Brooksville school cook bags 16-point buck

Every couple of days or so for the last four weeks, I’ve received an email or phone message that has brought a smile to my face.

Figure: When you’re the outdoors editor at a newspaper in a state with such a hunting tradition, deer season is a pretty busy time.

One of those messages came from Corinne Pert, the principal of Brooksville Elementary School, who just knew she had a story that our readers would be interested in.

It didn’t take Pert long to grab my attention: According to the her, on Youth Deer day alone — the Saturday before the traditional residents-only opening day of firearms season — 25 percent of the middle school hunters in Brooksville filled their tags, and helped fill family freezers with venison.

“The hunting tradition continues in the small coastal community of Brooksville,” Pert wrote. “when someone gets a nice buck, everyone knows about it.”

Now, let’s let Pert tell the story of her school’s cook, and the excitement she created when she took the buck of a lifetime earlier this month.

“On Monday, Nov. 5, when Brooksville Elementary School cook Susanne Dodge finished her duties, she headed out to her favorite stand,” Pert wrote. “She took along her favorite handheld solitaire game to keep herself quiet and focused.

“A doe and fawn appeared shortly after she settled in.  As they were meandering along, grazing, she continued to play solitaire,” Pert wrote. “Then, she heard him in the woods.  She knew it was a buck, but he wasn’t coming out into the open. She tried a bleat call and he started moving, but was somewhere behind her. Suddenly she heard him coming.”

Apparently, at that point the solitaire became a lot less interesting.

“She lifted her rifle and waited. [The deer] entered the opening, but was face on. He was BIG!  ‘Come on,’ she thought.  ‘Turn just a little.’ Just as though he heard her command, he turned.  A perfect shot dropped him instantly,” Pert wrote.

Susanne Dodge, the cook at Brooksville Elementary School, shows off the 16-point, 225.5-pound buck that turned her into a local celebrity recently. (Photo courtesy of Susanne Dodge)

“Susanne immediately called her husband Chuck who was on his way to work. ‘I just shot a big one!’ she exclaimed.  ‘How big?’ She got down to count the points on the incredible rack. ‘Nineteen points!  He’s a big one!’  Chuck wanted to believe her, but couldn’t quite imagine it. He wanted to turn around, but needed to check in at work.  Susanne then called in the recruits — cousin Joel, sister Rose, and father Earl. Joel called Chuck to confirm that yes, it really was huge, and yes, it had nineteen points.  (Later it was determined that 16 were score-able points), Pert wrote.

“Tuesday morning everyone at school wanted to see the big buck, so Chuck and Joel stopped by on the way back from getting an official weight.  225.5 pounds,” Pert wrote.

“When it was announced over the intercom that ‘the buck is here,’ students and staff alike raced out to see it.,” Pert wrote. “Mrs. Dodge was the star of the show, even taking time to be interviewed by the school’s news broadcast team WBES Channel 34.

“When asked what she was planning to do with the buck, she said she would mount the head and eat the rest. The student asking the question then hopefully asked, ‘Here?'” Pert wrote. “After a nice chuckle, Mrs. Dodge said that maybe she would bring some in to share.  (A feast last spring featured bear, moose, deer, and duck, so it was a reasonable request).

“When the last admirer was called back to the classroom, Mrs. Dodge put her apron back on and headed into the kitchen,” Pert wrote.

A week later the community is still abuzz with the tale of the big buck. A pair of sheds found last year were determined to belong to the same buck. Youth hunters continue to find success. Seventh-grader Marshal Lebel, who got his buck on youth day, shot a great cow moose Nov. 9 in New Sweden. Everyone thought it was too bad that Marshal missed Mrs. Dodge’s big buck, but he was on an adventure of a lifetime making memories of his own,” Pert wrote.

As I said earlier, the story really made me chuckle. And after watching the video that students put together, I knew readers would likely want to see that, too. You can find it at


John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.