By Anne M. Hall
-- I began hunting four years ago, but my initiation to bowhunting came just last season. Before I hung up my bow for the year, I’d arrowed a doe and my very first buck.
The morning of Nov. 15 was beautiful. It started off with a foggy mist that burned off with the rising sun. My deer stand offered the perfect ringside seat. I love listening to the birds wake up: blue jays, downy woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches and even wild turkeys, which were roosted in some pines behind me.
At 8:15, I rattled the antlers given to me by a friend and saw movement to my left. It was a deer, a buck, and it was coming my way. When I saw antlers, I started shaking!
The whitetail came to within 40 yards before turning and walking away. I rattled again, and it stopped. It lifted its head and turned back toward me, walking counterclockwise. I, meanwhile, was trembling mightily.
When the buck passed behind two red oaks, I stood. It closed to within 30 yards, and then looked directly at me. The staring contest seemed to last for hours. I couldn’t draw my bow. It would run. All I could do was try to stand still and watch.
When the deer finally turned broadside at 26 yards, I pulled back – mentally reviewing my checklist. Kisser in place? Check. Looking through peep? Check. Sights on deer? Check.
The buck jumped after the shot, and I saw my arrow’s fletching dangling from its side. I couldn’t believe I’d actually hit it!
I watched the deer run until it disappeared about 75 yards distant. I heard some leaves rustling after that.
I sat tight for about 30 minutes, thinking about it and hoping I would find my first buck. When I chanced a look in that direction through my binoculars, I saw it lying behind an oak tree.
What an awesome experience!
--Anne M. Hall
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