November 11, 2009
Journey to the bow...
The pathway to my "new" interest in bow hunting actually began about 4 years ago. I blame my friends Rhonda and Billie.
In the spring of 2005 I attended my second BOW (Becoming an Outdoors Woman)weekend. The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries puts these weekends on each spring and Rhonda had invited me to attend that spring's festivities with her again. Since I'd had such a fantastic time the first go round, I overnighted my registration to secure the classes I was hoping to get into. One of these was archery.
I'm an only child. My Dad tried to get me interested in hunting. He bought me 410 shotgun when I was around 7. At 8 or so he bought me a beautiful 22 caliber rifle. But I just didn't like hunting. You had to be WAY too quiet and you had to get up way too early. And besides, bunnies and squirrels were cute and I didn't want to EAT them. He took me turkey hunting and duck hunting. I actually did shoot at a duck once, but didn't hit it. When I was around 10 or so my Dad decided to undertake bow hunting. In the spirit of the moment he also purchased me a small Browning bow to play with in the back yard. I lost interest fairly quickly.
At age 12 in what I imagine was a last ditch effort to get me interested in hunting for Christmas he got me one of the only two things I'd asked for. A 12 gauge shotgun. Pump action per my request. IT WAS BEAUTIFUL! I also got the Cabbage Patch doll I wanted so desperately. It was a good Christmas. Alas, all of Daddy's efforts proved to be fruitless. While I loved shooting, hunting held no appeal.
Fast forward to 2005. The term "helicopter mom" would definitely be an appropriate moniker for yours truly. For 15 years, my schedule had revolved around dance class, dance practice, homework, Beta Club, 4H projects, football games...basically whatever Claire was interested in at any given moment I was there to provide transportation to and from or a hot glue gun or snacks. Need a PTA vice president? I was your girl. Need a volunteer for your booth? Sign me up. I was THAT mom.
It was with a beginning realization that my daughter would be leaving to go to college in 3 short years nipping at my brain that I packed my bags and headed to Camp Grant Walker for a BOW weekend. I had no idea that a seed would be planted that weekend.
We walked over to the archery field and got our equipment. A left handed bow for me please. We shot without sights. I drew back, settled myself,carefully aligned my shot, held my breath and released the string. Thunk. Hitting the target was one of the most amazing things I'd ever done. The instructors offered to take us to the 3D course if we'd like to go. I wanted to yell HELL YES!
After the class the instructors were talking about how women were becoming interested in bow hunting. I left the class intrigued but with no real plan to pursue bow hunting. I had dance line uniforms to add rhinestones to I didn't have time to HUNT!
The path to bow hunting to another turn when I ran through two does and a HUGE buck on my way through Vidalia one morning during Claire's senior year of high school. It was to be one of the most horrifying experiences of my life.
Mike, Claire, Claire's boyfriend and I were on our way to Baton Rouge when the deer appeared seemingly out of nowhere. There was no way to avoid them. I hit all three. I managed to avoid directly hitting the buck. He slid across the hood of my car and was uninjured. The impact broke one of the doe's leg. The sight of her running away injured will always haunt me. The other doe was seizing in the median and died. We were very fortunate. We were uninjured but shaken up. I've never left home at night without my Mom telling me to watch for deer, but this was 9am. Mike doesn't remember it, but he turned to me and said "This is one of the reason's I hunt...without hunting the population would explode, it'd be just like Pud and Diane's"
My Uncle Pud and Aunt Diane lived in upstate New York. When we had went to visit, we were initially amazed by all the deer in their neighborhood. We woke one morning to two does nibbling outside the dining room window. However, we quickly realized that the joy of this sight was a double edged sword. The roads were practically littered with deer carcasses. It was horrible.
It's now 2009. Claire is a college sophomore. I've been working full time for almost 2 years. I'd read books, become obsessed with Sookie Stackhouse, remodeled the house. I still wasn't sure what to do with myself.
I was at work the first week of September when a co-worker and good friend, Billie mentioned that the group of women that she hunts with had a spot available on a bow hunt in Alabama. She was lamenting the fact that she didn't know anyone that would be interested in going. I asked how much the hunt would be and said I might would like to go. Billie was very polite and said to let her know for sure in the next week or so.
"Do you have a bow?" she asked.
I answered honestly, "No, but we can buy me one"
She just looked at me and said "Ooooookaaay".
I bothered her about it over the next week. She kept saying that she'd check with Tes and see if the spot was still available. I'm pretty sure she thought I was crazy. She finally said "ok, if you want the spot it's yours." I came home that night and told Mike that I was going on a bow hunt with Billie. I know he thought I was crazy.
On 09/28/09 I wrote a check to The Shed Hunting Lodge for half the amount and mailed it to Tes. On 10/12/09 I wrote a check to Blade and Barrel and bought my bow. On 11/01/09 I killed my first deer, a beautiful 5 point buck. I'm pretty much hooked now.
I'm planning on blogging about the journey. I've already figured out that there is a bit of a learning curve. A pretty steep one.
Is there a designer backpack that comes in camo? I'm a girlie girl with a bow. There will be glitter involved. :)