By Penny Clayton
-- I’m Penny Clayton and I live in Arlington, Wash. I'm a disabled Gulf War (Desert Storm) veteran, and want to thank Buckmasters for the special hunts you do for the disabled and veterans. I cannot watch a show without crying. I love watching men and women get out there and have fun. Feeling normal is a huge part of the healing process. For myself, I was lucky to get a doe tag in the Twisp, Wash., GMU 224 area, but I was very nervous about hunting because I had never been there before.
My husband and I scouted the area and noticed deer were everywhere, especially in fields posted NO HUNTING. Isn't that the way it always is?
We found a great location farther out just like Buckmasters describes in magazines and on TV. There was a creek running through it. Great big trees bordered the field. A game trail led from the tree line to the road and then on up the hill where deer could lie in the sun and not be seen. I knew there would be deer in that field; I had a really good feeling about that. I told my husband Patrick, "I want to hunt there in the morning!"
Around 5:30 a.m. we headed out. There were hunters set-up everywhere, even on that field, so we drove down the road until we were right near the game trial. We both got out and went in opposite directions. I headed for the tip of the game trial, near a large tree.
The bank on the side of the road was very steep, so to get down the hill, I had to sit and scoot while trying not to make too much noise. There was a flat rock behind some of the sage brush which made perfect cover, and I could see straight down the trail.
Official hunting time wasn't until 6:45 a.m. and it seemed like I had sat on that rock forever before the sun rose and it became legal hunting time. I decided to try some calling, so I started to do soft fawn bleats. Next thing I knew, a huge doe walked straight toward me. I was so excited I about choked on my deer call. I kept calling. She would trot then look and look. She got distracted a couple of times by a truck on the road and by the noise other hunters were making at the end of the field. I called a little harder, and she got really interested when I changed it to a mature buck call.
When she was within distance, she gave me was a front view but I wasn't comfortable with that shot. I didn't want to wound her and have her run away, so I called again, but she was trying to get to the hill behind me. She walked the fenceline toward Patrick, about 100 yards away. I got out of my hiding spot and started walking real slow on the road to intercept her. She didn't even know Patrick was sitting on her game trial.
She came within 20 feet of him before she stopped and went up the side of the road. Patrick and I were both on the road, facing each other, when the big doe finally made it up to the road. I couldn't shoot because he was right behind her, and he couldn't shoot because I was on the other side of the doe.
The doe stopped in the middle of the road. She looked at Patrick and then she looked at me, stood there for a few long seconds, then up the hill she went. I thought I had lost her! My heart stopped and I hobbled-ran to where the doe was headed toward the side hill. I made another fawn bleat. When the doe stopped broadside, I aimed and fired. At first I thought I had missed. The doe stood there, then hopped, took two steps and then crumpled. It was a perfect heart shot.
The game warden was there before Patrick could take the doe off the hill. We were so excited to get this big mule deer doe on opening day within 30 minutes of opening season. For a few minutes, we were unable to answer any of the officer’s questions. The officer helped me with my tag and then looked at my special deer permit. The officer was really happy for us and said the doe was about 20 percent larger than normal. I was so pleased and excited!
All the wonderful Buckmasters shows, the magazine, Tips of the week, and all the special hunts and prizes you give away make me proud to say that I am Buckmasters-trained. I am so pleased and happy to have deer in the freezer, and it is because of all your help. I wanted to say thanks and God bless all the hunters, film crew and others who make it happen. It really paid off for me.
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