I am still SO EXCITED about this harvest!
On the morning of November 19th, 2022 I wasn’t really feeling getting out of my warm bed to take on the cold and come home empty handed. I’ve been hunting my whole 25 years of life to have never had an opportunity such as this one. My dad always said “You can’t expect a victory, if you don’t go out and work for it honey”. So, I reminded myself of that, thanked the good lord for another day, and out the door my fiancé and I went.
We arrived at our land about 5:30AM and headed to the stand. It was bone cold, maybe not to my fiancé but I hate the cold! I climbed in my lock on, on the edge of the pasture. My fiancé used his climber and climbed beside me, he was only about 15 yards away. He wanted to film me. We had a few small bucks coming in the morning to our corn pile. Not any wall hangers, but all bigger than anything I’ve personally ever harvested.
It breaks day light, I’m slowly looking around for movement. I take a moment to speak to my grandfather every hunt just as my brother and cousins do. I know he hears me in heaven, he was a big outdoorsmen. Usually I would ask him, “Alright Pawpaw, it’s my turn. The boys have gotten their big deer. Send me a big one! I love you” But, this day was different. Instead, I thanked him for listening to me every hunt, but I needed to learn to be patient. My time would come. (That it did).
It’s 6:40AM here I am looking over my left shoulder, I hear the tweedy birds fly off the corn pile. I slow turn to look, and then I hear walking leading out from an old creek bottom right into the pasture. Out comes this doe heading straight for the corn and behind her all I see is a big bodied deer. The deer stood right where a limb was where I couldn’t see its head. Slowly, this massive 10 point buck emerges from behind the limb. I AM SHAKING IN MY BOOTS. “Don’t look at the rack, Don’t look at the rack” is all I could tell myself.
I slowly pull up my 270, wondering if my fiancé is videoing. (NEWSFLASH, He wasn’t) I was so nervous, my fiancé is too star struck to grab the camera and didn’t want to risk scaring him away. The buck fever was getting bad! Too nervous to realize we left the scope zoomed ALL the way in from sighting it in the previous day. It seemed like forever before I could get on him, but I did. 20 yards away, he stopped broadside. I placed the cross hairs behind his shoulder and pulled. I missed.
He took off running down the lane cut into the pasture. Here I am struggling to get another bullet in the chamber. My fiancé was shocked, and kind of upset. I haven’t missed a deer since I was a kid. He hits the grunt call, which doesn’t stop him. As a last minute effort he hits a snort wheeze. He stops at 100+ yards, turns broadside and I send another one flying. He mule kicks and into the hardwoods he goes.
I managed to connect my shot through this tiny opening between the twigs and limbs. One things for sure, if that scope wasn’t zoomed in…. I may have never succeeded my shot. We hurry down to look for the track, where we thought he was standing there was no sign. I feel defeated, drained, disappointment in myself. I hit the ground and pray for a sign, I just knew I had to have connected. My fiancé calls me over to him and points at the ground and tells me, “YOU DID IT.”
The emotion flew out of me like a raging river. I cried my eyes out, and called my daddy to tell him! He was so happy for me as he had known I’ve waited my whole life for an opportunity such as this one. We wait about an hour or so before we start tracking. We then tracked about 3 hours to not find him. We backed out and called Jamie Holler and Spud to help us locate.
They were available at 10PM that night. After a long day of sitting on pins and needles, they arrive at the track. Spud is an excellent/outstanding animal. He tracked my trophy buck down in about 45 minutes. When we arrived to the location of Spud, I was too stunned to speak. I was amazed, shocked, and shaking all over again. My fiancé was beyond proud of me. That’s one thing I will never forget, is the look on his face when he seen it too.
We had this buck in the middle of the night on camera, no day time pictures. It took that one morning and only about an hour in the stand. I am beyond blessed to get to experience this. As a 25-year-old woman who has hunted my whole life, I couldn’t be more thankful that it all came up to this.
I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2019. During the days I felt good, my daddy would take me hunting with him. I always thought to myself, I just wanted an opportunity for a story like this one before it was too late. My story was far from over. I have been in remission for 2 ½ years. This is the reason we stand so strong on the words… “You can’t expect a victory, if you don’t go out and work for it”.
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