By Tracy McCormick
-- Everyone tries to support their spouse when it comes to their hobbies. When I started dating my husband, I had my horses and he had his hunting. He supported and helped me with my horses, and I sat at home and waited, semi-patiently, while he was out hunting.
Then after about 10 years, I decided to join him. My sister-in-law and I secretly went to take our hunter safety course. I passed the course and put my hunting license in my husband's birthday card. I went hunting that year and never took a shot because I was uncomfortable with the gun I was hunting with. It was a Remington 1100 shotgun. The following year, my husband got me a Marlin .35-caliber rifle. I was much more at ease with this gun and proved it by harvesting a nice 6-point buck.
I hunted off and on for the next four years. When my youngest baby was about 11 months old, I decided to go hunting again. At the last minute, I went to Wal-Mart and bought my big game license. It was noon on opening day of rifle season. My husband, Shane, and I went out and made sure my gun was still sighted-in. This was at 3 p.m. I fired the Marlin twice and found out that I was hitting dead center.
We headed to the farm where my husband had hunted since he was 14 years old. After walking a little way into the woods and looking for a good place for me to sit, we found an area that had both rubs and scrapes. Then we discovered two trails that came into the clearing. As I was getting settled, Shane said, "They'll either come from the trail on the left or the trail on the right." Then he left to go sit in another spot.
It was cold out that day, and I was all hunkered down waiting for the deer to start heading out to feed in the fields. I never sit in a treestand because I have a bad habit of falling asleep while I'm waiting for them to come in. It's so peaceful in the woods. I can hear the birds fluttering around, the squirrels chattering and the crows cawing. Sure enough, I was asleep in minutes. I did, however, wake up just in time to hear the crunch, crunch of a deer walking down the path on the left.
On the way over to the farm, my husband and I had decided that since our freezer already had some venison in it, we wouldn't shoot anything smaller than a 4-point buck. With this in mind, I made sure that the deer that was coming in was, in fact, a buck. I then checked to make sure that it had at least four points.
I have always heard about buck fever and decided that I wouldn't allow that to happen to me. I didn't pay anymore attention to its rack than I had to. I saw the antlers, saw that there were at least four points, and looked for the vitals. I pulled the hammer back, took a deep breath, let it halfway out, and squeezed the trigger. The buck jumped up, kicked out and then disappeared behind some brush. I heard it stop and drop, and then the tell-tale sounds of a double-lung shot. It was only moments.
I was very excited and started shaking. I tried to call my husband but he had forgotten his cell phone. His brother was also hunting with us that day, so I called him and asked if he would find my husband.
It took my brother-in-law about 20 minutes to get to me. He told me later that when he heard the shot, he knew it was me and stopped his hunt immediately and began heading in my direction.
I wanted my husband to be with me when I went to see my deer so I waited for him. Shane finally got there and asked me what I got. I said, "I think it's at least a 4-pointer, maybe a six." I told him where it was when I shot it and where it went down. I was glad that we didn't have to track the buck.
With Shane leading the way, he said "You got a 10-pointer, Trace!" I didn't believe him until I saw it for myself. After tagging my buck, Shane took my cell phone and started calling his friends to tell them that I took a big buck. Not bad for a girl.
I guess the one thing that I realized is that it isn't what size deer you get; it's the adventure and the tale that you have to tell. It's spending time with friends and family and sharing their hobbies and interests.
Blossvale, New York
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