By Adam Wies
-- When I decided to try hunting deer for the first time, I was on my own. Nobody in my family, nor any friends hunt. So I surfed the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency's website and found a wildlife management area about 20 minutes from my house. I enjoyed walking in those woods and looking for trails.
I finally put up a stand in what I thought would be a prime spot. The next day, I sat in it for only an hour and saw seven does and an 8-point buck. I was super excited and couldn't wait for bow season.
I am a college student pretty short on cash. I went to a pawn shop and purchased a used bow for $40 the day before the season opened. I also purchased two arrows from the local discount store.
I had never shot a bow in my life, but I figured it couldn't be that difficult.
I tweaked the pin sights a bit until i was shooting fairly consistently, and then I took my first deer ever -- a 5-pointer -- on Halloween 2008. It was a 20-yard shot. I was so thrilled, I showed the photographs to everyone I knew.
But I wasn't finished for the year.
On Nov. 22, I told my boss that it was the first day of gun season and asked if I could take off a little early, but it didn't work out as I'd hoped. We ended up having a long day; I got off of work with less than an hour of daylight remaining. Still, with nothing else to do, I went to my stand.
I was situated about 30 minutes before nightfall, armed with my 12 gauge. Barely 15 minutes later, a huge buck came into view at about 120 yards. I couldn't quite tell how big, but I knew the deer was huge.
I wasn't confident enough with my shotgun to take that shot, however. I didn't want to wound the buck and then have to look for it in the dark or, even worse, have to return the next day.
I hoped it would come closer, but it was slowly walking away from me. Watching it fade from sight, I felt terrible. I knew I probably wouldn't see another buck like that for a long time.
But then, all of the sudden, I heard leaves rustling and saw it coming back.
I slowly picked up my shotgun and waited for it to get a little closer. When the buck was at 50 yards, I pulled the trigger. The deer fell immediately.
I'd figured it was probably an 8-pointer. But when I got up to it, I couldn't believe the rack sported 13 points! The beams curved all the way around and crossed in the middle, too!
Almost immediately, I called my taxidermist to tell him I was on my way.
I have fallen in love with whitetail hunting. I'll be hunting every winter until the day I die. I've even persuaded a few of my friends to try it!