Couple gives new meaning to ‘blind’ date
By Lyndsey Wesner
My husband Rick and I recently acquired a new property to hunt in Berrien County, Michigan, so we started preparations by doing our homework.
Rick spent countless hours walking the terrain and becoming familiar with the area. He set up trail cams where there appeared to be lots of deer traffic.
Once the travel patterns were established, we scouted the best spots for treestands and ground blinds.
One cool Saturday, we even went on a “blind” date where we set up our ground blind and cleared branches from shooting lanes.
We’d been getting great trail cam pictures of a couple of different 8-pointers, a 6-pointer and a doe with twin button bucks. This scouting thing was really exciting!
But our main target that showed up on camera was a wide, massive monster 10-pointer with a little kicker.
I’m like most hunters. We all desire that lifetime buck, like the ones Rick and I enjoy watching on hunting shows with our two daughters. But taking a deer like that only happens on TV, right?
Hunting season finally arrived. I purchased my combo license and headed to the woods with my husband. We each have our own treestands, but hunt close together in neighboring trees.
Mine faces northeast and Rick’s faces southwest so our view of the woods is a full 360 degrees.
We’d hoped the video camera we ordered would arrive in time to film this first hunt, but we were disappointed it hadn’t been delivered yet.
In the first hour a doe came in, and Rick let me know when it was safe to stand up and turn around. I decided I wanted to try for a shot.
As it approached, I drew my bow on the left side of the tree and waited for the doe to get within range. But she stopped, lifted her head and sniffed the air. Then she turned and grazed, eating this and that on her merry way.
I love this part of bowhunting! It’s such a privilege to witness animals so close up in their natural habitat. That doe didn’t have a care in the world.
Thirty minutes later, Rick suddenly whispered. “A buck is coming in!”
I peered into the brush behind my stand and saw the silhouette as the deer approached.
It was safe to slowly stand and face my tree, so I gambled the buck would follow the same path as the doe on my left.
It was so close, I could hear it snorting as I prepared for a shot.
I drew my bow, but at the last second, the buck leapt to the right side and directly underneath my tree.
I had to let my bowstring down and turn to the right side of the tree, fix my stance and draw again.
The buck stopped nearby and I took my shot as soon my sight settled.
It winced, turned the same direction it had come from and ran away. We last saw its tail in the brush 50 yards away.
The entire process took place in the blink of an eye, so fast that neither of us took time to count tines!
Rick thought it was one of the wide 8-pointers we’d seen on camera. He’d meant to record it on his iPhone, but, again, it happened so fast Rick never hit the record button.
We both stood there in our treestands, replaying the event over and over in our minds. I could close my eyes and see my shot, but never having shot straight down on an animal before, I was nervous about this type of shot placement.
We gave it an hour before climbing down to look for blood on the known path.
Rick and I went about 20 yards and decided it best to back out. The buck might need time to lie down and expire, and the last thing we wanted to do was push it.
We went home, changed clothes and waited for what felt like forever! After contacting our friend Donny who had a 4-wheeler, the three of us went back out to track.
My arrow was found 30 feet from the stand, and we kept looking, but there really wasn’t much blood, so we continued to a clearing.
Rick led the way, and Donny and I followed, checking other avenues just in case the buck had changed course.
As Rick looked to his left, he suddenly stopped and said excitedly, “There he is, and you’ll never believe it … it’s the BIG one!”
In my wildest dreams, I never imagined it would turn out to be the biggest buck we’d captured on trail camera. I thought this was only supposed to happen on TV!
This hunt is etched in my brain, and I dread the day I close my eyes and it’ll be but a faint memory. At that moment, I was completely beaming, and at the same time, humbled God smiled upon us that day.
Not only did I get an amazing animal, I also shared the entire experience with my amazing husband.
Oh, and when we got home, the video camera we’d ordered was sitting on our front stoop!