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Maiden Hunt a Real Trip!

Heidi Bambach

First Buck Leaves Michigan Huntress Black and Blue

By Heidi Bambach

Since it was the first time I'd ever set out on a hunting trip all alone, I was scared as well as excitedly nervous on that cold November day. But I also felt incredibly adventurous, walking in the dark to my blind which was an old poly tank with the windows hacked out and a jerry-rigged door.

As dawn broke over Michigan, shapes emerged from darkness and the field came to life. I felt a sense of bravado you don't get from any sport other than hunting. I was a predator, a huntress, a woman with a quest.

As the minutes became hours and the sun topped the trees, I heard a crashing in the cedar trees to my right. I turned quickly to catch a flash of brown in the thick brush. I also thought I caught a glimpse of glorious white antlers. Could it be I would be lucky enough to tag a buck on the first hunt I'd ever set out on alone?

I quickly placed Deer Slayer, my 20-gauge Remington 870, up on the window sill, aimed at an opening in the cedars where I knew the deer would have to pass through, and waited. I don't think I was even breathing as I saw the deer trotting toward the opening.

As if by magic, the buck appeared between the trees and I finally had a clear view of the animal I'd grown so passionate about.

I could hear my husband Ron's advice in my head, as if he'd been in the blind with me. Take a deep breath in, let it halfway out and squeeze the trigger. And don't hesitate too long!

The buck was standing broadside at about 80 yards. I found its shoulder in the scope, steadied my aim and pulled the trigger. The slug buckled the shoulder of the beautiful animal and it spun halfway around, and dropped like a stone. I couldn't believe it!

It was a surreal moment. Everything happened so fast!

To be sure my buck wasn't going to get up and run away, I racked another shell into the chamber, put the safety on and waited. No movement.

Then I called Ron on the phone.

He had a hard time understanding me at first, because I was crying with joy.

I stayed in the blind, and when Ron arrived I pointed to where the buck had gone down.

My husband had look of doubt on his face and told me he didn't see the buck and wasn't sure if it had gotten up and left the place I thought it was.

We approached cautiously and Ron had his shotgun at the ready in case we jumped my deer.

All of a sudden, he yelled, "Holy crap! You got yourself a flippin' 8-pointer!"

I laughed and cried simultaneously. "I told you it was there! I told you!"

I felt as if I could explode with sheer joy. I was a real hunter now, and I'd taken my first buck. I called everyone I knew, and after we field dressed my deer, we took my buck on a quick tour to show family and friends.

When we arrived at my work place, I was so amped up I tripped over my own bootlace but never stopped running. I practically opened the front door of the store with my face.

I didn't realize my lip and nose were bleeding until I saw the look of horror on my co-workers faces.

At the moment, I didn't feel a thing, but boy, did I ever have a headache and bruises later that night!

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