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Hunting is my passion, as I can imagine it is the passion for most everyone here. I was born with this drive to pursue wild game, to harvest an animal and bring to my table the meat provided. Ever since I was old enough to remember I have been hunting. Growing up in Dallas, Texas with a father who has a passion for the outdoors I can remember long sits in the deer blind, the pre-dawn hours nestled into the tall milo fields waiting on the first signs of doves and of course the great fishing that the lakes around our house provided.

Archery First

I will admit to you right now, I have never taken a buck with my bow. It is not for a lack of opportunities, I have had many. But it seems that I can never seal the deal. Buck fever truly gets the best of me and I never can seem to harvest that first archery buck. But to me bow hunting is more than harvesting a mature white-tailed buck. To me, archery hunting means spending time alone in a tree stand, being in nature as the day awakens around you and eventually falls silent with the approaching night.

First Bow HarvestNo matter who you are, if you are a bow hunter you can remember your first archery deer. Collin Mann’s recent blog on his first archery buck was emotional and stirred within me my own memories of my first deer ever harvested with a bow. It was January, three weeks before season was to close. I had been trying all season to harvest a deer with my bow and I had used my tax return to purchase a bow that was fitted for a woman. It was shooting amazing and I was ready to get some use out of it. Public land in Missouri, if done right, can yield some amazing opportunities to harvest a deer. My stand was located in an archery only area and set very far away from any parking lots. I had only seen one other person hunt that area and it had been a week before the November firearms season.

I had patterned the deer, from their summer movements all the way up to their late season routes. I had moved my stand into the heavy timber, set up on a trail that led them into the soybean field 60 yards away. My friend had joined me, set up in a second stand along the edge of the bean field. Five inches of snow blanketed the ground, the day time temperature was fifteen. And I sat perched in my tree stand, bundled and ready for action. I have come to find that I like to hunt in the snow, the woods are eerily quiet, the landscape white and almost blinding at times. Deer can move in silence with the snow, and an hour before sundown I caught movement to my left. With slow and precise movements I turned to watch a herd of fifteen does make their way through the woods. In the front was a doe that I knew very well. She was the lead doe, old with a long nose and always on the look out.

FIrstBowWithJeanne and I togetherThis doe had seen me twice before in these woods and today I had expected the same thing. As they picked their way through the woods she stopped broadside to me at thirteen yards. Something had her attention ahead, and mid-draw she turned to stare directly at me. It was too late to let down on my bow so I finished my draw and stood with my pin on her shoulder, unmoving and with my heart hammering inside of my chest. She watched me before, once again, something had caught her eye ahead. I took the opportunity to release my arrow and watched my illuminated nock bound away with the old doe back into the woods. I was beyond excited. With shaking hands I texted my friend, who had thought her movement in the tree stand had scared away deer. I called my husband and then my father. I could not wait until dark to tract her, she had fallen once while running away.

We tracked her forty yards from my stand. It was a very long drag back to the car and after processing her I kept her skull and decided to do a shoulder mount (since I do taxidermy it was of little cost to me). Sure, most people want to mount their bucks, but this was my first archery harvest and I wanted to always remember that old doe. Her bottom jaw had her back teeth worn to the gum line and smooth, she was already missing many of her upper teeth. Based off of the deer aging paperwork available she was over 13 years old. I still smile when I look upon her mount, the memories flooding back to me of when I was finally able to harvest my first deer. I have harvest a few more since then and pray that this is the year I can harvest my first buck… Archery First!

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