Brooke Taylor earned something to cheer about.

‘‘I’m on the cheer team and it’s a big passion of mine, but not as big of a passion as hunting is to me,’’ emailed Taylor, a 14-year-old freshman at Chicago Christian.

That showed during the youth firearm hunt with her dad last weekend, when she bagged a seven-point buck at Giant City State Park.

‘‘I was in the woods for about 40 minutes when a bachelor pack of deer came around,’’ she emailed. ‘‘There were three good-sized bucks, and I took the closest shot I had.’’

She cleanly dropped her buck with a Harrington & Richardson 20-gauge slug gun. Well done, considering that it was her first time in a climbing tree stand and that she had to stand up, turn around and take a free-standing shot.

This story caught me enough to start BOTW earlier than usual.

BOTW, the celebration of good deer stories and big bucks around Chicago outdoors, runs Wednesdays on the Sun-Times’ outdoors page as warranted. Send nominations by Facebook (Dale Bowman), Twitter (@BowmanOutside) or email (