By Heidi Blanchette
-- My 40th birthday will always be my favorite on record. My fianc‚ took me to an area provided by his employer in Stewart County, Ga. It was my first year hunting, and I had already taken my first deer, a 3-point buck, on the opening day of the Georgia muzzleloader season.
We got up around 4 a.m. and made it to the woods by 5:15. We had decided the night before that we would hunt the area where I had harvested my first deer a few months earlier.
We hunted on a ridge that overlooks a hard bottom. The only deer we spotted were does. We sat a mile apart in the climbers till 9 a.m. without so much as a squirrel running by. I was so set on a big birthday buck, I had really thought like it would be there waiting for me.
I decided to change my location about 9:30. I immediately began hearing movement and could see the backs of two deer in the thick dog fennel. After a few breathless minutes, I could tell it was two does, a mature one and a yearling I had seen the previous two weeks.
Then a third deer came up behind the yearling, but its head was blocked by a pine. My heart picked up its pace. I thought the deer could hear my racing heart. Then it stepped forward. All I could see were horns. I don't think I took a breath for at least one minute.
I went over in my mind what I needed to do - check the safety, raise the gun slowly, put the deer in my sights and wait for the right shot. It really seemed to come to easy, and the buck fell right where he stood. I harvested a beautiful 8-point Georgia buck on my 40th birthday.
My fiance‚ has been the force behind getting me into hunting, and I think I am hooked for life. I would love to write another article just like this when I celebrate my 80th birthday.