Notes on my first hunt:
- The pre-dawn sky was brilliant, a world of stars above our heads, glimpsed through the tops of the pines as we made our way through the dark. Strange that I used to dream of that exact view many years ago. Seeing it now, in reality, with my breath blowing cold smoke in front of me, makes me deeply happy.
- Being a silent, hidden part of the woods, observing nature as it comes to life, is a soul-stirring experience.
- Climbing the treestand with all my gear on me in the pitch black was terrifying for a number of reasons. First time, though. I’m sure it will get easier each time I do it.
- I now officially have hunting fever. There was a moment in the morning when I thought for sure a deer was walking out to my right and I thought my heart was going to pound right out of my chest. If I had actually seen one, I scarcely know what I would have done. It was such an exciting and high adrenaline experience, listening, watching, anticipating. Steve was pleased and amused that I had that kind of experience. It makes me want to go back out again. And soon. And as often as possible. Hunting fever!
All the wonderfulness aside, I do feel like it was my fault we didn’t get a deer yesterday. I had to pee very badly, which meant we got down too early, around 9:30. Around 10:00, we were down, loaded up, and checking the trail camera when suddenly we heard a rustling and crackling next to us… and before we knew it, a doe leaped out of the foliage, nearly smacking straight into me. I kid you not, she was 5 feet away. I have never seen a deer that close in the wild. As she saw us, she very adeptly turned her whole body to the right and scampered off into the forest. We were left in shock in disbelief. If we had stayed in the stand a little longer, we would have had her to take home. Regrets. Steve tells me not to dwell on it. Hunting involves a lot of second-guessing and I need to get used to it.
Silver lining: her running toward us, not away from us, and her coming out that close to us serves to emphasize how well our scent control measures worked. She didn’t realize we were standing right there. That’s saying a lot, for a deer’s nose. Good to know, for future reference, that our scent control is so on point.
First hunt done. On to the next!