After multiple weekends of whining and feeling sorry for myself; my many years in the woods finally paid off. I hate to admit it, but I’d been whining. I was sick of hearing myself, and I know my husband would agree. It seemed that no matter what I did to hide my scent, be quiet, and make as few movements as possible, my cover would be blown!
We’d been hunting in Georgia for a few years with some “good ole’ boys” who had some “freezer” success but no real bragging rights. As the only female hunting on the property I didn’t really get a warm & fuzzy welcome from the other male hunters. At one point they even asked my husband, “Do you bring her every weekend?” He smartly replied, “I wouldn’t think of leaving her at home, she’s a better shot than me!”
The moon had been full or close to it for several nights so the deer had been doing most of their feeding then. There had been signs of rutting activity for a few days, and my husband witnessed several bucks chasing a doe. As they raced past him, he spun around so quickly that he broke the chair he was sitting in. But that’s for another story.
We made the decision to sleep in the next morning. We ate a big breakfast and headed to the stands around 9:00am. We had plans to stay all day instead of breaking at noon for lunch and maybe catch some bucks wondering mid-day.
I had been in my ladder stand five minutes when I heard the fateful blow of an alerted deer behind me. I was so close to climbing down and going back to bed! But not wanting to mess up my husband’s hunt, I stuck it out. I’m really glad I did.
Ten minutes later I noticed some movement inside the wood line about 85 yards in front of me. I picked up my binoculars and scanned the edge to find out if it was a “shooter”. I caught the glimpse of an antler and my heart started to pound. I carefully raised my gun and tried to locate the buck in my scope. Where was he? Every time I looked in the scope I couldn’t locate him through the saplings and briars. I could only see him with the naked eye. I was really getting nervous! I thought back to the past few weeks and all the blown opportunities. I was sure if I didn’t get it together soon this would be added to the list. I took a deep breath and looked back in the scope one more time and found his front legs. Eureka! Just above that is his chest! I slowly moved my gun up until I found his front right shoulder and pulled the trigger on my 30-06. All four legs went in the air in the classic bucking motion. I had made contact! He broke into the field and headed straight for me. This is when I realized he wasn’t just a buck he was the biggest buck I’d seen in the woods, and the first one I’d shot at! I rapidly pumped my gun and fired off four more shots. He came to rest about fifteen feet behind my stand. I quickly grabbed another clip and slammed it into the gun. I wasn’t going to take a chance that he might get back up. He wiggled a little and I shot him again. Once I was confident he wasn’t going anywhere the celebrating began. Later I was told that I was heard on the other side of the property hoopin’ and hollerin’! My husband keyed up his two-way radio and asked if I was ok, and if I had one down. I confirmed that it was big but he should continue to hunt. I still had no idea the magnitude of what I had just accomplished. He waited about ten minutes but couldn’t stand the anticipation and headed my way. By then I had finally stopped shaking and felt confident enough to safely climb down out of the stand. I stood there for what seemed an eternity just staring at the magnificent animal in front of me. When my husband arrived he congratulated me with a hug and a tear. I then said to him, “Don’t even think about telling me I’m not getting it mounted!”
I’m very blessed to have found someone who enjoys the sport as much as I do and that we were able to share this moment together. The only thing that would have made it greater was if my Dad, who introduced me to hunting could have been there too.
As we started to drag the deer out of the woods my husband noticed there were only two shots in the deer. The first shot and the last shot. The first being the fatal one and the last was my nervous one….right into tenderloin, which to this day my husband won’t let me forget!
When we returned to camp we discovered there had been multiple deer shot that morning including an 8 point, a 6 point, and several does. But nothing came close to my 11 point. Those “good ole’ boys” were in awe of what the “girl” had harvested. The president of the club said it was the largest buck shot on the property in 20 years. The guy who shot the 8 point couldn’t stop rubbing the antlers of my deer. He said he was really happy with his deer until he saw mine.
After all the congratulating my husband and I took my deer to a local “stop n shop” that had a scale to get it weighed. As they began to hoist it up the last number I read was 185 lbs before the scale blew apart. It might have weighed more than that but I’ll never know.
He now proudly hangs in our home on what I like to call my “Wall of Fame” along with two of the biggest fish I’ve ever caught.
I’ve always looked forward to deer season beginning, but since that October morning in 2005 things have been a lot different.