I was shaking like a lightning bolt hit me and glad I always get buck fever after a shot.
It was Minnesota deer firearms opener and I was in one of my favorite proven tree stands. We had gotten up and out on time, and settled in for the morning hunt. There weren't as many gunshots this year, but we had seen plenty of deer during archery season. At 7:30am I heard grunting and the familiar sound of something big running my way. My .308 bolt action was ready. A doe came streaking through the woods, stopping to look back, so I knew a buck was on her heels. She stopped again, this time downwind of me, and took off. I knew the grunting buck behind her would do the same and when he did, I snapped my rifle to my shoulder and took the shot. It was a spike buck, but my 'snap shot' was iffy.
My husband and I had agreed to party-hunt on deer opener this year since we had not harvested venison last year. We had worked hard all year scouting, grooming food plots, and getting gear ready.
I texted him after I shot the small buck. Since the deer were clearly moving and bucks were rutting, I got out my doe-in-heat can call and tipped it a few times. Suddenly a large bodied deer came out the thickets, looking for the girlfriend he thought he heard. I got ready for a shot. He was dogging the scent trail of the doe that had just run by earlier, but I noticed when he got to 40 yards, that he had two bloody holes where his antlers used to be. I shouldered my gun as he approached to a shooting lane, and got a perfect lung shot.
Two bucks in ten minutes!
After waiting 15 minutes to quit shaking, I went the direction the large buck ran and found him dead at 70 yards. I had seen a 10-12 pointer fighting with other bucks on one of my trail cameras so I assumed this larger buck had lost its antlers fighting with Mr. Big.
Finding a second blood trail, I realized my first shot was not the greatest and we might need to wait to track the deer. My husband joined me and we followed the blood trail but decided to hold off. I went back to camp, changed clothes and returned to drag and load up the bigger deer. My husband had trailed the smaller deer and had found it. Together, we dragged it out and now had two for the freezer.
Two days later, our processor called and said the larger deer had been hit by a vehicle before I shot it. After skinning it, most of the meat was bruised and bloody under the hide so the animal would have to be thrown away. He called our local CO to see if I could get my tag back, but DNR policy did not allow getting another deer with my rifle. Still wanting to hunt, I went the next day to buy my first crossbow. I wanted to try bow hunting small game but the movement of pulling a compound bow is so detectable with no leaves on the trees that I thought a crossbow would give a better advantage.
While siting in the crossbow at home, it misfired and all 180 pounds of draw weight grazed the top of two of my fingers. My hand felt paralyzed and was immediately numb. I pulled off my leather glove and the blood was flowing. I immediately went into shock, wrapped the hand in a towel, and called my husband who found me a ride to urgent care where I got several stitches. Not to be conquered by a fate, I was up in a tree stand hunting a few days later with the new crossbow. Later I found out one finger was actually fractured.
The moral of this story is:
Never give up. If you think you missed a shot, GO look for that deer. If you don't get your deer, go hunt for something else. If you have a bad experience, don't let it conquer you. Get right back in there and try again.
The best adventures in life often come at a cost. Wisdom is gained through working past your circumstances and making the choice to persevere.