November 25, 2009

Darkness Falls


We spent lunch laughing at my less than successful morning hunt.  I have come to realize that everyone has a “doh” moment.  The NHBs each had a blooper tale.  Despite that, it was beginning to look like time was the only thing I was successful at killing. 

After lunch, Trotter, Henri and Larry sat in the corner pouring over a map.  They were preparing for the evening hunt.  I can’t say enough wonderful things about these guys.  If we came home empty handed it would not be because they hadn’t worked their tails off trying to put us where the deer were.

That afternoon,  we left the lodge headed to the woods.  Once again, Henri had informed me I’d need my harness.  I decided that if nothing else I was at least facing my fear of heights.   I’d spent more time off the ground in the last few days than I had in the last 20 years combined!

Henri dropped everyone off, giving tips and thoughts to  each one as he did.  We stopped at the edge of a green field and he said “this is you”.  He told me that the deer would probably be coming from behind me, “so be careful when you are peeping.”  We laughed and I shut the door.

I made my way across the field.  I tied my bow to the tow rope attached to the stand, tied my backpack to my own rope, adjusted my harness and up I went.

I was determined to NOT scare anything off.  I was going to be a woodland NINJA! It was ON! I’m sure I was anything but. 

I banged my bow pulling it up.  I sneezed about 3 times.  I almost dropped my backpack trying to get it situated.  I am very glad that there isn’t video of me anywhere.  I’m quite certain it’d be fodder for jokes for a loooooong time.

I’d been sitting for about 45 minutes when I noticed movement to the left of me.  In the corner of the green field, three does appeared at the tree line.  They began grazing and heading towards the left edge of the field.  It was looking like I might get another chance.  I watched for what seemed like hours.  I remembered to actually range the does.  The largest of the two stayed at the edge of the field but the two smaller girls were coming into range.  I stood up, quietly positioning myself and readying for the shot.  I got into shooting position and waited.

The middle sized doe was facing away from me and when she turned broadside I was ready.  I pulled, aimed.  Finger to the release. Whoosh.  Does ran everywhere.

The minute I’d touched the release I knew what I’d done.  I could only watch helplessly as my arrow completely missed the mark.  I’d used the wrong pin on my sights. 

I could only laugh as she stopped at the far edge of the field and looked back as if to say “what in the world was that?”

Lesson #1- it doesn’t do any good to range the critters if you aren’t going to use correct pin on your sites.

I laughed and texted Billie.  “Just missed a doe….apparently it DOES matter which pin you use.”  She “Lol’d” me and I settled in for the evening. 

I’d been sitting for about 30 minutes when I heard rustling behind me.  Out of nowhere to my right a BEAUTIFUL buck appeared. I suppressed the squeal that almost erupted out of me.  I couldn’t have told you how many points he had.  I couldn’t have told you how big he actually was.  At that moment he was HUGE.  MONSTER. Aside from my daughter, he was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.

I stood up.  Was I actually going to do this?  Was this actually happening?  I drew and waited.  He grazed oblivious to my presence.  He quartered my way and I shot.

THWACK!  He shot off like a bullet.  I remembered that Billie had told me that in then event I shot and hit something to watch where it went.

At this point I’d LOVE to lie and say I was calm, cool and composed.  I wasn’t.

“I SHOT A DEER”.  Yep, I yelled it.  Very woodland ninja of me to do so.  I thunked back down on the seat of the stand.  My mind was racing.  My heart was hammering in my chest.  I had actually done it.  I immediately called Mike.  Then Henri.  He advised me to stay in the stand so that I didn’t spook the deer.  I neglected to mention that I’d probably already messed that up.

I sat in the stand amazed.  I found my arrow and it looked like there was blood on it.   I am extremely nervous about gut shooting an animal.  The thought of it horrifies me, I was starting to question whether my aim had been true.

I texted Billie “I shot a buck.”


“Yeah….I’m worried I gut shot him”

“It’ll be fine…we’ll find him”

“It went THWACK…is that good”

She has since told me that she almost threw the phone at this point.

“Yeah. TWHACK is good”

I called my dad, my mom and my father-in-law whispering the news to them. I spent the rest of the evening texting everyone I knew! ]

One of the highlights was that I saw another bigger buck about 30 minutes after the one I’d shot came out.  He was beautiful too!

Larry, Henri and Michelle showed up a little after dark.  I was a wee bit scared by the time they arrived.  I’d almost talked myself into climbing back up into the stand. 

Larry and Henri came crashing through the woods dragging my buck.  MY buck.  It was a surreal moment.  Until they pulled him to me it wasn’t real.  I’d convinced myself that I hadn’t actually gotten a good shot.

Prior to hunting I’d thought about this moment.  What would I do if a miracle occurred and I actually killed something?  How was I going to feel?  Would I be elated? Or would I be upset by it?

I was humbled by the experience.  It was overwhelming.  The reality of taking another living creatures life was a heavy thing.  But mixed with that was the realization that I had crossed over into another realm.  When he was dressed and prepared, my family would be nourished by meat that I had harvested.  There is a definite sense of pride in knowing that. 

We made our way back to the lodge.  There was a contingent of well wishers waiting my arrival.  Pictures were taken.   Everyone congratulated me.  We sat around the fire and  I told the tale.  It was a singularly amazing day.

Henri and Trotter put him in the cooler because Tes wanted to take pictures the next morning.


This is Billie and I the next morning.  We call this the “OMG KIM KILLED A DEER” shot. 


It was a good day.


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