28 Mar Just like Men, Only Prettier: Feeling Like No Other-By Heidi Manley WKP Pro Staffer
Just Like Men, Only Prettier!
Blog – Like No Other
I am a firm believer that God works in strange ways and every event that occurs in our lives happens for a reason. Sitting in a stand amongst the wonderful creations around us is a feeling second to none, and a creation of some of the most amazing memories ever made. Do you remember your first sit? Your first deer? Who you sat with and what type of weapon you used? Most of us can answer yes to these questions because these memories will last us the rest of our lives.
Early November is the usual time of the hunting season that people have a tendency to capitalize of their big buck hit list; the odds are in your favor even when the wind is not. With minimal knowledge of how to play the wind or best times of the year, I was fortunate enough to meet Mike around prime time. November 7th, after a long day at work, Mike called me up to see if I wanted to go on our first date; which rightfully consisted of a tree, a stand, a bow and a camera. It all started out like a normal day of hunting, which in my experience was going into the woods with high hopes and coming out empty handed. As Mike took me out to his super-secret cedar spot with the bow in hand and Lonewolf on my back, I realized this was a completely new ball game compared to what I was used to.
After a half hour of getting the shush look from Mike after stepping on every branch and leaf found in the woods, we finally made it to the tree he had picked out for the kill. I felt completely helpless as I stood watching him strap on the climbing sticks up to the hang on stands from the ground, but after no time he was ready for me to climb up and kill. What seemed like forever of sitting and listening and watching for movement (which in reality was only an hour) I finally heard it, the sound of leaves being crushed under the hooves of several deer. My heart was about to beat out of my chest as the sound got closer and closer. I stood up and drew back. Out ran a fawn about 8 yards broadside and stopped, looked around, and ran, following her was her mom doing the same thing, broadside looking around, then ran. I was beating myself up inside so hard for not shooting, she was there with a perfect shot and I froze. Still drew back I heard Mike from the stand next to me whisper “get ready, get ready!” I then brought my attention back to where the doe had just ran out, and out he came. Like an instant replay, a buck ran out 8 yards broadside and stopped right in front of me.
“Meh!” came out of Mikes’ mouth and immediately my finger tapped the trigger and the arrow was gone, and so was the buck. I don’t even remember looking through my sights and I assumed I missed, but the look on Mike’s face made me believe otherwise. After him watching the footage over and over again, he was able to show me a still shot of the exact spot my arrow went in, perfectly tucked behind the shoulder. Wow! I finally did it, and I couldn’t stop shaking! For the next 45 minutes, Mike made me sit before finally letting me get down to follow my first blood trail.
Thank God Mike knew what he was doing when it came to the takedown of the setup because I was in no mood to be waiting for him. But in a matter of minutes, the climbing sticks were strapped to the hang on stand and we were tracking. I had no idea what to expect. Would it just be like someone dumped a bucket of red paint in a line leading straight to the deer, or would it be a complete guessing game and heading in the general direction of where he ran? Coming to my surprise I found it easier than expected, although it was not a solid red streak it was an easy follow but started disappearing the further we got. I began to get disappointed thinking I messed up in some way, but Mike told me to stand on last blood and continued walking ahead of me for about 10 yards, then turned around and pointed that darn camera in my face again, pointed ahead, and said: “go ahead, go get him!”
I just about stopped in my tracks once I saw that course, tan body lying lifeless on the floor of the woods. There he was, MY buck! Walking up on what at the time was my greatest accomplishment was a feeling so amazing I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s a mixture of emotions, that list includes, excitement, sorrow, overwhelmed, joy…. Basically sensory overload!
I was a little hesitant at first, was he really dead or was he just laying there because he was hurt? But lack of breathing and movement lead me to believe he was actually dead so I walked behind his final resting place and picked up his head (which was much heavier than I expected) and just stared. Looking up at Mike, whom had an almost bigger smile than me, asked me if I knew he was a half rack when I shot him. I never even noticed! Nor did I care!
Everyone has to start somewhere, whether it’s your parents or grandparents that take you on your first hunt, or you’re starting by yourself with no guidance, there’s no better feeling than that first kill under your belt! I could have given up several times with my lack of producing a kill, but I kept at it, and thank God I did, because I probably never would have met Mike and his parents, who have taken me under their wing and showed me the ropes. And with the knowledge they have provided me, I am now confident enough that I can help others with the basics. By no means am I pro, nowhere near there, I make mistakes still almost every time I’m out, but I’m still learning and as long as I take those mistakes and use what I learned I will get to where I need to be!