When I had met my wife Stacie over 5 years ago, she had expressed that she had enjoyment for things outdoors. Fishing was one thing as who doesn’t like to spend days on the water when it is nice out, basking in the sun? However, that First Fall she had spent some time in the deer stand with me and what I thought was normal for me she shocked me with her willingness to spend some time in the stand in some nasty cold conditions and she was not even hunting??? At the time, I figured she was just doing it to spend some time with me and try to impress me as I was gone every weekend in the Fall and at that time she lived in Rochester which meant very little time together. After a year of being together and a full hunting season behind us. I had a bow laying around that I had originally bought for my Dad, but due to health conditions he was unable to use it. So I offered it to her and told her if she wanted to shoot it, she could. She picked it up, started to shoot with it and within a month she had a robin hood under her belt. It all escalated from there. The following Fall she hunted a few times and seemed to enjoy the encounters we shared. So for the past 3 Falls she has hunted, but the properties we hunted never really gave her an opportunity to shoot a doe as they were mainly Lottery zones and she was holding out for a buck. Now when I say, buck, I mean reall big buck. Stacie has had some incredible encounters with some record class bucks and has been inches, feet, steps, one little tree branch away from harvesting some 120-150 inch deer. But she always ended up on the short end of the stick, like many of us bow hunters have experienced.
Well, that is a little history and brings us forward to this year, her fourth season and more determined then ever. Everything was dialed in when she had her new DXT set up @ Schaffers Performance Archery last Year. Now it was just a matter of tweaking her form and lots of practice to extend her once limited effective range. She worked hard this summer shooting and practicing in the yard and at the IDO Hunting GTG/Archery shoot. With her comfort effective range extended I was pretty confident in her shooting out to at least 30 yards. As reported earlier, she had some encounters including passing up a pretty nice 110” 4×4 (8 Point) opening week this year, that she will not let me talk about. Well that bring us forward to Friday night, where weather was finally cooperating and it just seemed like a good day to be in the woods. As I was sure the deer would be up and moving. With high anticipation, we were greeted with very minimal deer sightings as we seen about 4 does and fawns that were spooked by something and came running across in front of us. As our hunt was close to being over with, kind of frustrated and wondering why we did not see more deer this evening? The light was quickly starting to fade, when out of nowhere pops out the answer to our problem. Mr. Coyote comes into our field and circles around the outside of it when he is just about to go off the field as I’m trying to film him and mess with camera settings to allow more light into the lens. When out of no where my wife does her best personation of a squirrel and stops this Yote dead in his tracks on the field edge. Like a seasoned pro she does it again, just like that this boy is running straight at us and closing the distance fast as Stacie comes to full draw. The Yote hits about 20 yards and I let out a whistle to stop it as he hits the skids and comes to a stop looking for what peeked his curiosity. I can see that Stacie is struggling and I ask her and she says she can’t see it that good through her peep in the low light conditions. The Coyote begins to scamper away when she stops him with her mouth and just as I zoom in with the camera on the Yote. She touches her trigger off and I see her lighted nock on her arrow enter my camera viewfinder and just skim right under and in front of the Yotes neck and chin as he decided it is time to get out of here and move on. She was mad and upset, but it seemed to have a positive effect on her as she again surprised me and matured as a Hunter right in front of my eyes.
That brings us to Saturday mornings hunt as the alarm clock went off way too early as I did not get to bed until late as I was preparing for the morning hunt with rewashing & drying clothes, preparing camera gear and etc. We were hunting a piece I was fairly familiar with and just moved a ladder stand in August where I had seen deer movement while scouting. The stand would be perfect with a SE wind and that was exactly what we had when we showed up to the property @ 5:45 am. The thing that had me even more excited was the temp on the truck read 47 degrees and by far the coolest weather we had hunted in this Fall. Stacie and I lug all the gear in and hang my Muddy Outdoor camera stand and arm in a very small tree to her right as she is getting settled in the stand. Right at first light we had a few deer come through off in the distance about 40-50 yards out. The sun finally had popped above the horizon and about 7:20 that morning Stacie informed me that there was deer working our way from behind me. I just held tight and asked her how many as I got the camera ready to roll doing lighting, color and sound checks. She said, “2 deer, no 4 deer, no 6 or 7, I’m not sure?” Well somebody opened up the flood gates because before we knew it, we were covered in deer. There was no question we had picked the right stand and it was only a matter of time Stacie would have her opportunity if she so elected. I reminded her that she had the green light on a doe and she responded back she did not want to screw up the area and wanted to hold out for a buck. We soon had those deer all around us in very close quarters as I was filming a small 1.5 year old 6 point coming into only a few yards. When I caught motion of another small 2.5 year old brushing up against Stacie’ s ladder stand as I tired to film straight below us but ended up hitting my camera arm. All the deer kept looking up on top of the ridge at something as they were curious, but some were also stomping at whatever was up there. A few does could not take the curiosity any longer and had to go up and investigate.
Being surrounded in deer but their attention drawn to the top of the ridge a big doe was in Stacie’s range as I told her she could just draw back on that doe if she wanted to. Well to my surprise she did but the doe moved at the same time to get a better look at the ridge and stopped behind some brush. Stacie held it back for quite a long time waiting for this doe to make a move but she didn’t, forcing Stacie to let down after well over a minute. Doing so, one of the bucks caught her movement and scampered 5-6 yards, stopped, to look back at us, but our back drop in this stand was excellent as we stayed concealed from the deer and the buck went back about his business. A doe soon came running down from the ridge and took all the deer with her, as I had just finished counting 11 deer in view plus the 2 that came scurrying from the ridge. A few minutes later Stacie spotted another doe coming down the trail from the ridge that would bring her 20 yards away in Stacie’s shooting lane. Stacie drew back again and was now in her second stand off of the morning as this doe stopped and was doing everything she could not to present Stacie a shot. I started thinking WOW, she has held her bow back for a long time again as the doe entered her shooting lane, but decided to veer off the trail and come straight at us again not offering Stacie a shot. The doe slowly closed the distance to under 10 yards and went under some hanging limbs that gave us cover and gave Stacie the opportunity to let down for the 2nd time that morning. The doe must of heard something as she froze for a minute trying to scan and see where the sound came from. The doe slowly started to back up and turn away from us leaving the way she came as my wife drew her bow back for a 3rd time that cool crisp morning. However, this time the doe positioned herself slightly quartering away from us as she stopped on the little knoll looking back to possibly see what had startled her. The doe had a blank look on her face as she had no clue a Carbon Express arrow was locked, loaded and ready to be deployed to her vitals. Stacie, as if she has been in this position many times before calmly asked me to confirm the range of 15 yards and I replied yes. I zoom the camera in on the doe as she stares blankly back in our direction, as if the doe was waiting to see Stacie make the next move of this chess match as was I. I now strictly focus my attention to the camera and the doe as I’m anxiously waiting for Stacie to find her spot and touch her trigger off for what seemed like forever. Finally, I hear the sound of her bow and see the impact on the screen not knowing what happened first. My eyes relay the info to my brain of seeing Stacie’s arrow impact the doe and the doe spins and heads back up the ridge. My brain recollects seeing the arrow sticking out of the doe with a red circle around it. I try to follow the doe with the camera in the thick cover of the September woods, but lose her instantly as I pan the camera back to my wife. She is focused on trying to watch the doe as it runs off and finally she looks at the camera and lets out a smile as we exchange a few quick “knuckles”. I finally hear the sound of the doe running through the woods and soon hear a loud crash not to far behind me as Stacie gets a surprised look on her face and winces from the thought of the doe crashing as we again exchange “knuckles” and start to talk about what had happened and what was happening currently. Excitement and gratitude took over from there as the adrenaline rush started to build and take effect on Stacie as she sat down in her ladder stand and started to shake. A few minutes past and the adrenaline was still flowing freely as Stacie started to get the “cold shakes”. I asked her if she was cold, she said no and I then asked why she was shaking. Even though we heard the doe crash behind us and verifying a good hit on the camera, we still gave her 45 minutes to let the remaining deer work through the area as we encountered 2 more does and a fawn that morning and let two peoples emotions settle down closer to normal.. Even though I had a pretty good idea of where the doe was lying, I had Stacie track the deer via blood and we had blood on the site of impact and plenty to follow the whole way as Stacie found the doe laying on the bottom of the ridge as she looked back and a big smile came across her face again. The doe had made it about 80 yards before crashing down from the top of the ridge.
Being able to share this passion of mine with my best friend and seeing that excitement of her getting her first deer is unbelievable. But being able to see it first hand and capture the whole thing on film is beyond comprehension. I’m so proud of her and all the hard work and patience has finally paid off for her in a big way. I’m still a little shocked at how long she had held back on those does and still having enough stamina to pull it all together and drop da when it counted. Well with the first one out of the way, that will now let her focus on the “big boy”. Congrats Baby on a great harvest of a mature doe. With the front that moved through last night as Brad and I were sitting in the tree in Buffalo County, it has me even more amped up, for it seems that Fall has finally arrived. What’s next? I’m not sure, but stay tuned because I can promise you it will be exciting. Until next time, I’m outie! Oh yeah I forgot, Staice says TEAM #23 is on the board!
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