It’s officially mid-November and I have yet to harvest my first deer. This is partly due to a crazy schedule and partly due to my hesitation to shoot a doe back in October. But despite my lack of freezer-filling, it has been a lot of fun so far and every time I go out there, I learn something new.
I have become obsessed with the show Meat Eater. Each episode, hunter Steven Rinella brings us along on a journey either in search of a beautiful Elk (I think I hold Elk in such high esteem that I subconsciously capitalized the “E” and I’m going to leave it that way =] ), turkey, squirrels, catfish, and many other creatures. He also shows us how to cook the meat, which I think is really great since I love watching cooking shows [[Shout out to the Pioneer Woman]].
I have found myself in silent tears during more than one episode, because to me…hunting is so emotional. The whole thing. Sometimes I find myself daydreaming about the moment I finally have my first deer in my peep-sight. How the time will freeze and my heart will be pounding in my chest as I prepare to end the life of a beautiful creature to sustain my own. How I’ll slowly slowly slowly press the trigger of my release and watch the nock of my arrow light up and silently speed towards my target. The quiet of the woods around me and the thumping of my heart in my chest. I know in that moment I’m going to cry and it’s going to be amazing and I pray that my arrow will end the deer’s life quickly. I know it won’t be perfect because I still have so much to learn and hopefully many more seasons in which to do the learning.
It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. If it doesn’t happen this year, I’m totally ok with that. Each time I go into the woods I learn something new. Not only that, but within a month I got to watch a little fawn eating right under the stand I was in…I saw 3 coyotes sneaking through the trees like furry ninjas…a fisher caught off guard and engaging in a staring contest…so it’s amazing being out there despite my lack of a harvest so far.
Being in the woods, being as silent as you can be and getting to observe the habitat that so many animals call home amidst our busy schedules is so humbling. It reminds me that despite what happens in my life, the stress that may come and go, these places are still there. These systems and cycles go on and on and on year after year. These animals go quietly through the woods either as predator or prey (or sometimes both) and the humans with which they share a world are usually completely unaware of the drama unfolding around them.
Every minute I spend in the woods patiently waiting and listening, sometimes closing my eyes to try and hear things more acutely, is a step in the right direction and leaves me with a greater need to spend as much time as I can out there. To any other women out there who are hesitant about giving it a try, I say go for it. You won't regret it.