I suppose someone has tagged a deer the first time they stepped into the woods, but that definitely wasn’t me.
My first time in the woods with Sparky was on New Years Eve day 2015. We had been dating for ten months, and this would be an introductory experience of sorts. This was a test to see if I could stand the walk in & out, the quiet, sitting still, and the cold.
I learned four things in the box stand that day:
- It was peaceful.
- I wanted to learn as much as possible.
- I wanted to kill something we could eat & mount (okay that might be two, whatever).
- I’m always freakishly cold, so I needed to wear more layers. LOL
After that introductory experience, I’ve been in the woods more times than I can count – sometimes in a tree stand or ground blind, but also scouting & prepping for upcoming seasons. For a girl who grew up in the city, and still lives there half-time for work, I have come a LONG way…and I tagged my first doe!
Peace In The Pines
So, y’all might recall that I work night-shift. I’ve worked night-shift for about ten years, which also means I’m a night owl. I’m not on ‘the list’ to go to days because I don’t like waking up at 0400. That is further proof that I really like being in the woods, because this girl doesn’t wake up easy, especially when it’s probable my flat butt is gonna freeze.
Hot Hands & thermals can only do so much, ya know?
I really like being in the woods – the smell of fresh air, the sounds of nature (minus squirrels who sound like MUCH bigger animals), and the peace that just washes over me sitting in a stand. And of course I LOVE sharing this with Sparky.
There is nothing like it.
Peaceful surroundings are absolutely worth getting up early, & you should definitely try it if you haven’t yet. If your honey is trying to get you in the woods, you should give it a go at least once. You might find it’s one more thing you can do & love together.
New Goals = Learning New Skills
Most of what I’ve learned I attribute to Sparky. I’m blessed because he is patient, great at explaining things, & very encouraging. There’s no doubt that I have tried his patience at times, but you’d never know it.
Yep, I hit the jackpot.
Sparky taught me gun & hunting safety, how to shoot my firearms, how to get ready, when to get out there, what to expect, the list could go on & on. We also spent quite a few hours filling feeders, checking trail cameras, and prepping blinds.
I learned a lot this year.
Since time is of short supply sometimes with my schedule, I purchased a self-paced online hunters education course through HUNTERcourse.com and completed it a little at a time. It was a great program & I highly recommend it (I paid for the program & I’m not being compensated). I was pretty proud when I passed my test & printed my certification.
This girl was also happy to stand in a long line at Wal-Mart & get her hunting license. Now that is something I never would’ve imagined.
On my search to learn more, I found REEL CAMO GIRL , became a Reel Camo Girl Brand Champion, and joined with them to encourage women to explore the outdoors. This group has been amazingly supportive to me as a newbie hunter. Some of these women have been engaged in the outdoors their whole lives, but are thrilled when someone like myself takes it up & loves it too.
Doe A Deer
We squeezed in a morning hunt after we got back from the honeymoon & I was still off work. Sparky was actually working the night before, & I was supposed to go to bed early. My night owl self got just under four hours of sleep, but I was up & getting ready before he got home.
We headed to one of my two favorite spots in Smithland, Texas.
The spot we chose for the ground blind is absolutely breathtaking. Personally, I feel close to God sitting under those tall pines & breathing in their heavenly scent. There’s not a candle in the world that can match that.
Of course we were in the blind before nature wakes up, and sitting quietly in the dark. I saw the sunrise, which is definitely rare for me.
After the sun came up, I snapped a few pictures, but I don’t play on my phone in the blind. I soak up the moment, watch for wildlife, and sometimes reflect on all the blessings God has given me.
About 0830, I started to feel like I could nod off. I was actually warm, which is quite rare for me. Sparky told me he normally sees something around 0930. I willed myself to stay alert.
Sure enough, 0910 two does walk into sight. We watched them for a few minutes & I debated about whether I had a shot. I wanted a ‘good clean shot’ or I’d wait.
Sparky asked me if I thought I had it, and I answered that I did. A few seconds later, at 0913, I shot my first doe. My hearing protection was in my lap, and all I could hear was ringing, but I did it! Sparky was a little stunned, too. Oops.
We sat in the blind for a bit, then ventured out & found my doe.
I’m proud of my first deer; I tagged a pretty whitetail doe.
We processed it ourselves once we got home. Sparky has a nifty contraption for hanging the game so the meat can be harvested from the back of his truck. We then put the meat on ice & salt for about 5 days.
Now it’s bagged up & in the freezer, waiting for us to cook up something tasty.
99.9% EXCEPT the day I got my first deer. Seriously. I was layered up as usual, but Texas weather is a bit crazy, and it was unseasonably warm that morning. That morning, I was stripping some layers off in that ground blind. Ha!
At work, if I have a few minutes to spare, you can find me standing next to the blanket warmer in the nursery. There are several ridiculously funny pics of me layered up & at the warmer – I’m talking thermals, scrubs, jacket, blanket around my neck, and still at the blanket warmer door trying to suck up all the heat.
I wear Cuddl’ duds softwear thermals and love them. I know I’m a city girl & newbie hunter, and you probably have something else that you think is better, but these work for me. Besides, shouldn’t the point be getting out there & getting started?
Hunting clothing & gear can definitely get expensive quickly. I say use what you can that you already have, borrow some, and get started slowly.
Layers are the secret though – you can layer up & down as needed. That’s my 2 cents anyhow.
My favorite quote is from Christian author C.S. Lewis, and states, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” My brother had this on a picture of me at my graduation from Nursing school, because I graduated as an adult.
It’s me to the T, y’all. It says keep living, find new things to love, & go after them!
I found some new goals & dreams & I’m headed after them – I’ve experienced some peaceful moments, learned a lot (& still learning), killed a wild hog & deer that we can EAT, and I’ve learned how to keep my freakishly cold body warm while doing it! Ha!