If you’re reading this in hope of finding a picture of me standing by a superb animal, you’re going to be quite disappointed. However, if you like a good story and laugh at some rookie mistakes, remember how it felt the first time you came really close to make a successful hunt and all the emotion that comes along, you’ll enjoy this one.
New hunters like me don’t often have the opportunity to learn the rope. We often hear conflicting tales and very little field assistance is offered. This all changed for me when I was given the chance of a lifetime to join a bowhunter that has all the experience and quality of a great mentor. By the time my short 2 day hunt was over, I was calling him the deer whisperer. A bit more on that at the end.
When I first arrived in the field, I was taken to a beautiful spot where my mentor had his tree stand. Now, as a true gentleman that he is, the deer whisperer gives me his spot and makes his first prediction that I’ll see deer from there. Bold statement if you ask. So, when sitting in my stand, I face South. On the East side (my left while sitting) there is a beautiful trail 25yd away, and another one the West side 30 yd away. I’m quite happy. I ranged all the trees that would be useful for markers.
I went up in the afternoon, practice climbing in my stand, took a few shots, then I sat and waited. A couple hours later, I hear a faint “swoosh”. I stood up and began looking around. DEER! Okay, let’s not panic here, she’s in the far away West side at the 70yd mark. Out of range. So I remember the sound advice that not all deer will be available and that it comes with the territory. “Ma’am white tail, what are the chances I’ll get at shot at you?” – “More like . . . one in a million” She leaves out of sight only to reappear at the 50yd mark.
“So you’re telling me, that there is a chance.” I grabbed my bow in hope she make the next 10yd my way and be within my range. She did! 40yd and I was beginning to have a higher than normal pulse. I’m facing the right direction and raise my bow. ROOKIE MISTAKE #1- I dragged my cam across my pants . . . tail up and out of sight. Wait a minute, she was now walking behind my stand and going into the East shooting lane. Now she was about 15yd, but protected by trees and bushed. This wasn’t helping to lower the heart rate. I needed to turn to be ready for her on the other side. ROOKIE MISTAKE #2- I turned and let my harness dragged on whatever it dragged on and she was gone forever.
My mentor predicted I would see a 3-point in the East trail. So, I climbed up there for the third time and waited and waited and waited. “crunch. Crunch”. I stand up, take my gloves off and pick up my bow. Now I am facing my tree looking where the noise comes from. If the animal comes into the West trail, I am ready! East, I’ll have issues. The noise intensifies, and so does my pulse. Minutes go by and then on my right in the East trail, 25 yards way stand a superb 4-point.
Now I have 2 serious problems #1 my heart is pounding so hard that I’m going to end up with a cracked sternum. #2, I am facing the wrong way with a tree and branches ahead of me. Mr 4X4 moves forward and looks away. I raised my bow and clipped my release, but I -ROOKIE MISTAKE #3- hit my metal hanger with the arrow “Ting”. Nothing! Phew! He turns back and moves forward one step and turn and looks straight at me. By then I’m convinced I’ll be busted because I’m sure he can easily see that my chest is moving in and out by at least two inches whenever my heart hammers my ribcage as if it is trying to get out of there. But no, he looks away again. He is about to move out of my 25 yd shooting lane and I really wanted to face the other way.
In my mind, I cannot move from left to right and keep eye contact because my bow and arrow would get entangled in the branches ahead. This would be proven wrong later that day. So I made ROOKIE MISTAKE #4 Or, just a plain stupid mistake. I turned my back to him and pivoted toward him. By the time I was looking at him again he was waving a white flag and saying Adios! I was glad that my pulse would finally have a chance to lower to normal level, and it was a fantastic experience. I’m not even mad, because it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever felt.
To say I’m hooked would be the understatement of the year. This was by far the coolest experience I’ve ever had in the woods, and it ranks about one of the best in my life.