Lakecaster Online

By: Sue Crochet

Just like fishing, most women learn to hunt through husband or boyfriend. When I met my husband, I had never hunted before. He began teaching me gun safety, how to load and unload, then took me out to do some practice shooting so I wouldn't have any surprises the first time I shot my gun. Since then, we've done many different types of hunting, such as squirrel, duck, goose, quail, dove, and now ... deer.

For the longest, I enjoyed just being there ... seeing the wildlife, enjoying the exercise and fresh air, and just being with my husband. I was pretty hesitant about shooting, because I didn't feel confident that I could lift a heavy gun and actually get a shot off on anything. However, I soon decided that I wanted a little of the action. As I began shooting more, I became more accurate and began to love these outings even more. As an avid bass angler, it was a little harder for me to get into deer hunting, since this season begins just as the fall fishing is in its prime. For me, if left with the choice to fish or hunt, I would choose fishing every time.

Fortunately, I was never pushed into hunting or fishing. Only when I inquired, my husband taught me the basics and let me take off from there. When I had questions, he was eager to help and always encouraged me. He always let me know how much he enjoyed having me along, which is the main reason I started hunting and fishing. However, because I enjoy the outdoors so much, it didn't take me long to become a "doer" instead of a "watcher".

When I first began accompanying my husband on trips to the deer lease, I'd usually just stay around the camp site ... sleep in, cook, walk, read a book, or visit with one or more the other ladies who'd come up with their husbands. Sometimes we'd ride around the lease looking for better spot to put up a stand ("As if there was really such a thing", I thought at that time.). As I gained more knowledge on looking for deer "sign", I looked forward to these excursions and soon decided to sit in a stand.

I'd just sit there quietly, watching and listening. I was so excited when I saw my first deer. A doe came from behind my stand and slowly moved around, feeding on corn we'd thrown on the ground. After a little while she wandered off and seemed to never have a clue that I was there. Later, I heard pigs coming from a distance and soon, a sow came through with several piglets. This was so neat! As it turns out, this was absolutely the best way for me to start out. If I'd had a rifle at that time, I would probably have hyperventilated before getting a shot off!

Much to my husband's surprise and content, I asked for my own deer rifle a couple of Christmas' ago. I warned him that I may not go on every deer-hunting trip with him, but I did want to start learning about this sport more. I have learned so much more since then ... finding bedding areas, identifying scrapes and the overhanging broken branches which are usually right above them, the difference between deer poop (sorry) over that of other animals ... all important tricks for locating prime areas to place deer stands.
Last season, I killed my first deer. Although it was a young spike, I was thrilled, and so was my husband. Best of all, the tender meat we got from this young deer was very tasty. Yes, I did get blood smeared on my face and no, I don't have any pictures to show. Actually, the guys in the camp gave me a pretty hard time for killing "Bambi", so I was rather reluctant to take a picture. But, after all was said and done, I felt like I had now become more than just "one of the wives" who came along for fun.

I can't promise that you'll learn to love it as much as I have, but you won't know until you've tried. You might start out by walking through the woods with your significant other, getting comfortable with the surroundings and simply enjoying the adventure. If wood, foliage, and animals aren't your thing, you can take the time to relax, catch up on your reading or writing, and cook for your special partner. If you're reluctant about shooting an animal or fearful of using a weapon, but don't mind being in the woods, you could just sit out there, enjoying the seclusion. I've said many rosaries/prayers and done some of my best thinking while sitting in a deer stand. For those of you who are camera buffs, great photos and videos are taken by people who are not hunting.

In the next issue, I'll give you gals some tips to prepare for your first hunting experience. Until then, stay cool!

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