By Tara Giali
-- About five years ago, my husband’s friend and deer hunting companion bailed on him Thanksgiving Day. Being a worry wart, I didn’t want Scott to go out alone. I thought it would be nice to sit quietly in the woods and go for a little nature walk so he wouldn’t be by himself.
Well, that little nature walk turned into a full day of walking and looking for deer until I couldn’t pick up my feet to get over even the smallest of logs. I was so tired, I couldn’t understand why anyone in their right mind would want to go hunting — especially since we didn’t see a single whitetail.
Well the next year came, and Scott said it was a tradition: I had to go with him on Thanksgiving Day. I told him I’d go, but this time I would be carrying a gun and shoot a deer. Thus began my love of hunting with my husband!
Being the great sport he is, Scott handed me his favorite rifle and some of his hunting clothes. Off into the woods we went. I’d taken my hunter’s education course and had shot a gun before, but never at an animal larger than a woodchuck.
My first deer was one that someone had wounded but never found. We were following the deer trail when it jumped up, ran by me and crossed a bank, I shot, and the doe fell in its tracks. My husband was as excited as I was!
Then he bought me all the clothes I needed so I didn’t have to share his. Next came my own gun.
Every year, Scott takes off before opening day to set up our stands and get our gear ready. He always gives me the first shot and lets me know when he sees something coming. He also puts our tree stands near each other so he can be there for me any way he can!
When I shot my first buck, a spike, Scott was as proud of it as I was! Most people get excited over monster bucks, but your first buck should be special no matter how large the rack is.
We hunt in New York and Pennsylvania. On opening day of the Pennsylvania season, I shot a 5-pointer, and my husband got an 8 point with a half a rack. What a day! I shot my first coyote two days later. My husband wanted to get it mounted for me.
Although I tried hard, I just couldn’t shoot a big buck. Scott kept telling me it would happen because I was doing everything right.
That day came on Dec. 6. We on a drive, and a deer a big rack walked in front of me. I was so excited, I was shaking. My heart was pounding out of my chest, but I took some deep breaths and waited – and then made a perfect shot.
The buck had an incredible rack. The drive was over, and Scott came to see what I had gotten. We both just stood staring at this amazing 8-point.
I know a lot of deer camps are about the guys hunting together: father and sons, brothers, buddies. But my husband has included me and has taught me everything I know about hunting. Words could never explain how thankful I am to him for all the years he has spent sharing his love of hunting with me.