While growing up, my dad hunted and fished when he could. We fished a bit, but I don’t recall ever catching much! Although he took me target-shooting "down back," I never went hunting with him. (Being an adult now- with two young daughters, I realize it was probably because I couldn’t keep quiet long enough!) It wasn’t until mid-2002 that a friend introduced me to hunting. We target practiced to revive my rusty skills and then in July, I went with friends to hunt white-tailed deer with a nuisance permit. I loved being in the woods! It was the first time in a long time that I had felt such a sense of calm and quiet. That afternoon, I shot a doe at about 160 yards with a Browning Stainless Stalker 7mm-08 with a Bushnell 4200 Elite 2.5x10 scope. In my "I’ll try anything once" style, I even helped to field dress her.
I picked the bow up soon after that, and that has become "my sport." I have a PSE Spyder; its smaller size fits me just fine. I learned about my bow by shooting, once again at a target daily with my "instructor" (a friend who was already into archery). After a time, I became quite an accurate shot and built up my muscles and endurance. In the beginning though, I remember saying more than a few times, "I can’t pull it back again. I just can’t!" But, luckily my friend knew better and said "You can." And I did! Then I bought a climbing tree stand. Although it was difficult, and my thigh muscles burned and ached as I struggled to get myself and that "contraption" up the tree, I did it over and over again. Then it was time to hike with its 22 lbs. on my back into the woods. Setting it up with my little head lamp, I managed to climb high into the branches in the cold and dark of the wee morning, pre-dawn darkness. Scary? Yes, but what a feeling of accomplishment to be able to do that! I also went through the application process and was granted my NYS permit to carry a concealed handgun. And, now, here I am becoming more and more involved in bowhunting and hunting in general.
To answer the question "But, why would you?" as I have been asked (more than once by non-hunting family and friends). Unless you’ve had a chance to experience it, you couldn’t possibly understand, but I’ll give you my best possible description:
It is absolutely awesome to sit quietly in a tree and listen to the woods wake up as the sun rises. It makes me realize that the world today really is a "rat race" ~ that so many simple things are overlooked in the daily hustle and bustle of life. Hunting allows me to slow down and observe. To recognize all the small wonders of the earth: squirrels squabbling, and chasing each other; hearing dry leaves crash to the ground as they fall off the trees in October; to experience the really obnoxious, yet beautiful, racket of a flock of geese overhead; to be able to cast cares away and just sit…..as the world rushes on without me off in the distance. And if by chance, I have an opportunity to catch a glimpse of a deer, that’s wonderful. It doesn’t mean I will shoot it, but knowing that I have that ability ~ with a bow no less….all because saying "I can’t" was not an option!
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