I’ve been deer hunting since the age of 18. I went out during the first shotgun season, hunting with my father, uncles and cousins. Deer hunting was kind of like a rite of passage in our family. We all gathered at my aunt and uncle’s house dressed in coveralls and orange vests. It was a weekend filled with stories, pranks and many memories.
I will never forget the first time I had a chance to take a deer. It was the second push of my first day of deer hunting. My father told me to walk down a draw. He told me I would be pushing deer toward the guys that were sitting at the end of the draw. So me being the green, new rookie, I didn’t think I would get a chance to shoot a deer. I thought that once a deer saw me they would take off and the sitters would shoot the deer every time. So I was walking through the draw of trees not really paying attention to anything. I heard a shot that came from the sitters and so I thought I had done my job.
Just about that time I looked up and saw a doe. She was headed in my direction and the wind was in my face. The doe had no clue I was there. I held very still and she kept jogging toward me. She tucked behind some of the fallen trees and I lost sight of her. I knew she had to be within gun range but I couldn’t see her. She then jumped the fence in front of me about 10 feet away – scaring the living hell out of me. I remember raising my gun and shooting in self-defense, shooting about two miles over the back of the doe. She ran off unharmed and I had to take a minute to regain my composure. When I got to the end of the draw I met my father. I was still shaking and had to explain what happened. I don’t think that my father will ever forget that morning; in fact he still laughs about it today.
Since that time I have learned a lot about deer hunting. Most of the lessons were taught by the deer I was chasing. I learned quickly that a mature doe knows when the smallest thing changes in its home. Big bucks are out there and are difficult to find. It always seems like they are two steps ahead of you all of the time, and no matter how hard you work at being scent free, there is always that one deer that can pick you out. At the end of the day if you don’t have the lucky horseshoe in your back pocket and the wind in the right direction, there is always tomorrow. I’d like to hear about your first deer hunt, so please take a moment and share your memory.
“That’s what dreams are made of.”