How A New Hunter Changed My Perspective On Hunting – Part Two
Welcome to part two of our dual-perspective hunting series. (Click here to read Part one) I will be writing from the perspective of a experienced hunter, and my co-worker will be writing from the stand point of the new hunter. We will both be writing about similar aspects of the hunt and how that particular part of the hunting experience affected us. We hope to highlight some of the major differences between seasoned hunters and those new to the sport, so that everyone has a new and exciting look into how different, yet how similar, hunting experiences will be.
Courtney was to be at my house at 5:30 for us to be in the blind well before shooting light, it might have been a half mile walk from our back door the long way across our horse pastures to the woods where the blind was. I was still in bed when she texted me she was on her way! I was up late that night just wondering what the morning would hold. As a hunter you quickly learn you have little control and the 9 times out of 10 deer during shotgun season do things you never think they would do! I wanted her first hunt to be as pleasant as possible! I didn’t care if she shot something (that worry would come later) that morning but I wanted her to see deer and have a good opening morning. I jumped out of bed at her text message and hurried to get dressed, grab my gear, and my opening day tradition pop tarts!
I explained as we walked up the direction of the wind that morning and what that meant for us in the blind, and explained how we would walk slowly in to the blind even though it was dark. She listened so intently and followed my every move into the blind. I recalled on the way in a few years ago taking a guy about my age with me to the woods, he didn’t listen to anything I said and didn’t stop when I told him to (macho men) he kept trudging up the hill. When I reached the top I found him gasping for air laying on the ground, he pointed above him and said a bunch of deer blew and ran away…. Really Sherlock!
Courtney and I reached the blind and all was quiet, we got set and I had her load her gun. As light started to slowly creep in I had her check the shooting lanes available, make sure she had clear lanes and felt comfortable. I know from experience for me, I am always cautious about my shooting lanes, what my no shooting zones are, and making sure I can get my gun up comfortably and swiftly if need be. Monday morning was super slow for opening day of Shotgun season, hardly any shots and we got skunked! I was so bummed, disappointed, and at this time mad at myself for not taking her somewhere else where we would could have seen deer! But that’s why they call it hunting. We trudged to work with no exciting stories to tell but with the goal to go out Wednesday afternoon.
Wednesday came and we made it to the blind by 2:15 again slow walking in with out bumping anything up. We got situated I had her check her lanes again, and we began our wait….. This time it was much shorter. About 2:40 three does showed themselves up the fence line about 120 yards. No shot as they disappeared just as quickly as they had shown themselves but Courtney was amped and shaking! Her first time with a gun in her hand she had seen deer! I quickly explained to Courtney to keep her eye out, and to watch her shot and follow through, I would watch where the deer went. Her job was to shoot I would do the rest. I got excited that this afternoon just might be our night!
About 15 minutes later another doe popped out in my blind spot but only 50 yards from the ground blind, Courtney got so excited! I tried to talk her through things, safety off, how is it quartering from you, do you have a shot? She was motioning with her hand how the deer was standing, and asking me if she should shoot! Helpless is the best word I can find to describe how I felt! It was gut wrenching to not be able to see or help her, all I could tell her is if you feel comfortable with the shot take it! After 45 seconds of playing with the trigger she pulled it. I watched the doe clear the fence on the tree line and disappear.
I asked her how she thought her shot went. She seemed confident that she had a good shot, we got out of the blind and I went directly to where I saw the doe cross the fence, no blood anywhere! I kept hoping some would appear but I walked back and forth, to where she thought it was standing when she shot it and couldn’t find a thing! I felt guilty for asking but I finally decided to ask Courtney if she remembered lifting her head? The look she gave me solidified my fear, she looked so mad, depressed, and upset at the same time I felt so bad for her! The experience that I wanted so desperately to be a good one for her just turned south!
I told her we needed to get back in the blind, after 15+ minutes looking for her deer we had wasted enough time. As we got back in the blind shots rang out on the neighbor’s property… I felt horrible but he just shot her deer. She looked at me with the same defeated look, and I was sure pissed I was making her get back in the blind. An hour later to my shock, the same 3 does that poked out of the woods the first time jumped the fence and began to feed! At 125 yards away the gun she held was perfectly capable of making a kill shot, Courtney on the other hand got excited but was not willing to take the shot, three more does joined them and began to feed and move farther away. She had ample opportunities to take a shot….
I would have had a chance to take each of the does out a couple of different times as they were feeding all within a 150 yards of the blind. Courtney raised her gun with the safety off and watched them but was not comfortable taking the shot. I totally respect that, I have been made fun of more than once at deer camp for not taking shots at running deer, or just shots I was not comfortable with. I swear it’s a girl thing to be way more cautious about shooting and making sure you kill an animal then just shooting to shoot, not to say that there are not men who are very cautious, but I could totally empathize with her and her predicament. We watched the deer slowly move away as the sun started to sink……….