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Twenty-three years ago, I married my best friend. We had many common goals and interests which made us very compatible, although we did have our differences which made life interesting. One of the main differences was hunting. I knew that I was marrying the great white hunter; this fact I had accepted and could deal with. I was an extreme animal lover and still am. After a year of marital bliss, that hunter husband of mine began to chip away at my tough anti-hunting outer skin. The first step in his strategy was to get me involved in archery.
I had shot a bow before in high school and had enjoyed it very much. I embraced the idea of getting a second-hand bow and doing some target shooting. I assured my husband that this was all it would ever be, target practice. The second step in his plan was to prepare tasty venison meals for me to eat. YUMMY! I loved that venison. When I would express to him my total enjoyment of this savory venison, he would remind me how healthy and lean that venison was and how he was the one that had harvested that animal. There were no peservatives, no hormones, no steroids, just pure unadulerated meat. He would also add the fact that one could not just run down to the local grocery store and buy such delectable meat.
My husband also began to stick articles under my nose concerning deer population controls. I did read these articles because I was as interested in defending my postion as he was in changing my mind. My archery skills began to improve dramatically. I was Robin Hooding arrows and constantly hitting the bull's eye. My tastebuds were dwelling in heavenly places with that venison. That next fall, I agreed to go deer hunting with him, but just to sit in the tree and shoot the deer with my camera.
My husband had hung two tree stands facing each other in the "V" of a giant Hemlock tree. This was my very first experience watching the beautiful whitetail deer. It was simply amazing to me how close the deer came to us. The deer would walk right under our tree without any clue that we were just above their heads. This was awesome. The next night I told my husband that I would go alone to that same tree stand and he could hunt one of his other favorite spots. Of course he agreed to this.
The next day, after my husband left for his hunt, I decided to just take my bow with me. My plan was just to see if I could draw on a deer without alarming the deer. I didn't think I could because I did not even have the right clothing. After all, I wasn't going to do any hunting anyway. My nylon ski jacket would keep me warm enough. This jacket would serve my purposes just fine.
To my surprise, a big deer came in all by herself about 30 minutes after I got settled in my stand. I slowly raised my bow and notched an arrow. I looked. She was still there. I raised my bow slowly up over my head to draw. I drew back and slowly lowered the bow. To my surprise, the doe was still there grazing unaware just under my tree. I put the sight pin on her vitals. She was still there. Now, the moment of truth. All of the discussions with my husband, all of the articles about how hunting helps control deer populations which makes for a healthier deer herd, and last, the taste of that tender backstrap came flooding back in my mind. I made a decision. I let the arrow fly.
That arrow found its mark. A perfect shot. Just like at target practice. The deer jumped and ran down the trial about 40 yards and laid down. I watched and waited. I had never experienced anything like this before. My heart was pounding right out of my chest. I got the shakes like never before. I think the whole tree was moving. I had never felt like this before in my whole life. I waited for 45 minutes and then began to climb down out of the tree. Bow with a notched arrow in hand, I slowly walked up the trail toward the deer. I stopped after every step to watch for any movement. There was none.
When I reached the doe and looked into her lifeless eyes, I couldn't take it any longer. I cried! I sobbed!! I could not believe that I had killed such a beautiful creature. This was the very first time that I had ever killed anything bigger than a mosquito. It was now about 4:30 in the afternoon. I must have sat there next to that deer crying for 20 minutes. Finally, I gathered myself and jumped on my ATV and sped back to camp. By the time my husband got back from his hunt, I had regrouped and was excited to tell him the news. He was right. Now I was hooked for life on deer hunting. Twenty-two years later, I have harvested 52 deer. I only cried after the first four. Now I cry tears of joy after recovering several trophy bucks! To see some of these trophy bucks, click here.
I want to thank my husband for all of his patience and understanding. Each hunt, each deer will forever be a part of me.