I've never really been a team sports kind of gal. I'm more of a free bird, and a loner too. I also never liked the idea of valuing my worth with a score. I also really hated running sprints for someone else's mistakes. Also, in all reality, I'm slow, and vertically challenged and the only team sports my school offered you needed at least speed.
I fell in love with deer hunting at an early age, part in thanks to the solitude it brings, along with the challenge it presents me. There is no team effort in deer hunting. The hubs and I work to encourage and help each other be better hunters, but when it comes right down to it the responsibility lies in the shooter. When I'm at full draw, the responsibility for making a clean ethical fast kill shot are on my shoulders, and no one elses. A success or failure in the field is completely in the hands of the hunter, and at times as a hunter we only have moments to decide if it's going to be a successful day or a empty handed kind of day.
Thanksgiving has proven to be our best day in the field for the past few years. We always make great memories this time of year, and this was no exception. I was enjoying a beautiful morning in the stand, and out steps a pretty 8 point buck. I made a quick decision I couldn't pass up the 17 yard shot, and the venison would be a fabulous addition to my freezer. I waited to get a good quartering shot, and took it.
I saw him run with my arrow in him, and he made it out of sight. I listened for a crash, which somehow I missed. I did hear him breathing very labored. I knew had made a pretty solid shot, and he couldn't be far from me. I patiently waited for The Hubs to get to my blind, to help me find my prize. Once he arrived we found blood about 5 yards from my shot, followed it up a snow covered path to my deer. He had only made it about 25 yards from the shot before crashing. I'm so thankful for a quick clean kill, and for getting the
sasquatch monkey off my back.
Don't mind my 4AM no makeup face!
While I'm aware this isn't a monster buck for our area, but I made the decision that morning he was a shooter. I couldn't be more proud of him. My first clean bow kill is a huge confidence booster, and to finally have fresh venison headed to our freezer this year is hard to beat. My pride was quickly slashed when the photo hit a few "friends" cells. Expecting a congratulations or good job, but instead was returned with "well could you hold it out a little more" or what did it score kind of burst my bubble.
I don't hunt deer based on what they would score with a tape. I hunt deer based on what is going to fill my freezer, and what is going to be a great memory in the field for me. The number of inches a deer's rack is doesn't make me a better or worse hunter. Yes, I've taken beautiful big bucks in previous years, and yes this one pales in comparison. However, I'm just as proud about him as I am the biggest bucks of my life. If hunting is only a number based in inches for you, then you've truly missed what hunting is really about. If you go out twice and take a deer based on inches and never hunt again that season obviously your heart isn't in hunting like mine is. There is nothing that gets me more excited than having those up close and personal moments with nature. I get shaky when a doe is at 30 yards or less.
If you truly enjoy the outdoors you could have a craptastic season (like ours has begun), but still be persistent and sit out. Yes, I understand management is a skill, but I encourage all hunters to understand that if someone took a deer and is happy with that deer then they should be happy for them! I support point requirements, but I would never knock someone for wanting to fill their freezer and hone their skill. Where I hunt, it's not like the TV hunters, it's real life. Real life so much that this deer almost spooked away by an overzealous rifle hunter who couldn't help but unload his chamber on something nearby. Be proud to be a hunter, and be proud of clean ethical kills that result in a filled freezer, and memories to last a life time.