This weekend was a long time coming. Ever since I was 16 years old and sat in the ground blind with my dad for the first time, I knew I loved hunting. Opening day, Dad and I were sitting in the blind that chilly morning when right at sunrise I see a dark object emerge from the trees behind the feeder. He was the very first, on the first day of the season and the first time I had ever been on a hunt. I felt lucky. I hate to say it ended with me NOT shooting him. Unfortunately, our county has a 13 inch restriction, that they had just put in place, and the 6 point was too small. My dad was sick, but I was hopeful another one, bigger, would come along that season. Well, it never did. Years actually went by and I never made contact with a buck. I had the opportunity to shoot a doe, but I just couldn't do it. That is the softer side of me I guess. Anyway, 8 years later, it finally changed.....
Dad took me to West Texas as a birthday present. I don't know many girls who ask for that sort of thing for their birthday, but I did.
We arrived Saturday morning, after a 7 hour drive from East Texas we went out for our first hunt that afternoon. Dad sat in the blind with me and we saw two doe and a small spike, neither of which I could or wanted to shoot. Sunday morning, same thing, just more doe, 11 to be exact and one small 6 point. By this point, I was just thrilled to see anything. I stayed optimistic and tried convincing my dad I was still excited to just be in the stand and seeing something rather than nothing at all! I secretly wanted it more than anything, but knew I had to be patient.
Third hunt this weekend..
3:00, Sunday afternoon we walk up to the blind, surprising a doe and a fawn at the feeder who run off. I remember praying right then, God please send me something I can shoot. Not even 20 minutes later the same mama and baby show up... Then another doe arrives. They stay and eat for what seemed like forever. I was sitting on the west side of the blind and my dad on the east. We were both looking out the opposite sides. He had mentioned that the deer usually come from the East so that's where I put my focus.
4:30, I decide to turn around and look out the west side and at the same moment I see something trotting across the field toward our direction. I slap my dad on the back and to get his attention and grab the binoculars. But in a few seconds I realized even from 300 yards away it is that same spike. I sigh in disappointment. He ends up approaching the feeder and eating among the one doe who is now left.
5:30, An hour goes by and I turn to my dad and say, if anything else comes out I just know it will be a shooter. The last doe left has already ran off when the spike slowly disappears into the trees behind the feeder.
5:45, I am starting to give up and realize we only have one more hunt, Monday morning before we have to head back to East Texas. I literally am whispering to my dad how much fun I have had and that if I don't get one it is OK. And once I do, I will appreciate it that much more. I am patient and not everyone gets one on the first weekend. I can tell how bad he wants it for me though...
10 minutes go by, we are losing sunlight and I know we only have a good 20 minutes left..
I turn around once more to look out the west window and that's when it began.....
I see not one but 3 deer trotting across the pasture about 300 yards away. I hit my dad on the back (that's what I do in excitement) and tell him 3 are coming are way and I know one is a buck for sure. I start shaking like never before for some weird (instinctive) reason, like I knew it was going to happen. They stop and eat some corn we had thrown out about 200 yards away, but the one with the rack I had laid my eyes on disappears behind trees. I tell my dad, I know one is a good buck, I know it. He grabs the binoculars because I am so excited I can't hold them steady. I just watch and a few seconds (seeming like a million) go by and he reappears. Dad turns to me with big eyes and says, "He is a shooter".
I start shaking even more than before. I am thinking, man this is it, no more talk. 8 years of waiting I guess makes you shake a lot.
I go ahead and grab the 30-06 and set it up on the window. I look into the scope and that is when He decides to start trotting our way again, but unfortunately as the two other small buck go to the feeder he stops about 100 yards away behind a big bush. I am still shaking when I try to scope him out. What seems like forever is only 10 seconds before I see his head peak out from behind the bush. I guess I stopped breathing because My dad tells me to breathe. So I take a deep breath and that is when his front of his body emerges and I have my scope on him. There is still a bush in front of our stand that is in the way. I take the safety off and tell my dad I have him targeted but he tells me to be patient. Not even a second passes, (to me forever) and He steps completely out perfectly perpendicular to me. This was it. My dad says, just do it when you're ready. I don't even wait on him to finish his sentence because I already have him targeted on his left shoulder. In that moment, a perfect moment, a calmness overcomes me and I am no longer shaking. I know I am about to kill him and...I gently pull the trigger. I see a red flash and his body falls flat. My dad jumps up and exclaims, "You did it, you just killed your first deer". I am ecstatic. I jump out of the blind ready to run toward him, knowing better that I should wait a few minutes but I am too excited. Fortunately Dad stops me and says to hold on. We hug and I instantly start shaking again, because my adrenaline is running higher than ever. It is crazy how it all went down in a matter of about 2 minutes, from the moment I saw him running across up until I shot him dead.
We finally walk a little over 100 yards to complete the experience. I ended up shooting a double lung shot and am proud. An 13 inch spread 8 point. I don't think I will ever experience a feeling like this again. It was completely indescribable! I think the leading up to killing MY deer was the best part, the anticipation of it all. And I am glad Dad shared it with me, I think he was prouder of me than I was of myself.
A memory that we both will never forget.
No, he isn't the biggest deer, but he is MINE, my first!