Hunting Season is an incredible opportunity to spend time in the Outdoors. Every hunter has expectations and goals for their season. We often do not meet all of our goals or harvest the way we thought. One of our Instructors, Suzetta Wise, shares an uplifting and realistic review of Hunting. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
That’s Why It’s Called Huntin’
It had been a long, hard week at work. I was beyond exhausted and just drained on many levels. Sometimes it just happens. This week had also been uplifting in a different way though. The temperatures had finally dropped here in Oklahoma, which meant the necks were beginning to really swell on the whitetail! Hello rut!
I know I’m blessed on a lot of levels but living and growing up hunting on our small, family farm has been one of my biggest blessings. I am able to daily watch and observe things in nature that most people don’t get to see regularly. I really try not to take that for granted.
While feeding the horses that week, I’d been watching the coveted ‘rut’.
I’m not gonna lie, I wanted to call in to work a few mornings after observing a chase across the field. (I didn’t but I really wanted to.) So, instead I waited until I could go out in the evening. (Being a teacher/coach, many of my afternoons are taken and getting out to hunt during the week can be a challenge.)
I went out Thursday afternoon and what a blessing that was! I arrived to my stand a little after 4 pm, which was still okay since the time hadn’t changed yet. After sitting in my stand for around an hour, a really pretty 2 1/2 year old buck came strolling in. I pulled up my binoculars to see which one he was (on our farm, we recognize and even name the deer). I zoomed in and could tell he was an 8 pointer. He’s really nice for a 2 1/2 year old and I’m excited to see his growth over the next few years but he’s not exactly what I’m after right now. So, I just watched him as he maneuvers around the woods. That’s one of my favorite parts of hunting – watching deer behavior.
He grazed on acorns and moved out of my area in about 10 minutes or less.
About an hour or so later, I began to hear some movement coming up the hill behind me. I slowly turned and tried to locate the sound. It was a big bodied deer! I pulled up my binoculars again and begin searching for horns to identify whether or not it was a buck or doe and if it was a buck, which one? Was he a shooter? You know, going through all of the steps and processes.
Much to my surprise, it was one my family and I had named, ‘a shooter’. He was even more beautiful in person than on the game camera pictures and from across the field. I was in awe of his beauty and body size as he began thrashing some trees behind me. He was clearly marking this area as his own right before my eyes. It was great to see! He rubbed his antlers on a smaller tree first. Then he walked back and forth about 25 yards smelling around and showing off (to me) his beautiful body. He found a small limb hanging over head, for which he decided would make the perfect spot to place a scrape underneath. He dug around with his hooves and sniffed the area carefully. He licked the limb and rubbed his antlers around as well, ensuring his scent was left behind. (This is when I was just in awe and amazed at nature and, of course, the beauty of this buck.) Then he took a couple of steps away from that scrape and began walking my way!
That’s when I had to quit watching the ‘show’ and get ready.
It was now ‘go time’. At that moment of realization is when it became totally real for me. My mind started racing and playing out all of the scenarios that needed to take place for this hunt to come together. I had my bow in one hand with my release in the other. I connected the release and stood there in my stand with my heart and mind racing. I was ready.
The buck was looking around and sniffing both the air and ground as he walked toward me. As his route toward me shifted, so did my plans of action. My mind was playing out scenarios, checking shooting lanes, looking for limbs, and running the yardages in my head. (In what seemed like an hour was merely a few minutes.) His route was not of one on a mission but more of a buck trying to find a starting point toward a doe. He zigged and he zagged – 45 yards, 40 yards, 27 yards – behind limbs and trees. My heart began racing because I wanted this bow hunt to be successful so badly. He began walking away from me… My mind began racing even more. What to do? What to do? Do I grunt at him or do I just wait?
Then he turned back and began walking straight down the path to my stand. Unfortunately, there were two limbs that were blocking his vitals, preventing an ethical shooting opportunity as he walked all the way up to @21 yards from my stand.
I could feel both my heart and my mind racing as he stood below that limb.
I was waiting on the right time to draw my bow and of course for a good shooting opportunity. (Which seemed like forever.) He just stood there sniffing the ground and looking around. I was afraid he was about to bust me but surprisingly he didn’t. He slowed turned and continued sniffing the ground while walking away from me. I watched and waited, hoping he would take a step toward the right into the area I would have a clear shot. He didn’t. It was beginning to be low light and I knew my evening hunt was about to come to an end. As close as he was, I opted out of using my grunt call. I didn’t want him to spook. It was not an easy decision as he kept walking away from me, just slowly sniffing the ground and occasionally eating an acorn or two.
Those moments are some of the best worst feelings a hunter or huntress can have while out in the woods. As I watched him slowly fade away through my binoculars, I couldn’t help but be reminded of my family’s words I’ve heard so many times while growing up…. That’s why it’s called huntin’.
You can check out the Hunting Gear we talk about at our trailer events HERE.
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