Women Go Hunting: A Heart-Racing, Deer-Chasing, Night of Endless Celebration

I never hunted for myself until I was 34 years old, even though as a child, I walked along with my dad and sat with him when he bowhunted near our home. In 2010, my husband, Peter, got the idea that we should take up bowhunting together to learn something new and engage in a hobby as a couple. I have been hunting for 14 years now.

The day will forever be etched in my memory when seven years of patience and perseverance finally paid off from 23 yards away and 17 feet off the ground, through shaking hands and a heart pounding in nervous expectation! 

I had spent many seasons enjoying the squirrels, blue jays, does and fawns, and only once had seen a buck approach my stand, though not within shooting range. The afternoon of November 4, 2016, we arrived at our cabin earlier than usual, but much later than we typically ever go out hunting. I wasn’t planning to hunt at all and had Peter not gone out, I never would have done so. It was 4:00 PM when I headed out to the stand, and sunset was at 5:38.

Sunset came and went, and I knew my time to stop hunting was drawing near. Then I saw several deer emerge from the woods and make their way to the food plot I was overlooking. 
The does were there only minutes when I saw a monster strut out of the woods and make his way to them. He walked casually, not a care in the world, with just one thing on his mind, holding his head confidently and without noticing his nemesis 17 feet off the ground. 

I looked through the peep sight and couldn’t see anything! I got myself settled and focused but then I noticed the bubble in my level was off to the right. I frantically adjusted to no avail. Panicked, I couldn’t figure out which way to tilt the bow to level it. Finally (all of three to four seconds later), I got it leveled and could see through the peep. I maximized my draw a half inch more as I heard Peter’s coaching in my head. “Be quick in the moment; don’t wait as long as you do when target practicing.” I ensured I was well behind the buck’s shoulder, aimed slightly higher to account for the distance, and in that adrenaline-filled moment I released the arrow. It felt like an eternity had passed, but I figured out later that it was about 20 seconds total from the time the buck emerged from the woods until I shot, and I made it within minutes of legal hunting time!

He jumped, that famous white tail flew up, the does scattered, and he ran straight back into the woods. After setting down my bow, I immediately took out my phone and, with a full-body shake going on, attempted to text something coherent to my husband. “I just shot!!!!!!!!!” Followed by “8-pointer” then “I’m shaking to death” and “Oh, I hope I got him” followed by “Dying!!!!” 

I descended my perch and headed to the cabin to bring my stuff in, get a flashlight, and get some gloves on my freezing bare hands. I discovered my gloves were in my pocket the whole time. I went back to look at the site of the shot holding my breath to see if my arrow was there. No sight of the arrow! 

Peter arrived, and we began looking for the blood trail. Words cannot describe the elation we both felt when we saw that first, huge, crimson drop on a dry leaf. Peter assured me that it was a good bleed and that I got him! We started the adventure of tracking each blood spot, our hearts beating harder with anticipation as we made our way through the woods only 94 yards until we beheld the sight of my majestic 10-pointer on the ground. We were like kids on Christmas morning, jumping in excitement. This deer is officially the biggest anyone in our either of our families had ever gotten in 60 years of hunting this area!!

I’ve only come to discover SCI this year due to Jim Shockey’s posts in Nashville. An organization like SCI is more important than ever as our culture is rapidly changing and seems to be moving away from the founding values of this country. I love that SCI also has a division focusing on women hunting. It hasn’t been easy finding organizations with like-minded women. – Sara Pasterski

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