Man, hunting season, those words alone make me happy just thinking them. It's that time of year that we get to leave all of our worries at the tree line. We get to ditch the bills, the boss and sometimes, the heart ache. Something about waiting for that monster buck to present himself, is therapy. Maybe it's just the outdoors but either way, I wouldn't be who I am today, without these hunting memories.
October 15th, 2017
My alarm went off at 3:45am, I told myself that would be the only time I could justify getting up that early. My father in-law (Craig) and I both geared up and hit the road. He had a couple of spots for each of us to sit. Now Craig is a big time hunter. His spots are always the best around and in close proximity to the food plots that he tends year round. I was determined this year to get a deer. Last deer I shot, I was 16 and it was youth day. Fast forward 13 years and many, many days of hunting to only walk out of the woods empty handed. This year was different though and hunting therapy was everything I needed. My older brother passed away unexpectedly the year prior and my heart was aching. The first hunting season without him. It was tough but I grabbed his bow and knew this was the year, bow hunting in his memory, with his bow. I finally got to the tree stand where I assumed I'd be sitting for hours. I'd probably get cold and make some sort of excuse as to why I'd be leaving the woods early. I have to poop, yeah that's it, can't hold it anymore. Anyway, I had been sitting there most of the morning, luckily I had cell service. I could at least kill some time if I wasn't able to kill deer. It was roughly 10am and I heard something walk up behind me. I did all I could to look without making noise, It was a doe. She kept walking closer and closer, but no shot. She walked all the way up to the bottom of my stand, but from the backside. I decided I was going to draw back, stand up and release as quick as possible and pray for a decent shot. I got as far as beginning to draw and she was gone! DARNIT! Bummed was an understatement. I decided to sit it out another hour before breaking for lunch. Glad I did. It wasn't but 15 minutes later and I could see a doe from across the field in front of me. Probably 100 yards or so. It felt like eternity for her to make her way to me. Most likely it wasn't more than 5 minutes. She continued to walk closer, I began to shake. They call that buck fever, but someone who hasn't had the opportunity at a deer in years, I call it "I don't want to ask my friends for their meat this year, fever". I hunt fancy, so of course I had a range finder (LOL). My range finder read 30 yards and I knew it was time to take a shot. She came straight towards me and then turned to the side, feeding (YES!). I drew back and released, KILL SHOT. She didn't even run and fell right in her tracks. It was my year and I finally had a story to tell! I knew it wasn't just luck though. My brother always felt sorry for me every year I came home with no kill. This year he wanted to make sure that changed.
My life will never be the same without him. I will forever remember this hunt for the rest of my life. I felt him with me the entire morning, right up until I laid her down. Although I couldn't quite see him, I could feel his smile, ear to ear. He was with me and my hunt wasn't so lonely that morning.
*This blog was long so I'll come back in a week or so and write about my real BUCK fever experience I had about a month later, during rifle season.
Best of luck to all of you, be safe!