“Temperatures are staying low. Light enough to shoot by 6:45. Snow flurries between 8:30 and 9:00. Breezy. Lots of rustling in the leaves from critters out and about… now that sounds different!” In the next few seconds I experienced the thrill of what hunting is all about. A nice sized four point buck was trotting straight toward the blind I was hunting in. It stopped momentarily within a few dozen feet, dipped to the tier below me, stopped again, turned broadside, and then… No, I was not fast enough. I had the bullet loaded, the gun up, safety off, and the sights on; but this being my first time hunting with the rifle, I did not fire and the opportunity slipped away. I came home empty handed that day but carried with me the thought that next year, the same buck will be a 6 point at least. The incident that morning was enough to get my heart pumping and stimulate the zeal to try again.
Thanksgiving morning found Dad and I up in the woods again. The morning was as normal as ever except the chipmunks, squirrels, and nuthatches seemed abnormally noisy. Then, at around 10:30, I heard some rustling in the leaves again only this time behind the blind. It seemed much too noisy for a small critter. Well, I turned around and what do you know? Two small does stood there staring at me. I forgot about size and slowly got into position. Still they just stood there. I made sure it was a safe shot on the lead doe and still, she just stood there. So I aimed and shot. Well, she stood there no more, but ran to the top of the hill where she dropped for good.
This seems like a good ending to the story, but that was not the case. Seconds after I shot, I realized that there was blood dripping off my nose! Having been in a rather awkward shooting position, the scope was too close to my face and when the gun kicked, it jammed the scope into my forehead. It was interesting having an injury that I did not know what looked like! At any rate, I view my wound as a mark of ownership of the first deer I have ever successfully harvested.
This is only one of three deer we have shot this year. Dad has shot one, Donald one, and myself one. The hunting process continues from the woods to the freezer as everyone helps out in skinning, quartering, grinding, and packaging the meat. We hope to shoot enough deer this fall to supply us with enough red meat to last until next hunting season.