PARKSLEY, Va. At 82, Violet Mears can still bring home the bacon, or, in her case, the venison.

When she was 73, the housewife decided it was time to make a lifestyle change.

“I decided I had cooked enough meals and kept them hot for him all these years that one day I told him, ‘You stay home. I’m goin’ huntin.’ Never been huntin’ before,” she said. So far she has bagged eight deer, one an 8-point buck. “I’m probably the oldest lady hunter on the Eastern Shore.”

Every deer she has killed has been with one shot.

“For someone who has started so late in life deer hunting, she’s done great,” said her husband of 64 years, Otho “O.W.” Mears. “She started off as a pro.

“I was with her when she got her first deer. It was 100 yards away. She shoots, it drops, but is still kickin’. I grabbed the rifle, shot a bullet into it and handed it right back to her. ‘Keep it on him, keep it on him, I don’t like the way he fell,’ I said. We got out of the blind and started walking down there, and I was carryin’ the rifle. He was dead and when I put my arm around Violet and that damn gun went off, right in the ground ahead of us, on its own. Suddenly she said, ‘There’s somebody else back here. I heard them shoot,’” he recalled with laughter.

Her rifle of choice is a 30-30-caliber Savage, about 60 years old.

“My father used it, and only killed one deer in his life with it. When I was hunting years back, I used it. Then I had it cut down when our son Lenny started huntin’,” he said. “I took it to the gunsmith with Lenny’s air rifle, laid the Savage on top and told him to make it the same size as the air rifle. He took some of the stock and barrel.”

Violet began her gun training with a 22 rifle and moved up to the Savage. As the years passed, she grew familiar with other weapons.

“I got a Barretta 22 automatic pistol with a laser on it for Christmas last year,” she said with considerable pride.

It’s for home protection. Violet is packing heat. “I wouldn’t shoot to wound, I’d shoot to kill,” she said, with a punctuating nod of her head for emphasis.

With her rifle, she is ready for afternoon hunting. Even though, for Mother’s Day, her son gave her a pop-up deer blind, Violet prefers something a little more substantial.

Read more: USAToday.com