By Jeff Charles
-- My good friend Mark always gave me the meat from one or two does he harvested each year. Then, last season Mark talked me into trying to bag my own deer with the promise that if I didn't get one he would still supply me with my usual order of two does. I quickly agreed to give deer hunting a try. We would occasionally talk about hunting, but my planned trip really did not sink in until we were two weeks away from going afield.
Opening day arrived and I was ready. I was at Mark's house two hours before daylight, and we drank coffee and talked about the hunt. He let me know that deer hunting is fairly simple - sit in the stand, be quiet and do not move were his instructions. I told myself that I could do this for a few hours. After all, I would still have a deer or two in the freezer in the end.
We got on the four-wheeler and headed to my stand that was in a small patch of woods about 40 yards wide. This would be the first time I would sit in a treestand. I'm not afraid of heights but it was a little different in the dark. I climbed up the tree, and Mark was off to his stand over the ridge. I was nervous, there's something about having a gun in the woods and hunting that ignites one's senses like nothing I've ever experienced. I sat there for about 20 minutes before daylight arrived. As the sun came out, so did the deer.
I could hear them behind me for what seemed like hours. I didn't move at all! Finally, out of my peripheral vision, I could see them right below. Then something spooked one of the deer. It jumped and they all ran from the woods to a field about 20 yards away. My heart was about to explode, but I was patient and put my crosshairs on the biggest doe and pulled the trigger.
I was certain that my shot connected because it ran in a different direction than the other seven does. Wow! Did that really just happen? As I was waiting, I heard the deer coming back my way. Luckily, I had chambered another round in my gun after I shot the first doe. I put the sights on one of the does and watched it for nearly five minutes. BAM! I had shot my second doe in less than 20 minutes after taking the first doe. I called Mark on his cell phone and before he got there I had already found both of them.
We pulled both of them back to his house and field-dressed them.
I went back to the woods a few days later by myself and drove up on a massive buck. The lights from the four-wheeler made the buck stop in its tracks as 4-inch barrels of steam spewed from its flared nostrils. What a sight! I just froze until the buck slowly strolled away. What an animal!
Now I'm hooked on deer hunting and cannot wait until opening day.
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