After six years of carrying an archery tag in my pocket with hopes of adding my John Hancock, I finally know what it feels like. My Kansas whitetail tag was punched last Saturday!
I often wondered which big game animal would have the honor of being my first archery kill, and I'm tickled that it was a beautiful whitetail buck. Although it is a bit funny to me because I am the least familiar with this type of hunt. Let me just say that I am completely hooked and am looking forward to arrowing my next bushy tailed deer!
Here is how my hunt unfolded...
Our tree stand was already prepped and ready to go thanks to our friend letting us hunt his property (Thanks Evan and fam!). Therefore, all we had to do was make our way to the stand bright and early, haul our gear up and wait for deer movement. Sounds easy. However, making your way up the tree when you aren't used to it, is no cake walk. All way up the ladder, I found myself thinking things like...
"be a monkey"
"crap! don't look down"
"hand, step, hand,"
"Think like you're twelve," etc.
And then as I reached the platform, I froze a little. I'm not scared of heights but for some reason, it was difficult at first to get situated. You have to hang your bow, backpack and then sit down. My husband being a fireman had no problem climbing on up, and getting our little tree home set up... so I let him! Honestly, once I had my harness fastened on that tree I was good to go. I was ready for whatever the morning had in store for us.
Perched up in a tree, we watched the world awaken around us. As the sun crested the horizon, the field began to glow in hues of orange and yellow. All was quiet except for the crunch of a woodland traveler approaching nearby our stand. Coming down from the Milo field above, a buck was making his way towards us. I looked up at Troy as he quietly removed his bow from the tree hook. Only thirty minutes from the time we arrived and we had a nice buck in shooting range. We whispered back and forth about whether or not to take him, and during our indecisiveness, this buck moseyed around a big oak towards my side of the tree. I eyeballed Troy with the question of "can I really shoot one already?"
I reached for my bow, as the buck was staring right at me. He didn't seem to even care. I heard Troy say, "I think you should take him." So as my buck turned his head and presented a beautiful broadside shot, I drew back and settled my top pin right behind his shoulder.
In an instant I saw my arrow sink into the selected spot. I knew it was good. I was confident of my shot. Troy watched through the lens of his binoculars as I waited like a giddy schoolgirl for the report of deer down. He saw blood - lots of it - from the impact of my arrow. We would have a good blood trail. Phew! And as he reported that my buck had laid down, it took all of my self-control to not scream and jump from my tree stand perch. I wanted to get down and tag my buck! But since he had gotten up once after laying down (these deer are incredibly tough animals), we wanted to give him a little time. Plus we were only 30 minutes into our first morning hunt and there was still movement around us, so we opted to wait a bit more in the stand to see if Troy would have a chance to release an arrow. Talk about torture for me! (I think Troy was having fun with it too.)
Finally, after capturing a few small whitetail bucks and Muleys on video, it was time to track my buck. It didn't take long and we found him peacefully laying on the edge of the field. I am truly blessed to have my first buck and best of all.... meat in my freezer.
I'm simply thankful.