Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I'm bonafide

It finally happened.  We all knew it was bound to really.  I have a new love in my life.  It doesn't mean the old loves have gone away, I have just expanded my heart to encompass this new love as well.  I guess it's best to just put all out there.  I, Anne Claire Dugas, am finally, officially, a bonafide deer hunter.

Not what you were expecting, huh?

Yes, I have a new hobby and one that I thoroughly enjoy.  This may come as a shock to some of you who can remember back in January of 2009...the year that Josh proposed to me in the deer stand. I couldn't figure out the reasoning behind that and why he thought it was such a marvelous place.  Now I know.
Last year, towards the end of hunting season, I decided I might kind of like going hunting...I didn't get the opportunity often and I had no desire to actually kill an animal, but I liked going.

This year, something changed.  Suddenly, I was dying to get out in the woods.  I was picking out camo gear for myself at all the stores.  I was begging Josh to buy me my own riffle.  What happened to me?  I don't know what is was, but it is a change of heart that I am embracing.  Now I jump at any chance to get into the woods.  I mean think about it...it is amazingly silent in the deer stand.  I bring my Nook and I slip away into reader's heaven as I absorb myself in whatever it is I am reading.  Josh goes on deer patrol.  When the sun starts to drop he nudges me that it's time to put my Nook down since the light is starting to show from the screen.  Then I go on deer patrol with him.  We just sit in silence, exchange glances, and I try not to talk and shift in my seat.  I decided that this would be the year that I would kill a deer.

The first day of the season we were in the woods.  I had given up hope of seeing anything because Josh and I had been so loud talking away (and also because I wore deodorant and apparently arming yourself with human scents is frowned upon in the hunting world).  So ok if me wearing deodorant meant no deer in our vicinty that was just a chance we were going to have to take because this girl wears her D.O!  Despite my smells and our whispers, a deer came out for us on that faithful day.  I spotted it just as it was getting dark.  Josh shot because let's all face it, I was not prepared.  My first riffle lesson two days before ended up with me holding the gun with my eye to the scope crying because I was too afraid to pull the trigger.  Epic fail.  So Josh shot, and the deer ran.  That's when the real fun started.  Tracking...another one of my new favorite things to do.  We followed the blood trail all through the woods.  Apparently, I was suppose to be the one who actually stood by the blood while Josh found the next spot of blood so we didn't lose our trail.  I was too excited for all that, so I just went  galavanting through the woods until we came across OUR deer...that was kind of frowned upon too.  So we had our first deer, and I got some claim to her since I spotted her in the woods.

That's when I decided the next deer was all mine.  I guess there is some sort of unspoken rule that you have to be able to actual shoot a riffle before anyone will let you shoot at a deer.  Ok, fine...so I shot skeet.  And I shot skeet well if I do say so myself!  I was ready for that deer!

So we hunted and hunted and hunted...nothing.  We went to my dad's for Thanksgiving and visited his hunting camp for a Thanksgiving day hunt.  I kind of made up my mind when we got in the stand that we wouldn't see anything.  We weren't quiet in the least bit.  Josh decided it was too hot for his coveralls so he delayered.  I dropped my nook twice.  We were loud.  We watched and watched and we saw nothing.  Darkness started to fall, so Josh started gathering all of our gear so we could head out.  That's when MY deer stepped out into the clearing.  "Josh, Josh, Josh, give me the gun," was all I managed to croak out I think.  I do need to backtrack a little here.  During all of our prehunting teaching sessions Josh would always tell me that whenever a deer would stepped out in front of me that I would get really nervous.  I think he was warning me about how much adrenaline I would be running on.  I blew him off.  Whatever.  I am a nurse.  I save people's lives.  A deer won't make me nervous.  Now back to present day in the deer stand.  Deer steps out, I hyperventilate.  I was sooo nervous I could not get a deep breath.  Of course Josh had to be right about the whole nerves thing.  So I try to find the deer in my scope despite my trembling hands.  That's when I realize that this is no average deer.  This is a buck and a BIG one.  I whisper to Josh that he has to be atleast a 6 point and that maybe he should shoot.  He, first of all, can't see the deer from the angle he got himself into when he was packing up, and second assures me that this is my deer so I should shoot it.  Ok, he is in my scope; I still can't breath.  I try to hold my breath to steady the gun while I wait for him to turn broadside, but dangit I ran out of breath...this happen three times.  Finally, he turns just a little and looks like he is getting ready to run.  "It's now or never"...I can still hear the voice in my head saying that.  BOOM.  All I saw was a flash of red.  I hand the gun over to Josh and jump out of the deer stand.  But then there's Josh raining on my parade and making me walk so I don't "scare" the deer.  Whatever.  But I oblige.  I see my deer laying on the ground in almost the exact place where I shot him.  "Hmm hmmm hmm," I was thinking in my head, "my first deer, and he's a 6 point or bigger, and I dropped him...dang I'm good."  Josh gets to the deer first.  He looks at him and makes a bad noise.  Then he looks at me and says, "your 6 points is missing a few points".  What?  What does that mean?  A spike.  All my excitement deflated.  Josh's didn't though.

Josh was so excited and proud that nothing could touch him.  We called my dad and he came to get us and my deer on the four wheeler.  It was a little harder breaking the spike news to him, but after a little while he was still proud of me too for killing my first deer.  Those spikes did cost us a nice $100 fine, but Josh says the memories were worth way more than that.

It was one of the most exciting days of my life.  I killed my first deer.  I was on cloud nine.  Josh was so proud he was about to burst.  It was a day that we will never forget.

So now I guess I am bonafide.  I am a hunter.  I wear my camo with pride, and I look for any excuse to
get into the deer stand with my amazing husband.  A family that hunts together, stays together.

Our first deer of the season (the one I saw first :) )

MY first deer!

Blood faced and too excited to care!

The hunter and the proud husband!