. The freshman expected to mention it at some point to some friends, but didn’t plan to make a big deal about it.
“I just kind of stay quiet about the deer I get because I know that not all people like hunting like I do and not all people get to go hunting,” Morse said. “I don’t try to put it out there too much, but I am proud of what I shoot.”
Now that she has a deer in the freezer, Morse can concentrate on another of her passions, soccer. Her Nokomis team is preparing for a Tuesday Class B North quarterfinal playoff game at Old Town.
“Soccer is the other big focus in my life when I’m not hunting,” she said.
Morse and her dad are aware that next fall, when she tries to make it eight in a row, will be the final time that she’ll be able to hunt on youth day.
“This is my favorite day of hunting, seeing all the youths get deer and enjoying the memories with my kids,” Patrick Morse said. “Gonna miss it.”
Kayla Morse looks forward to branching out on her own in the future, but is equally committed to keeping her streak alive.
“I’ll also probably enjoy more the responsibility of being able to do that and getting a deer on my own,” Morse said, “but I am still taking advantage while I have it now.”