The one thing I’ve learned since meeting my husband is to never say the word never. Anyone who has known me for any length of time would not peg me as a deer hunter. Until ten short years ago, I would have said you were dreaming if you thought I was heading to the woods for anything. Yet here we are as Fall begins, walking into my 4th season of deer hunting. There is so much involved in hunting and it is now one of my favorite recreational activities. Let me share some of the things I love and how deer hunting plays out in our family.
How It All Started
My husband started hunting at about the age of four. He sat in a deer blind wrapped in blankets with his dad and step mom. Those first trips turned into more and by the time we met deer hunting was one of his favorite past times. Being a part of his world meant watching hunting shows, spending time in the woods, target practice, and deer processing. Now he is a rifle hunter through and through. As we watched the outdoor channel, I became fascinated with archery. Wanting to encourage my new found interest, he bought me a beautiful compound bow for Mother’s Day. A bow I only planned to use on targets, but life had other plans.
Time Together in the Woods
As time moved along, I started to target shoot with guns as well. Wanting to be just like Daddy, our oldest child jumped right into target shooting and hunting. She went on her first Youth Hunt with her Daddy at the age of 8, two years before I jumped on the deer hunting train. We hiked along as Daddy hunted for birds and rabbits when she was as young as three. Time in the woods is a huge part of how we spend time together as a family. Always looking for ways to increase our time in the woods, my husband bought a crossbow so we could partake in the archery season (I am still target shooting with my Mother’s Day present.) This is when things started to get serious.
It turns out I am a natural with the crossbow. Who knew! Once I got the mechanics down, my arrows hit bullseye after bullseye. The flight of an arrow is focused, graceful, and precise. There is something about it that makes my heart full. I am not such a natural with firearms. I am not a terrible shot, but my accuracy is much better using a crossbow. Finding this hidden talent opened up more hunting possibilities and some more curiosity on my part. After a few trips out with my husband, I was hooked.
So Much More Than Hunting
What I found on my first hunting adventures is that hunting provides me so many unexpected benefits. Spending time in the quiet woods is a spiritual experience. My long quiet hours give me time to contemplate life, pray, and find peace in the stillness around me. Hunting allows me the opportunity to unplug from my very busy life and plug into nature. The hum of the woods puts me in a meditative head space. The peace is only interrupted by the excitement and hustle that arises from a deer appearing in the distance.
A Family Affair
Our little crew is up to 5 now and everyone joins in the hunting adventures. We did our first Youth Hunt with all 5 of us participating last weekend. What an adventure! The day started with a 6:30am fire drill to get 5 people dressed, fed, and into the woods. It reminded me of school mornings. On our way to the woods, it started to rain, which is less than ideal. We sit in tents, so we did not let the rain slow us down and pressed onward. After two hours, the kiddos were cold, tired, and ready to call it. Considering our youngest is 5, we lasted an hour longer than I expected. We headed home and then out to breakfast. The morning did not include deer, but included lots of laughs, making memories that we will hold for a lifetime.
This City Chic is now a full fledged Country Girl at heart. I look forward to my days in the woods with excitement. Deer hunting does not have to involve actual deer to bring me joy, although it is exciting when they show up. What will our 2020 deer hunting season bring? I don’t know, but I can not wait to watch it unfold. Happy Fall everyone! If you need me, I’ll be in the woods.