This was my first year as a deer hunter. I felt tough and pretty much like one of the guys each day that I put on my gear and grabbed my gun. Almost. What follows is my journaling of the first three days of my experience. And before you tell me that perhaps journaling kept my attention from actually looking for deer, as Justin suggested through his chuckles, remember, I’m a girl. I am one heck of a multi-tasker.
And yes, real hunters can journal if they want to. It should be a thing.
I’m so excited! That is until the flipping alarm clock goes off at 6:15, and it’s still really dark, and I’m a little night-blind as I stumble to the bathroom grumbling about how ridiculous it is to be awake this early when it’s not even light yet, and I’m not doing something worth this early awakening like leaving for vacation.
Like a good sport, I drag my bedhead and whiny hiney downstairs to put on my layers of warmth and my schnazzy orange vest all the while telling myself all the things I have to remember about the safety on my rifle and such — *up is on, down is go (go down, Moses)*. It’s how I remember, okay?
I’m a pretty good shot, or so the boys say, and I feel pretty comfortable about the process of how to shoot a deer.
Shoot a deer. Kill a living, breathing, beautiful thing. Snuff the very life out from under its warm brown eyes. All of this ^ wars with the food hoarder in me. I’ve tasted the venison. It is free. It shall be mine and in my freezer.
Clambering up into my deer stand which once housed my baby chicks, I set up my weapon and my warm bottle of water and wait.
I realllllly wanna be the one of the three of us out here so I start to pray for a deer. Wouldn’t it just top off this epic defiance-against-the-whole-aging-thing year? Yeah, so my snow pants are unbuttoned because, wow, they’re a little tighter than they used to be. And I might have a lavender-filled, cow-shaped heat bag stuffed under my coat, but c’mon! It’s cold out here! Cut me some slack!
Sun is finally up. Now I can sight in.
They should call this *Deer Hoping*.
Is it too soon to eat my granola bar? It’s been a whole half hour.
An hour and eighteen minutes in. The part where my pants and coat don’t quite meet in the back is really cold!!.
I’m an outdoors-y girl. More than any girl I’ve known, I have spent some serious time outside in my years. Outside is where I have me-and-God-time. In the quiet. In the peace. It is so beautiful here watching the sun come up.
And I’m so stinking bored I can hardly stand it!
I do not believe men can do this!! Seriously! I have never seen my men sit still for more than ten minutes without creating a stick-throwing or rock-skipping competition. Let alone all of their typical jiggling and wiggling and eating and loud conversations. Or their phones!!! How is this a guy thing?? I am in awe that they can do this if I am struggling. But I’m also stubborn. And determined to have at least tried.
So I throw my granola bar wrapper on the floor!! in this deer stand because today, I am one of the guys, and it just seems like the right thing to do.
He had to say sniff, didn’t he? A deer can hear you sniff, Mom. I have more urges to sniff than ever before in my life. I may have to attend sniffaholics anonymous meetings after this. What is wrong with me?
Nothing moves out here.
I hear gunshots from miles away. Even before the sun came up, I heard gunshots. I feel more than a little resentment in my heart towards the guy who actually saw something at which to shoot.
2.5 hours in. I found an old volleyball. Named him Wilson. He’s my best friend.
The last time I was this bored, I was grounded.
It’s been 4 hours. I now sit outside where the sun can at least begin to warm my face. I am determined to rename this whole thing.
I wonder what the odds really are of me seeing the right-sized animal with the right amount of antlers just within my range turned the right way so I can manage to shoot him just before he moves if he doesn’t manage to hear me get into position and run away. I think this might take some serious math to figure out how many hours I will sit here versus my odds of all of that happening.
I’m bored, but not that bored.
I did not journal while in the stand today. I was too numb and busy trying to survive a winter storm to use my thumbs for typing. The boys were out of town so I was on my own and bullishly determined to get the big buck on my own. It required hours of prep as I pushed atv’s out of my way in the barn and learned to drive the tractor/snowblower to move it. I would need Justin’s beasty atv if I got a deer to pull my deer up to the house before the wolves got
me it. I would have to put straps around it’s buck head and drag it home on my own in 40 mph gusts of snow and wind. I managed about 2 hours of sitting in that craziness in Justin’s hunting spot which is fully open to the elements, and I learned that wind can burn your cheeks into the same rosy pinkness that an afternoon of sunshine can. Only it’s waaaaay less fun.
And I proved an awful lot to myself about my own strength and determination.
Day three of my gazing-at-the-field adventure:
It’s about 20 degrees out here. I have switched weapons to one more powerful and that doesn’t jam when I load it. I have learned to crave the stillness and quiet and the forced inability to do dishes and make food and clean things. There is nothing to do here but look around at pretty things and practice feeling like Granny GI-Jane. What’s not to love, really? If only this icy stool had seat-heat.
There’s a hush out here and I don’t mean just because of the earplugs.
I am cold to my core at one hour fifteen. If hide and seek with animals is going to be my new hobby, I need better gear.
Mad props to ya boys. I gave it my all. But new grandbaby is coming and I have warmer things to do.
See ya next November.