I’ve been contemplating this for quite some time. What was my most memorable hunt?
Why? I’ve come to the realization; it wasn’t about the size of the rack, or the beauty of my surroundings. It was about discovering a strength & passion so deep, it has forever changed me…. I hope my journey inspires, encourages & motivates you…
Let me begin by giving you some background knowledge about myself. I am an avid outdoorsman. I not only hunt, I ride horses. Horses are actually my true passion & a passion that was ignited from my earliest memories as a child. There is nothing more freeing than being on the back of my horse, galloping with the wind in my face, the horse lending me wings that I lack, providing me with strength I will never have, and lending me the grace I will never come close to obtaining…. I feel most at home, freer & most joyous when on the back of my horse. There is nothing more beautiful to me. I ride all the time & I ride hard. I am not one to ride in an arena. I feel restricted. I need to be free. Free to go out into the wilderness, I enjoy climbing steep mountains, riding the rim of the mountains, swimming my horses in streams & exploring the wilderness on the ultimate 4 wheel drive, the horse. I literally just get lost, me & my horse, together as one. My horse knows the way home. I just ride…..
With that type of riding comes a certain risk. & I’m willing to take that risk, I long to be free & become one with my horse. This brings me to have obtained an injury or two throughout my life while chasing my passion & living my dreams. On one such day, I was merely riding around my farm & I’ve made this run on my horse numerous times…. There is this one particular strip of grass where I love to gallop my horses, it is a long, straight strip next to my long gravel driveway & relatively “safe” terrain comparatively speaking… Montana Grace & I were on the home stretch, & she wanted to run like the wind & I wanted to feel the power of my mare. I let her have her reins & we RAN & RAN & RAN. She was @ full speed & is extremely powerful. It felt so amazing, like we were flying! This joy came to an abrupt end when Montana Grace hit a hole and stumbled; I flew straight over her head, did a flip or two and landed on my back on my long gravel driveway. Initially I was unable to move, the wind was knocked out of me completely and I couldn’t breathe. I’ve never been so scared in my entire life. Clay, my husband, witnessed the fall & came running to help me. Montana Grace stopped over me, looking intently into my eyes, you could tell she was devastated… I could see her pain. It was never her intention to hurt me & this was not her fault….. Long story short. I suffered a torn rotator cuff, had road rash the entire way down my left side, multiple cuts & stitches in my side where a rock had sliced my side so far open that it cut beneath the subcutaneous fat layer…. With this cut came infection & I had to have the area stitched, drained & re-stitched multiple times. The pain my body felt was unbearable & I was basically house/bed bound for 6 weeks.
I couldn’t RIDE. I couldn’t HUNT. All of my passions were slowly slipping away. I HAD to get out. This wasn’t a choice. It MUST be done, my soul needed replenishing. My husband was in KY hunting & I was at my breaking point. I needed to go out & sit in a tree. I needed to feel normal. I needed to restore my soul. Without knowing if I could even pull my bow back, I grabbed my trusty Mathews & with my torn rotator cuff & stiches in my side, I headed out back to my favorite tree stand. The walk was a hard one as it’s straight up hill, but I did it. I made it into my stand, painful as it was. Merely accomplishing that small task, I felt the beginning of restoration….
After an hour or so in the stand, out walks this nice 8 pointer. In complete excitement, I stealthily grab my bow, waiting for the perfect moment. He stands broadside at 25 yards….. I attempt to draw back…. & much to my amazement, I was ABLE TO!!! This in and of itself was an accomplishment!!! I breathe, try to collect myself & shoot!!! In epic fashion, I shoot RIGHT over him!!!! However, I was able to SHOOT! I felt such a joy; it still chokes me up to this very day…… I did the unthinkable. & I begin to heal my heart…..
Knowing this area very well as it’s on my own personal property, I knew the buck came from the bedding area & there was a good chance I could catch him slipping back right before dark. Therefore, my game plan was to go home, rest & prepare for an evening hunt….. I took my bruised and battered body & did just that. As I returned for the evening hunt, I already felt accomplished & getting this buck would not define nor deter the progress I already made today. I was thoroughly enjoying this evening. Watching the squirrels, the cardinals, the blue jays & the hoot owl who regularly visited the tree 25 yards in front of me… I was cherishing the sun beginning to set & the stillness of the woods. Then, I hear the leaves crunching… Was it another squirrel or was it deer? I slowly turn over my left shoulder & it was MY BUCK!!!!!!!! I start to calm myself through deep breathing & then I said a prayer before I grabbed my bow…. I was waiting until the opportune moment, then slowly drew back & let the arrow fly. What a beautiful moment of release, pure, uninhibited JOY! My lighted nock illuminated my prey. I HIT HIM! I actually HIT him & it WAS a kill shot! I just knew it…..
I immediately texted my husband & told him to get home, we needed to track my deer. I was not in the position to physically track through the thick woods & hills on my property due to my injuries & I knew this, but I also knew I hit him. I watched the direction the buck ran & I knew we needed to give it a few hours, and then go after him. My husband was not only shocked, but he graciously came home & cut his trip short….. He was only an hour and a half away, perfect timing to let my buck lay…. Upon his arrival home, we quickly found the bloody arrow, the blood trail & we found MY BUCK!
I accomplished what I never would have imagined possible…. Through the pain, injuries hurt, disadvantages, disbelief…. I still was able to do the unthinkable. I overcame all of the odds. Not only did I do this, I did it on my own terms. I was not bound by a medical diagnosis which told me to stay in bed. I was bound by sheer will, determination & the strength of Christ… I really can do “ALL things through Christ whom gives me strength”. Phil 4:13….. This is my most memorable hunt. This is also my “smallest” buck measurement wise; however, he has had the BIGGEST impact on my life & hunting career…. This hunt, this buck restored my soul…. You see, it’s not the size of the rack that matters, it’s the memories obtained from the hunt! Good day & God Bless!!!
Peace, Love & Venison,
My Most Memorable Hunt Image Gallery