The first evening of my annual Wyoming deer hunt, had me sitting up in a tree at the Ruby Burks Ranch,overlooking a cut oat field.
At 7:25 p.m., a whitetail doe and her two fawns came from out of the south. They walked the edge of one field northward, to the cut oat field laid out in front of me.
She stopped at 20 yards and I came to full draw. However, I couldn't shoot as one of her fawns ran to her and stood directly behind her. I stayed at full draw hoping either of the two deer would move, and the big doe finally did. She stepped aside, gave me another broadside angle, and I released my arrow. It went through her lungs and she and her fawns took off. I couldn't see where they went, as a big cottonwood tree blocked my field of view. I wondered to myself if I should get down from my stand and try to see if I could spot her from the ground. I told myself to stay in the tree, as there was still shooting light left and who knows, I still had a buck tag and maybe one would come along. Guess what?
Not more than 10 minutes later, I spotted a nice whitetail buck come in from the same area the doe did, and he walked the same field edge and entered the cut oat field where she did also. He even stopped in the same spot that she did when I shot her!
I put my sight pin behind his shoulder and loosed my arrow. It hit its mark and the buck took off running, only making it about 50 yards before he collapsed and died in view. I was pumping my fists in the air! Funny thing was, both my hunt guide George Huffman, and the ranch manager Hugh Hiser, were watching the whole event unfold from near the ranch house, through binoculars more than 200 yards away!
I climbed down from my tree and picked up my arrows from the field. They were covered in blood from tip to nock end. I raised my bow in the air and thanked God for this opportunity. I walked over to my buck, set my gear down next to him, and started to count the tines on his rack.
I began counting one side of his rack. “1, 2, 3, 4, 5.” Now for the other half, “1, 2, 3…”, as I continued counting tines, my voice started to get higher and began to crack. "... 4, 5!!" Now I was never good at math, but I did know that 5 + 5 = 10. I fell to my knees and began to sob. I looked up towards heaven and thanked God for being able to take such a wonderful creature.
I quickly called Paula up on the cell phone and as calmly as I could, asked her how her hunt went. She said she saw a few deer but they were out of bow range. She then asked me how my hunt went.
"Well, you can hunt in my stand tomorrow night if you want." I responded.
"Why?" She sounded concerned.
Then I lost it and began to blubber, "Because I shot a doe tonight, and ten minutes later shot a 10-pt (5x5) buck!"
I wondered if she could make out what I was trying to convey to her through my weeping.
She did, and she began to laugh uncontrollably. Her laughter, mixed with my weeping into our phones, was how we took in the joyous moment. She asked for someone to come pick her up so she could see the downed buck.
In no time, George, Paula, Hugh and his wife Susan, along with fellow bowhunter Kathleen, all made their way over to the cut oat field. The truck’s headlights shown brightly on the gorgeous buck. A round of kudos and hugs were given.
What made it extra special was that I had been bowhunting for ten years, and this was my very first buck!
"A tine for every year,” Paula said to me.
After field dressing the buck, the heart was removed and checked for shot placement. I can honestly say that this buck died of a broken heart!
At this time, some of the party began looking for the doe. She proved difficult to locate in the dark and we agreed to look for her first thing in the morning, as we had a buck to be taken to "headquarters" and weighed in.
Back in town, he weighed in at 120-pounds. Photos were taken and high fives were slapped and hugs given.
I went to bed that night with a smile on my face, yet still wondering where that doe had gone.
The next morning, I got word from George that Hugh had located the doe’s blood trail, and had followed it to some very tall grass where she lay dead. She was field dressed and pictures were taken. Now I was officially done deer hunting, as I was all tagged out.
I did have two antelope tags left, but never connected on one the remainder of our stay.
Needless to say, I was a happy woman, as I came back home with my cooler full and a shoulder mount at the taxidermist’s. Life is good.
© October 2007