Thirteen-year-old Emma Purrier and her dad LeRoy went out for the Minnesota youth season on the afternoon of Oct. 18. They’d hunted together many times. Emma got her first deer, a doe, two years before, but since that kill she’d held out for a buck. Neither quite knew how that kind of patience would pay off. Here’s the story on how this father-daughter team scored on two massive Minnesota bucks.
“We were in by, I suppose 3:15 or 3:30,” Dad said. “At 5:15 that buck stepped out in the field. He was the first deer we saw, stepped out into the field 70 yards away and very slow and worked his way toward us.” Emma and Dad were in a ground blind with one side heavily brushed in. The deer worked the field edge toward them, but just out of view to the right. Soon a doe and a fawn walked within 30 yards of the blind, smack in front of the shooting window.
“My dad was freaking out!” Emma said, “He forgot his mask, so he kept his [gloved] hand over his face so the deer wouldn’t see him. I was thinking, ‘I hope I get a shot at him. I hope he actually dies.’ ” Last year Emma made two glancing shots on deer with her bow. Both deer lived another day, as photos captured on dad’s trail cameras proved. “I was a little nervous I wasn’t going to make it this time,” she said.
Though they knew the buck, had three years of trail camera photos and sheds even, it was the first time he showed in a field that year. “Normally he hangs out a mile away,” LeRoy said. He suspects the deer was on his first push into wider territory, laying down scrapes to mark his ground. After almost a half hour of grazing the field edge, that’s exactly what the buck did.
The buck walked a fence line into view. He stopped directly in front of a trail camera that LeRoy had just put out on an active scrape. The buck craned toward the licking branch, and the camera snapped a photo. It was 5:43 p.m. Emma pulled the trigger. “That photo,” LeRoy said, “that’s literally seconds before she shot him.” “When she first shot him I didn’t know if she even hit him,” LeRoy said. “He didn’t react. He jumped then he just disappeared. And right in the scrape where he was standing, there was hair and we found good blood right away.” Fifteen to twenty nickel-sized spots led off into the woods. They found a puddle the size of dinner plate. But then it seemed to dry up. The next morning they found him 25 yards from the spot, piled up down the ravine and across the creek.
“She made a good shot,” Dad said. “He was dead on the run.”
The Purrier’s hunt a 500-acre piece in Rochester, Minnesota, about a 100 miles southeast of Minneapolis. It’s mostly timber, but in the last three years they’ve worked to improve it. ” We have seen a major jump in buck size since we started the management program,” LeRoy said. With friends Joe Braun and Jim Hansen they’ve turned it into a little piece of deer paradise.
Two days later, it was LeRoy’s turn. He went out to a stand that he hung three weeks prior, but not without debating it. It was on a good pinch point atop the ravine, but a week prior his friend hunted it, saw a big deer, but didn’t get a shot. LeRoy thought “why not?” and as soon as he was in, he started texting his buddy. “Myself and two friends were texting back and forth,” he said. “It’s always the technology that kills you.” Soon as he hit send he looked up, and a heavy eight-pointer was right in front of him.
“If I was on my game and not playing on my phone I would have seen him coming 150 yards away,” LeRoy said. “He walked down the best shooting lane in the stand.”
The deer was at 20 yards, then walked off, not presenting a shot, until about 30 -35 yards. He stopped and turned, but a tree blocked his vitals. “I saw a little piece of him, just behind the shoulder, between the timber. I figured I’d slip it in there, or I’d hit the tree and it’d be a clean miss.”
He slipped it in there. With both lungs blown out the deer went 30 yards and crashed down. It was 5:43 p.m. – two days to the minute when Emma got her deer.
Emma’s buck scored 154-inches with 18.5-inch spread. LeRoy’s came in at 150.5-inches and 19 7/8th-inches wide. “For the two of us to get two of them that close together, that’s a once in the lifetime deal,” Dad said. Both are 5.5-year-old deer, both are the biggest deer either have shot.
“Myself, I got into bow hunting 7 years ago, got obsessed, started using ground blinds,” LeRoy said. “I asked Emma if she wanted to try it out and she loved it – just the sitting there watching animals, so I started setting more ground blinds and building box blinds.” Emma was 11 years old. “Soon as she saw her first deer, she just thought it was so cool.” The local paper ran a story on Emma and her great deer, now she’s something of a celebrity. “My friends at school were super excited when they found out,” she said. “Everyone in my class saw it and said, ‘I can’t believe you shot that big of a deer!'”

LeRoy Purrier and his 13-year-old daughter took great bucks on their property in Minnesota just two days apart. Here’s the story behind how the father-daughter team got it done.