SKOWHEGAN — Another Maine youth hunting day came and went Saturday, and four, young sharp-shooters came through Skowhegan’s Fire Department to have their deer tagged and weighed by midday.

On one designated day annually, licensed junior hunters can shoot one antlered deer statewide. There are also youth hunting days for bear, spring wild turkey, fall wild turkey and waterfowl.

Though Cassie Bessey, 15, has been out a couple times this year to hunt, on Saturday she shot her first deer — a 92-pound doe. Bessey is a Winslow native but came out to a family friend’s property in Skowhegan for the day.

Cassie Bessey, 15, poses with the first deer she’s ever shot, a 92-pound doe, Saturday in Skowhegan on Maine youth hunting day. Photo courtesy of the Bessey family

Bessey said she sat in a stand behind that family friend’s house. Suddenly, she noticed the others all pointing downward and saw two deer beneath her perch — a “baby and her mom.” Bessey’s friend advised her to go for whichever one she could get good a shot at, so she took aim at the doe with her .243 rifle. “I was shaking so much,” Bessey said, while she looked through the scope. So she decided to stand, and got the shot.

Now she’s caught the bug: “I want to go back soon, get a buck,” she said.

Unlike Bessey, this was not Savannah Furbush’s first rodeo. The 13-year-old from Norridgewock was described by her father as a “deer machine,” and Saturday marked the fourth deer she’s shot in Maine.


Savannah “Deer Machine” Furbush, 13, poses Saturday with the 110-pound Spikehorn deer she shot that morning in Skowhegan on Maine youth hunting day. Photo courtesy of the Furbush family

The eighth-grader said she was perched in a treehouse over a food plot, when her father saw a spikehorn deer coming from the left. Furbush patiently waited for the deer to stop moving, and then shot at it.

At first Furbush and her father thought she’d missed it, but when they went to check blood was everywhere, she said. She’d managed to hit a major artery with her father’s 7-millimeter magnum. “It felt nice,” Furbush said. “I love the adrenaline.”

Furbush has been hunting since she was 7, mostly accompanied by her father. She said her older sister also loves to hunt. It must be a family affair because Furbush said she was taking the 110-pound deer to her uncle, who will butcher it for them. They are excited to eat deer steaks and, particularly, deer sausage, they said.

Skowhegan fire Capt. Rick Caldwell said that four deer had come through the fire station since 7 a.m. and they would stop tagging and weighing at 9 p.m.

Usually on a youth hunting day, Caldwell said he can expect between a half-dozen to a dozen deer to come through the station to be registered, tagged and weighed. But Caldwell said the state has an 18-hour limit on keeping an unregistered deer, so it’s possible some kids may come in Sunday morning, too.

It costs $5 to register a deer, he said.

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