My first buck- 2013
It was quiet; absolutely silent except for the
tiniest scurrying of field mice. My heartbeat settled into a state of
rest. The wicker and metal lawn chair was made comfortable by a thick
sleeping bag. Cold nipped my nose. The hay in the hay ring was fresh
and sweet. I was hiding behind the stacked bales, my .243 rifle
resting on top.
Three weeks ago saw the start of this moment. First,
the hay ring was brought to the top of the hill. We cleared brush
and tree limbs out of the line of fire. After the last tree was
cleared the hubby and I stayed completely out of the area. The corner
of the farm was a traffic route for white tail; usually very early in
the morning or late in the afternoon. Yesterday, I had brought up a
cooler with drinks and food enough to last me all day. Inside a
garbage bag I had stowed a blanket and the sleeping bag. I was
comfortable against the early morning chill. Why rough it in a tree
stand when these hay bales added insulation and were the perfect
shield? Why sit on the ground when this comfortable chair and soft
cushion were perfect for firing off a stable hay bale? No bobbing of
the barrel. Most of the doe I had taken in the past two years
I had freehanded the shots using my 30/30. This year the hubby insisted on buying this
.243 because I kept shooting deer over two hundred yards.
Everything I shot at went into the freezer, so I don't see what his fussing
was about. He insisted on reloading forty rounds. I told him I only
needed four. (This year we could take three does and a buck.) Of
course I got the look.
The stars were out. The walk through the pasture
did not need the aide of a flash light. On the way an abrupt snort
from Sundance, my Rocky Mountain horse, about gave me a heart attack.
I had barely seen his form a hundred yards away. Rugger, my black
draft-walker; was invisible except for his white blaze and four white
socks. I watched his white patches flash as he paced behind
Sundance. Humorously it reminded me of the invisible man with socks.
Peanut, the little Paso Fino rescue horse, snorted and ran like an
idiot along the fence line. Thunder, a true appaloosa from the Native
Indian line, was rustling around inside the run-through shelter. I had
penned the boys for their own safety. It will be two long weeks
to keep them safe from stray bullets.
Some persons are always trying to hunt the backside
of our field. A problem six strands of barb-wire
will soon fix. I caught hunters twice and I they'll try
again if I am not sitting in my hay ring to watch.
Usually I wait until later in the morning to hunt, but this
year, I was going to be up there watching early. I was going to thank the jerks
today; I just did not know it yet. As I settled into my hay ring
hide out this thought rankled me.
Abruptly, something scurried and jumped into the hay ring
just as I sat down.
Gypsy, my cat, startled me. The master huntress meowed and purred at my feet. I looked
down at her, "Great, how am I suppose to get my buck with you making
so much noise? Go catch a mouse and take it back to the front porch."
The tabby looked up at me, nonchalant, and stepped out of the hay ring
to prowl. Minutes later she returned to quite contently sleep on my
blanket draping over my feet. I scowled at her. Little did she know
her nap was going to be short lived.
Not far from the hay ring something moved. It was
barley light and the temperature was dropping. When I drove
snow plow for the state I learned this was normal. I kind of missed the job. It was fun watching the snow rooster-tail off the plow. Driving
school bus, however, allows me to
fix the rundown rentals and finish my books. If I had to pay someone
to do what I spent the past five years doing I would have gone broke.
Now, because I wanted to
start a business, I was facing the return to OTR work; which
means this could be my last hunt for a couple of years.
This thought went through my mind when I saw
the rabbits. One hopped close. I heard it chew on the hay
in front of me. With the eagle's nest not far off, it suddenly dawned
on me why I never saw the rabbits when I wanted to hunt. I could
barely see them now. Gypsy was fast asleep. The rabbits were safe.
In the woods birds chirped. Darkness would soon be
lifting. It was quiet, all except for the hum of the big air fans
the mine installed four miles away. Most of my life I lived in
poverty. I save up enough, worked hard
enough, to buy my own peace and quiet in the country
and someone builds a stupid air shaft to ruin it.
Anyways, despite the annoying fan, I could feel the tension of all the stress
of life melt away. I started to relax when I heard a soft crack
in the woods. I sat up straight. I knew the sound.
Picking up the rifle I settle behind it,
scoping the corner fifty yards away. A small doe appeared. A larger
doe followed. The pair jumped the fence and strolled, never
seeing me. Behind me, in the direction I could not shoot, I heard
another crack. To not frighten the deer in front of me I very slowly
turned. To my surprise a young doe was walking straight toward my hay
ring not twenty feet away. Another pair were forty feet behind her
watching. At a break in the fence a big doe leaped. The
morning was yet lifting the darkness and I could see their forms
clearly. The little doe and I startled at the same time. I froze, not
wanting her to snort and warn the bucks I knew had to be close. It was like a switch had been flipped and deer melted
up from the brush. The doe took off on a run and the first group disappeared. It was seven
in the morning when I saw the next group of four
doe. Fifteen minutes later another group of three.
I relaxed my grip on the rifle. There was no doubt
in my mind I would see a buck. Would he run out of the woods on
a dead run? Would he jump behind me or come down the fence lines? I
heard there was a big buck coming out at this corner from the only
neighbor who could look down onto this field. Again there was a
rustle. A doe jumped out. She stopped, looked my way and nibbled. Her
ears perked and she looked back. A four point followed her. I needed
three points on one antler and I knew there were bigger bucks around,
so I waited. Gypsy slept curled at my feet while my heart rate fell
again. The adrenaline flowed every time the woods cracked.
Trying to get used to the new scope and the feel of
the gun I put my eye up to the scope. In the crosshairs was a doe. I had not
heard a thing. Another doe jumped out. I settled in waiting. The pair
moved on. I watched through the scope and a nice buck jumped
the fence line. I could clearly see he had a legal rack. One of the
biggest reasons I hunt is because it saves on the food bill. I knew a
bigger buck was in the woods but I did not hesitate to pull the
The gun went off with a bang; shattering the
morning peace. Gypsy lit out of the hay ring like she had been shot
out of a cannon. I was too intent on the buck. He ran. I thought for
sure I had missed. My aim was now on a second buck with a better rack.
It was still not the big boy I had seen weeks earlier. Abruptly
the first buck reared up and fell over. I was kind of disappointed
because this boy in my sights was better, but, if he made it, he would
be here for me next year.
My heart beat loud in my ears and my breathing was
heavy because I was so excited. Aloud I voiced, "Oh, my gosh, I got
him. I got my first buck. He's got a decent rack, too!" Dancing a
little I forced myself to sit down. The second buck was sadly saying
goodbye to his buddy. I felt bad as I watched him put his nose down
and touch his buddy's cheek. I recalled reading when something dies
it gives off a scent. This fellah knew something had changed. He was
instantly nervous, looked over the hill, twisted around and
I always feel bad when I have to take the life of
an animal, but, I saw first hand when I was a little girl what happens
when deer herds are not culled. My great grandfather and I
walked into a ravine shortly after a long spell of snow to find a
wayward calf. There were small dead bodies everywhere. The older deer
were able to reach the higher brush to feed, but the younger deer were
not so fortunate. My great grandfather walked the farm and found over
forty deer starved to death. He put several down himself to end their
I was not thinking of this at the moment. I was
pumped with adrenaline while I waited to make sure my buck was
down for the count. Too many times I had heard of hunters rushing up
on a deer and it taking off never to be seen, or worse, injuring the
hunter. In the distance I heard a crack. It sounded like my hubby's
gun. The sound is very distinctive as he makes his own rounds. It
barks so loud it actually echoes through the valley. I thought of the
big eight point and wondered if he, too, had got one. I didn't hear
another shot. What were the odds of us both getting bucks five minutes
apart? I dismissed the idea. Guns began to bark. The deer were on the
move and running the gauntlet which would consume hunters and their
families for the next two weeks.
Nervous, I stepped out of the ring. Gypsy was back
and the look on her fuzzy face told me she was not happy about how I
disturbed her nap. She was quick to steal my warm seat. The two doe
with my buck snorted and ran off. I did not care if they
spooked the whole forest because
I now did not have to hunt all week. The day was warm, too warm, and I
was going to have to get the next ordeal over with. The buck was on a
steep ridge of the neighbor's field. Taking a piece of barn twine and
my gun I walked the two hundred yards. The buck's head was back. His
rack was dug into the ground. He was a lengthy boy. I pulled his
head back to examine the rack. It was an average rack with one tine
broken short. Shaking from the adrenaline rush I was completely thrilled by my accomplishment, but cautious.
Being by myself, and not wanting to chase what might yet be a live
pulled out the barn twine, tied it to a leg and then I tied the other
end to his antler. He was going no where, just in case. Grabbing a
I took him off the ridge line where I could see hunters. The deer was
heavy, but, not as heavy as the monster doe I had bagged last year. It
took my husband and I, both, to load her into the cart behind the
I got my boy down onto the flat part of our
property. I forgot my knife so I had to go back to the hay ring and
that's when I heard the four wheeler. The hubby had bagged
one, too. Hurrying I went to the edge of the hill. I did not want to
leave my prize but I sure needed a hand. It was eight in the morning
and the day was getting warm fast. A warm day was not what a hunter
needed. My prize could go to waste in hours.
The hubby was coming up the road, thankful to see
me because he was wondering how he was going to drag his prize
from the thicket patch way up on the hillside where a four-wheeler
could not get. The buck was a bruiser and he was coming to get the
wife, knowing he was going to have no choice but disturb my hunting.
Not believing I was on the ridge waving him down he called up, "Did
you get anything?"
I yelled back, "I got a nine point." I would be
disappointed to learn I could not count the broken tine unless a ring
could sit on it, but, at that moment every hunter in a one mile
radius- as I was literally on top of the hill shouting down into the
quiet of the morning; now knew I had bagged a nine point. I learned
this because the neighbor would later tell me my excitement was very
loud and clear. The hubby yelled up he had bagged the big eight point we had
been seeing and was clearly excited. Okay, so his eight-point was
bigger than mine, but, I still got one, and it had a rare albino hoof.
It's a habit with us to grab the cameras to record
our fun on the farm and the hubby had dutifully dragged them along. He
drew the short end of the stick, too, because one of us was going to
need clean hands to drive the four-wheeler to the house and drop my
deer off- then go get his buck- and if I could help it, that person
was going to be me. I love it when a day comes together so neat and
Driving away with my buck, I looked back to see
Gypsy sitting on the hay bales. She knew her way home. It was nice to
have the master huntress join her rookie pet to make sure I hunted
properly- though- I think, she much preferred her student hunted
without making such a big bang. I do believe I used one of her nine
PS- The hubby just saw this page and commented, "I
thought you were writing a little story."
I replied, "Okay, just for you. I climbed the hill.
I shot the deer. I gave the cat a heart attack, but, she still has
eight lives left and, oh, look, she's back with a mouse and just put
it in your shoe. The end. Short enough?"
Silence- and the typical "hairy" eyeball when
my sarcasm has crossed some imaginary line- was his reply.
The hubby with our prizes. Mine is in front.
My boy has a 13 1/4 inch spread while hubby's has a
15 3/4 inch.
The bucks were in the freezer by 11 am. I didn't
have to hunt again
until Saturday when I bagged two does and my third
I bagged a few days
later. The hubby got two does. Now comes the fun
freezing and jerking all this meat for weeks to
On an irritating note those hunters who breeched
the backside of the property shot a deer fifty feet from my hay ring
hideout with no regard to my horses or my trailer rentals, nor the
neighbors directly on the other side of the hill. I left to use
the bathroom and warm up. On the way into the house I heard a shot. By
the time I got back up the hill they were dragging the deer off my
property; after shooting two-hundred yards into it. Had I been
climbing the hill up my path I would have been in direct line of fire.
I am chomping at the bit to build the barb-wire fence. If the rear end
of the tractor had not exploded and all our spare money went into the
Jubilee I would have started stretching it right there on the spot! It
frustrates me because I really wanted to give these guys something to
see this year. I posted enough signs on every tree of the tree line it
looks like a string of caution tape, but, I know they will send
bullets my way and drag deer off my property right in front of me. By
the time I make it to my house to call the game warden they will be
gone. Had I left my hunting I would not have taken my two does-
they would have. As it was I was watching the third deer when they
fired. It was on my property along my fence line and I was barely out
of their line of fire. It's guys like this that make it so property
owners refuse to let hunters pass on their land. Hopefully I'll find a publisher. Boy, what a fence I could build if
Disney decided to pick up one of my two books I know would make a
great movie! All these guys did was motivate me. Wait until they come
back next year... to be continued.