"The Hunt"

As a mother of three boys, I have found myself submerged in testosterone many days, looking for a way to escape into a world of estrogen. Don’t get me wrong. I love my boys, but some days I just need to get out and have some girl time.

I have thought many days of the numerous things my boys love to do that don’t really tickle my fancy. I have wondered what it would be like to actually enjoy the things that my boys love to do, so that I could happily join them in their quests. One such hobby my boys enjoy is hunting, with my husband, Patrick. As a good sport, I decided to venture out with them on one occasion last year. We hunted in a large stand, big enough for all of us. During the hunt everyone was so quiet, and the sun was going down, so I grew sleepy. I decided I would take a short nap while they continued their hunt. To my dismay, I missed seeing any deer that day.

Since then, I have thought it would be nice to give it another try. So a few days before New Year’s Day, I asked my husband if I could go deer hunting with him. He looked at me in disbelief, wondering what I was planning to do while I was there, since my hunting experience was lacking. He finally agreed to take me along, knowing that we would have a good time together no matter what we were doing.

When we arrived at the hunting land, we walked in quietly, as not to disturb any wildlife. It must have been an interesting site to see me climb up the skinniest ladder I’ve ever seen, trying to hold a loaded rifle, flashlight, a seat cushion, and binoculars, wearing my 12 year old son’s hunting boots, my 15 year old son’s camouflage overalls (that were too small for him), and my husband’s extra camouflage jacket over my winter coat. Granted, my husband wears XL and I am an XS.

When I reached the top, I was able to balance myself enough to get in the tree stand by myself. I set the rifle down and got comfortable enough to wait for the deer. Meanwhile, my husband was in another stand several yards away. Eventually, I saw a tiny buck. I started getting excited and began to shake. I realized he was too small to consider, so I didn’t shoot. It began to get dark, and I saw something that looked like a small tree branch jutting out from the forest. I looked through the binoculars and realized it was a doe. I had been told to shoot the does, because there were too many in the forest and they needed to get rid of them. So I pulled up the rifle. I was so nervous; I couldn’t hold the gun still. I managed to think I might have a chance. I aimed, closed my eyes, and pulled the trigger. Now, any good hunter knows that you never close your eyes when you shoot. To my surprise, I looked through the binoculars, and the deer was still standing, alive. So I cocked the gun and shot again. I missed! The deer ran off into the woods, and I didn’t see any more after that.

I thought, on the way home, that I had missed my opportunity to shoot a deer and have fun like the boys. Little did I know that on New Year’s Day my husband would ask me to go hunting again. We went to the same place, and I sat in the same stand. This time everything was different.

The first deer came out around 4:45pm, which is very early. I was told they wouldn’t be out until 6:30pm at least. The first deer was small and stayed behind the feeder, so she was hard to see. The second deer came out about 10 minutes later. I kept telling myself that I needed to be calm, so I could actually aim this time with precision. It was a doe. She came out slowly and stood still long enough for me to feel comfortable with my aim. As I was taking in a breath to hold it and shoot, I prayed, “Lord, help me shoot this deer so she doesn’t run off into the woods, and we have to go find her.” I aimed and fired. She dropped straight down. I couldn’t believe it! I was so excited!

Now, Patrick told me earlier that I should wait a while before going to get the deer. One of the reasons was because, other deer might come out and I would have an opportunity to shoot another one. I waited for about 10 more minutes. I began seeing deer after deer come out of the woods. I saw at least 6 more deer. They were all does. The largest doe came out last. She was so big! She was the furthest away, so I didn’t think about shooting her. I just watched the deer graze and thought about my boys hunting. None of them have shot their first deer yet, but they are looking forward to it.

As I waited, I realized it was getting dark, and if I wanted to shoot another one, I should take the shot soon. The largest deer came closest to me. She stood still just long enough for me to aim and shoot. I pulled the trigger. Down she went, straight to the ground. Whew! Now I know why guys like hunting so much. What a rush!

Later, Patrick helped load the deer into the truck. He explained that when you shoot a deer in the spine, it paralyzes them and they drop straight to the ground. That’s why the deer didn’t run off. I had shot both deer in the same place, right in the spine. It wasn’t really where I was aiming, but the bullets kept the deer from running away. I was so thrilled!