Mama’s first buck…at Church!
I finally got to the place in my bow shooting practice where I had the confidence to hunt a deer with my amazing new Darton Pro 3500 SD bow. I have been practicing for months and lost a couple of my super cool Victory V Force arrows in the weeds where I hope I can find them after the frost, but I felt comfortable enough to actually go hunting.
During archery deer season, I went out every morning and sat in the tree stand hoping at first for a BIG buck to walk by, then wishing a medium buck would walk by and then, well hoping to spot anything legal to shoot!
I had never experienced life in a tree stand and it is super cool! It took me a little bit to get settled and get my harness strap long enough to enable me to sit on the seat and not just dangle above it, but soon I was happily waiting for it to get light enough to shoot the ginormous buck that would soon walk by.
I was privy to watching nature waking up as never before. The first day I was so well camouflaged in my stunning cozy Prois, that two birds right above me were comfortable enough to relieve themselves right on my head! Wow I thought, hunting is so much fun…
I was able to watch three young raccoons irritate their mother with their morning antics and get chewed out. I am sure they were really grateful for an audience to their shame, but I was eavesdropping on their little lives and well, didn’t ask for their permission. Mama raccoon soon had everyone ready for their day and they scooted down the tree across from me to whatever chores needed to be done.
It was also fall turkey season, and I kept hearing turkeys in the field just past me. I decided that since the season was almost over and since I hadn’t heard or seen any toms, I would not go buy a turkey tag. Of course that was a dumb move because one morning I sat watching a coyote approximately 50 yards away from me stalk a bunch of turkeys. He was intent on getting breakfast and I thought to myself, if I had a coyote call of some sort I could save the turkeys he was watching from a grizzly death. I would be the turkey savior! I knew I wouldn’t be able to get a turkey without a tag, and if I couldn’t have one neither could that mangy coyote!
I had no call but started to whistle, sounding like what I imagined a distressed critter would sound like . Darn if that coyote came over to me!! He must have thought I was a woodland freak of nature, but he came over nonetheless. He left his breakfast quest to see what was dying a horrific scary death in the bushes. Of course I couldn’t get a shot off because he was on my far right side and my bow was pointing left. I slowly attempted to move my bow in his direction and he disappeared. I felt good anyway that I had saved the turkeys for another day. When things settled down a bitI heard a rustling in the bushes and then what to my wondering eyes should appear? Fifteen turkeys including 2 really nice toms. RIGHT UNDER MY TREESTAND! If I had a tag I could have taken a wonderful turkey. Note to self, get a turkey tag next year during deer season.
The season was almost over and it was Sunday. I had one more day to hunt a deer, but since I had not seen one at all, I decided to go to church. We were going to try to find a deer later that day so I would have one more chance to get a deer. I got dressed in nice dress jeans, a dress shirt and high heeled boots. I put my hair up and wore nice sparkly earrings. I sprayed my favorite perfume on and off we all went just like any other Sunday.
We were all sitting in the service and Jerry went to help serve communion. He came back and told me that someone said there was a wounded buck in the bushes behind the church. Our church is in the country with trees and fields all around. I quietly told him that I could tag it if it was really wounded. I, like most hunters am not afraid of an animal dying a quick death but HATE having an animal suffer,there is a big difference to me. Jerry didn’t say anything about what he was going to do just then so I just sat back to let him deal with it. I had no idea just how injured the animal was; if the buck was running around with a scraped up knee or was really badly injured.
I didn’t hear from him for a while and thought maybe the men in the church just took care of it. The service was still going on and our preacher was doing a great job. I got curious though, and went outside, just as Jerry came back in to the parking lot. Jerry had gone home quickly to get my bow.
He told me that the buck was laying by the old trailer parked behind the church and if I wanted to I could shoot it and tag it. I felt awful that that poor thing was suffering in the heat. What was amazing to me was a bear or coyotes had not killed it although we had no way of knowing just how long it had been there. I knew that I wanted to end its suffering and that is what I was focused on.
I got my bow out of the case and got ready to shoot. I didn’t want to scare the buck and have it run off, so I very carefully crept around the trailer and looked for him. He was laying in the trees with his head mostly behind a bush so I couldn’t see his antlers. I truly didn’t care how big they were I just wanted to end his pain. I walked to within 20 feet of him and raised my bow. Jerry said to shoot at the leaf that was laying over the spot I should hit. I took aim and shot, shearing the leaf in half and making a perfect shot trough his lungs. He jerked a little and put his right foot out and died.
I was very relieved that that beautiful animal didn’t hurt anymore. I took a deep breath and walked back to the truck and put my bow away. The kids were still in church with everyone so Jerry told me to go back into church and wait for it to end. He and a couple of guys loaded the buck in the back of the truck for me, and took him home.
I went back in to church, sat down and finished the service. I have no idea what the preacher said or what the songs were after that. I was a little shaken up and somewhat dazed. I only remembered seeing the deer’s rack for a second and knew he was of the legal size to shoot. I have never shot an animal with a bow and was amazed at how clean and fast it went. I am sure the buck never knew what happened.
After church I took the kids home and told them what happened. When we got home Jerry had the buck all taken care of. He determined that the buck had been wounded most likely by a car. He was pretty well bruised up and battered and had lain there for several days. The kids were thrilled for me to have gotten a buck and he had a great thick , broad 4X2 rack in velvet which amazed me.
Everyone asked if I wanted the head mounted and so forth. I felt weird thinking of this first buck as a trophy. To me he was not an animal that I tracked and hunted in the woods that had a fighting chance with it’s quiet cunning and wisdom of the woods. This was a gorgeous animal that had suffered. Someone had hit him with a car and left him to die a slow painful death and I didn’t feel that it was something to celebrate, so I just had Jerry do a panel mount with his antlers.
I am proud of my buck and that God gave me the ability to take a bad situation and make it turn out good.
Now I will be glad when the “You know you are a redneck” comments die down!