It’s funny how one successful hunt can completely restore your faith in hunting, and make up for all those agonizing times of misfortune.
I’ve been extremely blessed to be raised in a family that hunts, and I’ve been hunting since I was very little. Like every hunter, I’ve had my share of ups and downs with this sport, learning valuable life lessons primarily through missed shots and missed opportunities – these are often when the most important lessons are learned.
This past weekend had a different tune to it, however, and I learned quite possibly the most important hunting lesson after harvesting my first buck with my bow.
It was a warm evening, but the wind was in my favor, so I decided to go sit in my stand for a while. Plus, when I pulled my trail cam card after hunting that morning, I saw some shooters that were arriving to my stand later in the day.
I had been sitting in my stand for a couple hours before deciding to stand for the last hour or so known as the “power hour.” It wasn’t long before this guy came in, intrigued by the fresh pile of carrots I just put out. I watched him for quite sometime, waiting to see if one of the big boys would come chase him out. But after about 20 minutes of watching him mow down my carrots, the taste of backstraps became overwhelming. I arrowed him at 30 yards with a perfectly placed, quartering-away shot, and my 3-blade Rage broadhead did the rest. He didn’t run more than 40 yards.
At first, I couldn’t help but feel a little greedy after shooting a spike. We had pictures of some nice bucks on our trail cams, and admittedly, I wanted to shoot something a bit bigger. But when my dad and I tracked and found that deer together, that all went out the window. I finally got a deer with my bow, and my dad was there with me, I can’t ask for much more than that.
My dad and I have been hunting together since he had to carry me out to his stand with him. He’s easily my favorite hunting partner, and getting this deer was no doubt a victory for both of us.
It was a humbling reminder to me that the number of antler points only matters in the record books, and the most important thing is I’m able to fill my fridge with free-range, organic meat that I worked hard for, and there’s a lot of it!
That’s what it’s all about after all, am I right? That’s why we get up early on our days off and go out hunting. That’s the lesson learned here; It’s not the size of the rack that matters, it’s creating memories and providing food for your family. Harvesting a deer goes much further than the pictures you take with it.
Lastly, shooting this deer meant a little extra to me and my dad this year. You see . . . sadly, the week before opening day in Michigan, we received news that my great uncle (my dad’s uncle) had passed away while on an elk hunt in Wyoming. He was a huge hunter, and loved all things outdoors. He was kind and could make you cry laughing from his stories. I set out this season with one goal: Get a buck for Uncle Louie.
Mission accomplished; This buck was for you, Louie.
With all that being said, it’s time to throw down and cook up some amazing venison dishes. If you enjoy the taste of venison, one thing is for sure: my house is the place to be. I can already taste the grilled backstraps and venison chili, and maybe a few of my favorite craft beverages to celebrate. Cheers!