While in the stand, Mark took one last look at where the buck had been when Chelsea pulled the trigger.
"I relocated the spot and climbed down to take another look," Mark recalled. "This time I found some blood. Four or five steps later, I found the buck and started yelling."
The giant 11-pointer had turned left instead of right, as the Shabdues at first believed it had. It had gone down behind a large brush pile, just out of sight from where they'd been looking.
Chelsea ran over to examine her trophy.
"My jaw dropped," she said. "I'd never killed anything that big. It was one of those bucks that grown men would be proud to get."
The rack will need to dry for 60 days before it can be officially scored, but Mark and a few other knowledgeable hunters believe it will total roughly 163 inches on the Boone and Crockett Club's scoring scale.
"I'm probably more excited about her having killed a buck like that than I would be if I'd killed one myself," Mark said.
When Chelsea returned to school after her hunt, she showed her classmates a cell-phone photo of herself with her trophy.
"The girls didn't pay much attention to it at all," she said. "The guys asked if my dad killed it and I just had my picture taken with it. None of the guys would really believe I'd killed it."
Despite her peers' skepticism - or perhaps because of it - Chelsea plans to try for an even bigger buck next fall.
"I'm going back next year, definitely," she said
Reach John McCoy at johnmc...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1231.