Vicksburg’s Ruth Ann Drake bags first deer at age 65

Published 9:08 am Monday, December 21, 2015

During her teenage years, Ruth Ann Drake often went deer hunting with her father. Or, at least, she went to the woods with him.

“We’d bring my friends along and he’d give us guns, but they were never loaded,” she said. “We weren’t serious about it. We were more interested in talking to each other and having a good time.”

As an adult she went turkey hunting with friends, who valued her skill as a caller more than a shooter.

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“I can make a sound like a turkey. I never shot a turkey,” she said with a laugh, before making a pitch-perfect turkey call.

Finally, at 65 years old, Drake got her shot and found her killer instinct. The special education teacher at Beechwood Elementary School bagged the first deer of her life on Dec. 5, while hunting with her boyfriend Ray Bottin.

It was a moment a lifetime in the making.

“It’s thrilling. The hunt, the anticipation and hoping you’ll see a good deer, and then shooting it, it’s exhilarating,” Drake said. “I’ve always enjoyed being out in nature. (Bottin) gave me this opportunity to go, and I was tickled to death.”

Drake and Bottin had been out all afternoon on PawPaw Island on the first Saturday in December. As dusk began to fall, the deer started to emerge from the woods near their stand and Drake had her chance to finally get one.

Two does walked into the clearing as Drake lined up her shot. She’d shot guns at the range before, and dove hunted — with a loaded gun — as a child, but never shot a rifle with a scope. That presented its own challenge.

“I told her to put the crosshairs on his shoulder. She asked, ‘What are the crosshairs?’” Bottin said.

Drake figured it out and, from 90 yards away, dropped one of the does with a perfect shot from the 7mm magnum. Her doe weighed 140 pounds, and the gun felt like it kicked with the force of a mule.

“It’s healed now, but I had a big bruise on my shoulder. I wish it was still there. I was proud of that bruise,” she said.

After taking her first buck at an age when most hunters are ready to slow down, Drake is ready to make up for lost time. She and Bottin are planning another hunting trip next weekend, and she’s already planning on taking down another deer.

“I’m going to get me a big buck,” she said with a laugh. “A big buck, with a big rack.”


This is part of an occasional series of hunting stories told by or submitted from Vicksburg Post readers. If you’d like to submit a story or hunting photo, please send an email to Include your name, the hunter’s name, details of the hunt such as time, date, size of the animal, weapon used and any interesting details. Also include a telephone number so we can contact you. If submitting a photo of children, please take the picture before they have been blooded. Any photos containing excess amounts of blood and gore will not be published.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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