Jean Talbert isn’t one to sit in a rocking chair, reading or watching television all day.
Not when the Missouri deer season is open, anyway.
Talbert, 84, is one tough granny. If the weather is even halfway decent, she’ll be in her deer blind, waiting for a big buck to walk out of the woods.
“So many people my age just give up,” she said. “But I’m not like that.
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“I’ll tell some of my friends that I still like to hunt deer and turkeys and they’ll just be amazed. They’ll say, ‘At your age?’
“But age doesn’t mean anything. As long as I am still able, I’ll be out there.”
That’s where Talbert was last Saturday on opening day of the Missouri deer season. She sat in the blind overlooking a large food plot her husband, Bill, had planted on their land near Rolla, Mo. She waited patiently until she spotted a flash of gray out of the corner of her eye. She turned to see a big buck walking her way.
When it got closer, she looked through the scope on her rifle, then squeezed the trigger. And in that moment, she checked another item off her “bucket list.”
She finally had her 10-pointer.
“That’s the biggest buck I’ve ever taken,” she said. “I’ve shot some other bucks, but nothing as big as this one.
“We knew from our trail cameras that we had some big ones out there. I was lucky this guy wanted to come into our food plot and grab something to eat.”
After shooting the big deer, she was surrounded by family and friends who celebrated her success. It was that way earlier this fall when she shot a 21-pound turkey out of the same field.
Oh, yeah, this granny is a hunter.
She got started in 1988 when she retired from teaching and decided to join her husband, an avid hunter, in the field.
“I think I’ve taken a deer every year,” she said matter-of-factly. “And I’ve taken my share of turkeys, too.”
The Talberts farm for wildlife. They have food plots, manage their timber and make sure their land is hospitable for wildlife. When they aren’t hunting, they are often standing at the back window with their binoculars, watching the critters that use their land.
On opening morning, in fact, Jean was a watcher, not a hunter.
“I have congestive heart failure, so I can’t go out in the cold,” she said. “So I stayed in while the others went out.”
Sure enough, she watched an 8-point buck cross the field in back of their house.
“I didn’t have my gun,” she said. “So I just watched.”
Later, though, she got her chance. Others in her group also were successful. Her son-in-law, Ed Franko, shot a 9-point buck, and Ed’s son, Jon, shot a doe.
But this day belonged to Jean.
“She really amazes me,” Franko said. “She has patience like you wouldn’t believe.
“She just loves to hunt.”
Brent Frazee: 816-234-4319