A Light-Hearted Look at a Serious Panic Attack

Angie McCallister is a deer hunter and D&DH reader from South Carolina.

First read this story, then click here to post on the forum what you would’ve done in Angie’s situation. How would you handle being lost in the woods?

I, being Miss Independent, decided to purchase my very own hunting blind. I went and bought the biggest condo-looking one I could find. It needed to be easy to set up, easy to take down and allow shooting through mesh windows.

I learned a good bit about ground blinds particular weekend. I went down to the creek bottom and picked out a spot tightly snuggled back along the hemlock tree line. I decorated it, made sure my mesh windows were good and tight. I set up camp inside with my porta potty, calls, scents and my Twinkies. I was so proud!

I looked around to get familiar with my surroundings I’d have no trouble in the morning. I flipped up the little orange reflectors and thought to myself, “No problem, shine the light, it will reflect and I will be blind bound. Hee hee hee!”

Early morning came and I headed out…by myself mind you. I found my marker and followed it toward the blind. Backpack and crossbow in hand, I was a happy hunter until…I got to the bottom of the deep, dark place we call “The Pines.” Little dilemma on my hands: I could not see a dang thing.

Starting to panic a little, I grabbed my lunch paper bag, dumped everything out and begin to breathe heavily into it. “Ok,” I thought. “All better. I can do this.”

I got my bright flashlight out and began to search for my reflectors. Not having much luck, I decided to listen for the creek and head that way. I was tripping over logs and what I’m sure was a small animal, although I had no idea. I could not see.

At this point, the paper bag wasn’t working any more. I tracked my steps back to where I had dumped my lunch on the ground. I knew I was back to the beginning. So I started over. In I went again, tripping, cursing and crying (I do this when I’m in a bit distraught).

I walked a bit further and decided to wait for daylight. I was irritated at this point, praying I wasn’t sitting by a bear or cougar or mountain lion. I thought to text the others from camp and let them know that I hadn’t made it to the blind. NO SERVICE!

I started ripping off clothes in a major panic attack.

Finally, I see the break of day. What a relief. I was feeling so much better until I looked to my left. Twenty yards away was my ground blind! The reflector flap had been covered up by a branch I used for cover the day before.

I was really in no mood to hunt, but I carried on anyway. There I sat in my blind, stewing, swearing, sweating and wishing I hadn’t dumped out my lunch.

Determined to make the best out of the day, I gathered my thoughts and got into hunting mode. Nine a.m. came and so did a big doe. I aimed the crossbow and shot. The doe ran about 20 yards. I knew it was a clean miss.

Frustrated, I grabbed my Twinkie, ate half of it and sat the remainder beside me.  Out of the corner of my eye, my half-eaten twinkie moved! I started to question my sanity. Not sure what to do next, I just stood there, hands on hips, hungry and sobbing uncontrollably. The Twinkie moved again and suddenly disappeared down a little hole in the ground.

A few minutes later, a little rat-looking thing poked its head out of the hole. It looked around as if there were some more treats for it. I decided just to grab my backpack, open the velcro mesh widow and escape. I would have had to cross the rat-looking creature to get out that way. I soon realized that this wasn’t the smartest idea, as the window was a bit smaller than I was. I had one leg out of the window and the other, very unsteady on the porta potty. I was in quite the predicament.

I reached up to grab one of the poles that held the ground blind together. I managed to shimmy out of the window.

Lessons Learned

1) I know what tree tacks are now. They will be purchased and used.

2) Leave my twinkies at camp.

3) Crying didn’t help my situation.

4) When it says shoot through mesh, it means the mesh.

Click here to post on the forum what you would’ve done in Angie’s situation. How would you handle being lost in the woods?

Read more entertaining reflections of hunts past in Born to Hunt by Dwight Van Brunt.

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