It was one of those cold bleak days in late October, the kind where you didn’t know if it was going to rain, snow, or just be cloudy. One of those days where you just know that there will be big bucks out, you have to get in your stand a little early and sit until dark.
Last night was one of those nights. I climbed into my ladder stand at about in the afternoon, and sure enough there were already does in the field. All I had to do was wait for my buck to come out and I could shoot him.
He never did come out. I sat there in my treestand and waited and shivered as a cold wind blew down into the valley and right through my three layers of clothing. I had also forgotten my gloves. Taking my hat off, I tucked my hands inside the warm fleece.
Sitting there in the biting wind, I remembered another little girl, a long time ago, who had also forgotten her gloves. Her dad had taken off his hat and told her to put it over her hands for warmth. Once, she had even forgotten to bring along shells for her shotgun, and had to walk all the way back to the house to get them. On the way out, she had spooked several deer but couldn’t shoot since she had nothing to shoot them with.
That same girl at the age of 9 had watched in envy as her older brother came back from his hunters safety course, and she wished that girls could go hunting too. For her 7th birthday her dad had taken her turkey calling, and she had never forgotten it. When her dad asked her if she wanted to go along when he took her older brother duck hunting, she jumped at the opportunity. Dawn at the pond was like magic hour, when everything came alive. She felt lucky to even be there.
Coming back from duck hunting in the evening, her hand clutching a handful of cattails and her coveralls wet with swamp much, her dad asked if she would like to go hunting next year when she turned ten. There was no need to ask twice.
She turned ten the next April. Her dad asked her if she wanted to shoot the shotgun to get ready for turkey season, and she shot until her shoulder was bruised and tears came to her eyes. Still, she wanted to prove she was ready.
season opened in mid-April, and the first week her dad had promised her older brother that the first week was his. The second week was hers. Turkey
But, the first day of the first week, she woke up early in the morning, just when the sun was coming up, and looked out her bedroom window to see her dad and older brother carrying a dead turkey down the hill to the house. This meant, she would be the one hunting for the rest of the week.
The first year was a learning experience. The little girl didn’t kill anything, but she still loved being out there. The next year she shot her first deer with a shotgun, a button buck, and she also missed her first turkey. And her second turkey. But her 13th birthday turned out to be something she would never forget. On that gray rainy morning, her older brother shot his second turkey, she shot her first turkey, and her younger brother shot his first turkey. It was the best birthday she had ever had.
As she got older, she began hunting alone, and the deer population began to rapidly diminish. But, it wasn’t until age 16 that she got her first bow. And then the real obsession started.
And now here she is, many deer and years later, waiting on the buck of her dreams.
It’s something I think about every time I kill a deer or turkey, how I got started on hunting, and the first time I ever picked up a compound bow. I am thankful that I had a dad who would take me hunting and teach me how to do it right. Without it, I wouldn’t be who I am today.