Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wall Hanger

I finally did it. I didn't think it would happen this fast, but it did. I'm still in shock. It still makes me smile when I think about it.

Gather around kids, it's story time:

Sunday afternoon, 1:00. We were called away from our main hunting group to go help out some other friends who had some nice deer spotted, and wanted some help flushing them out. Aaron and I gladly accepted the invite.

30 minutes later we were sitting there staring into some empty woods wondering if these deer even existed. Aaron asked "What do you want to do? Should we go back to our original group, or wait this out?". I didn't answer. I always love the chance at taking down a nice buck, but I also get impatient when nothing is happening. He said "I'm gonna take a piss, and you think about what you want to do." Just as he turned around and unzipped his pants, two bucks were on a dead sprint about 100 yards in front of us. The first one was BIG, the second one was average. I took 3 or 4 shots, but they weren't good shots, they were just prayers.

We took off around the curve as fast as we could with our adrenaline pumping at full tilt.

Explanation needed here: If you haven't deer hunted before, or hunted in general, then you probably have no idea why a person would get so excited about seeing a nice deer. It's very hard to explain. It's like trying to explain to a non-motorcycle rider why riding a motorcycle out on the open road is a life altering experience. The best way I can describe it is that it's not just hunting, it's a more of a life experience. It's bonding with God's green earth and bonding with your fellow hunters. Everyone who has shot a trophy animal always says that when you can take down one of the most beautiful and sought after animals on the planet, you feel a sense of accomplishment like no other. It's very addicting, and the rush is like no other rush in existance. When you see that deer running full speed, with that gigantic rack displayed proudly on top of his head like a super bowl trophy, it absolutely takes your breath away. Think about how many hunters have seen that deer, spent countless hours tracking that deer in the hopes of just seeing it again, let alone actually getting the chance to take a shot at it. Think how many have shot and missed. Deer like that are rare, they don't show their faces that often. They're insanely smart. They know how to avoid hunters, which is why they've been able to live for so long and develop a trophy rack. They don't take the chances that doe's take, or younger male deer take. They think about their every move, and memorize safe havens to run to in case things get hairy.

OK, back to my story.
We round the curve as fast as we can and the only thing I can think about is how big that freaking first buck was. I knew that I'd be lucky to see him again. We were making a lot of noise with our movements, and deer don't like noise or movement. But, divine intervention stepped in and offered me up one chance to take this magnificent buck. He was in full stride about 50 yards ahead of me, 10 yard from jumping a fence. If he jumps that fence, he's gone. He will disappear into a patch of thick brushy timber, never to be seen again.

I stopped, and in slow motion I brought my gun up, the sights aligned perfectly, the deer was in mid air jumping over the fence, I squeezed the trigger with the sights lined up on the kill zone... BOOM... and like the perfect ending to a fairy tail, the deer dropped. Instantly.

The entire universe was silent for a brief moment.


To be honest, I couldn't believe it either.

I slowly lowered my pistol (that's right, I shot it with a pistol) to my side, and like a tidal wave, it hit me. I looked at Aaron and let out a scream that shook the timbers 2 sections over. We were dancing around like two school girls in ballerina dresses who just got their first kiss. But, we didn't care.

After awhile we actually settled down, I stared at the deer in bewilderment like I had just won the lottery and didn't know what to say.

We went down in the ditch to get a better look at him, and each second we spent looking it over, I got more and more excited. My legs shook for 30 minutes, my body was trying to get the adrenaline pumped out and settled down, but it wasn't happening.

This buck has one of the most unique racks I've ever seen. It has a lot of distinct points close to it's brow, good height and width, thick mass, and great balance. We believe it has 11 scorable points on it, with a possibility of 12.

I have nothing but respect for these creatures, and I look at them as a thing of beauty every single time we spot one. We hunt them and we respect them.

This hunt was the shot of a lifetime. People hunt their whole lives and never get a chance to shoot a trophy buck like this. I am very grateful that I was presented with this opportunity.

In a matter of minutes both hunting groups gathered around to look him over. People shook my hand and said "Congratulations" over and over. Hunters called their friends and dads to come look at it. It was the talk of the group for the rest of the night. I was on cloud nine.

He will hang on my wall as a reminder of this unbelievable experience.
I will never forget the feeling of that hunt and will always remember the slow motion shot that made me king for a day.

He will be back from the taxidermist in October of next year, and that is going to feel like an eternity. A wise man once said "good things come to those who wait", and I can hardly wait.

Now, all I have to do is come up with a name for him.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hunting 2008

This year's deer hunting season was another success for my group in Southern Iowa. Two solid weekends of hunting has yielded us over 40 deer. We still have late season rifle coming in January, but for now, the hunting season is on pause.

Every year I stay in Creston, Iowa with Aaron Chapman, and this year he has added a new member to his family. A 1 year old Red Tailed Hawk named Izzy (short for Izabel). He has recently completed his Falconry license requirements and is able to hunt squirrels and rabbits with a Hawk. Very cool.

I got the chance to hunt with her Saturday morning, and it was quite an experience. We would walk around some brushy areas and try to flush rabbits out for Izzy to dive bomb. Izzy would follow us around from tree to tree, watching intently. We didn't get any rabbits, but Izzy flew down and got herself a nice field mouse. She's an amazing beautiful animal and it's very weird to be watching TV, while a hawk watches you.

Oh yeah, I got a BIG surprise coming to my blog in a couple days.

I left one piece of my hunting trip out that was the experience of a lifetime.

Stay tuned...