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First Solo Deer Hunt
This is about my first solo deer hunt. After my first deer hunt with gramps and Ike, I was allowed to hunt alone some time later later. Gramps and Ike were hunting too but I was sent to the North end of the woods while gramps and Ike hunted the rest. I should explain here that each year we bought a license for each family member. That meant we could kill as many as 7 deer. Since gramps, Ike and now myself, were the only ones that hunted, we could each shoot two with one up for grabs. Usually, we only took enough to last until the next season. A few years later Angel started hunting. Did right well too.

Anyway, some days after my first deer kill with gramps, I was sent off alone. In the half light of early morning I found a game trail and settled myself in a good ambush site. Then I began my ordeal of waiting and watching, moving nothing but my eyeballs. And wait. And wait. I was freezing. I had to pee. But I waited some more.

Like a ghost, this big doe suddenly appeared at a bend in the trail. She stopped, looked around forever it seemed. A few more steps, stop, look. Then, it looked like she was going to go off trail and into the brush and trees. She was about forty or so yards away. Gramps's rule was wait until you could hit 'em with spit or don't shoot. But, I so wanted to prove myself, I couldn't bear to wait for another closer shot.

The old single shot shotgun was cocked as I brought it up and fired, all in one quick, smooth motion, like gramps taught me. The doe jumped, stumbled a bit, then ran and my heart sank into my socks. I had ignored all of what gramps told me, and failed. Knowing I had hit her brought tears to my eyes. I had to follow her up.

After a wait, I went to where she last stood. As luck would have it, I found a good blood trail. The bad luck part was, I followed that blood trail about a quarter mile before I found her. It was now past sundown.

I removed the entrails then dragged that big doe through brush and trees, in the dark to where we parked Ike's truck. It was gone. I collapsed in the snow and just sat there and bawled. I was exhausted. Then I noticed a cardboard box lying where the truck had been parked. It contained some rope and a piece of paper. Scrawled on the paper with a carpenter pencil was a note, ' We waited, then took our deer home. B back 4 u in a while. Hang you deer in a tree if u got 1'. In a different hand were the words ' u shot 2 soon didn ya duma**'.

So, I wrestled the doe to a tree, tied her rear legs and hoisted her over a limb so she was hanging off the ground. Then, in near total darkness I found as many small twigs, branches and limbs as I could and prepared them in a campfire pile, only to find I had no matches. I shivered away the night, walking and jumping up and down to keep warm as I could. As the sky began to lighten in the early dawn, I heard the familiar sound of a truck growling over frozen ground and through snow. Ike and gramps got out. They threw the doe into the back, gramps grinning and cackling the while. I was so cold I couldn't talk. Gramps held out his ever present fruit jar of Uncle Earl's home made whiskey and some fried egg, bacon and onion sandwiches. After gulping down some of the fiery liquid and eating, I began feeling more human. Ike asked why I didn't make a fire. Gramps asked did I learn anything. I learned more from those two men than they could ever know.

Submitted By: Hoppy from IA on 2009-11-11

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