Waiting Fourteen Years for the Hunt of a Lifetime
by Marijo Phelps 12/20/2010 / Recreation
Deer, buck, rack, crawling over desert terrain where there is supposed to be snow this time of the year. Tomorrow we will leave our home in the mountain meadow to drive four hours to Pinon Canyon for me to hunt for a "trophy buck". I have been collecting "preference points" for fourteen years to be able to make this hunt. We have to get drawn to go and need those costly preference points to have a hope of being drawn.
Pinon Canyon is a military installation which gives about 20 hunters permission to hunt the acres and acres during the season I drew a tag for. Yes, it has rattle snakes and tarantulas but in December they are supposed to be "asleep". I am not sure what will actually happen as we are getting warmer than usual weather and it should hit 57 degrees in the canyon tomorrow. I might like hiking but prefer to do it where nothing wants to kill me. I know, tarantulas aren't that poisonous but you can be just as dead from a heart attack as a poisonous bite. Then there are those rattle snakes.
I have been target shooting to get ready. My favorite position is sitting with my left knee raised to steady my left elbow in holding my 7mm08 rifle. My husband thinks I should impress guys who hunt by saying that a 7mm08 is a necked down 308 so I will throw that in for those who care.
No, I was not a tom boy growing up and I didn't have any brothers. I was the ice skater who began that sport a bit late in life to do anything serious with it except pass a few tests and be in several ice shows having fun and making friends. Yes, I have always loved the outdoors, hiking, canoeing and camping. The only PE course I got above a C in was shooting in college. Last Saturday I practiced.
"Hey, Jo, that's a good group they would all be killing shots!" my hubby the Tour Guide is quite the encourager. As we went "down range" to look at the target I could see that he was right. That was a relief to me.
He tried to take some shots the way I was shooting. Sat down, left knee up and used to steady his elbow. Soon he stopped and said "I don't know how you can shoot that way, I am moving all over the place and would make a real mess of this. You know, Jo, those shots you made most guys couldn't do with the gun in a gun rest on top of a table."
OK should I be impressed? Mick is a superb shooter and can always make a tight group of shots with any gun, at any distance with any weather conditions. He has coached me for years and I guess something is working well.
"Are you getting excited about your hunt?"
Pausing, I think. That would not be the word I would use, excited. "Honey, I am actually dreading it. My main focus is getting a clean quick shot which will drop that buck in his tracks. The worst thing which could happen would be for me to miss a bit and wound him but have him suffer."
"Jo, if you don't want to go I would not think any less of that decision. It always leaves most hunters with a bit or remorse after they shoot an animal, you know."
I remembered back to his last deer. I fixed some venison chili about two weeks later and he took one bite and couldn't eat it, said to wait awhile longer before cooking it for him.
"Hey, I have been waiting fourteen years to do this hunt and I have to go, besides it is meat in the freezer and that would help out the grocery budget, right?"
The hunt is on. We plan to stay in a hotel and make sort of a vacation of this since we can't camp in the hunting area. Wake up warm and take off before the sun comes up to get to the site and catch an evening meal in a restaurant. That should work.
Today I am running around the house in my cammies. No, I am not a nut, I have to unpack my usual hiking fanny pack and put all the things I take in that into my cargo pants with many pockets. Makes sense to wear them as I am packing, since I am packing them. A knife and lighter in this pocket, gloves and a pen to fill out the deer tag in that pocket my hunting tag, all the ID the military requires to come on that base, gun permit, wild lands hiking permit, driver's license and insurance card because I am definitely not taking my purse. Do you suppose I will even be able to take my sitting shot after I get the pants packed? Yes, I tested that out earlier.
I work up this morning to hear Mick in the kitchen yelling NO, NO, NO. I was sure our orange tabby was being bad and could see him up on the counter top. Finally I heard "are you dead in there?" It was then I realized the Tour Guide was hollering "Jo, Jo, Jo." "Come quick!"
I jumped out of bed and ran to the kitchen where Mick was the blinds were open and in the dawn we looked out across our back fence and there were right around two hundred elk grazing in the neighboring land. What a sight but I was still sleepy and didn't try to find the camera or my shoes to go on the deck and capture their picture.
About an hour later the phone is ringing "Jo, I want you to go and get your 7mm08 and practice on those elk." I grinned as I knew he was kidding and those elk were long gone but it showed me that Mick was really excited about my hunt.
He told me not too long ago that he hoped I got an ever bigger buck than he did as he'd love to be able to point to it on our living room wall and say Jo got that one and the littler one is mine.
Stay tuned and we will soon find out about that one! And tomorrow the ice skater becomes, once again, a hunter of Buck-bi. (That's Bambi's pop) GRIN
(We had a wonderful time for about 7 days - saw and stalked some incredible bucks but they then became invisible - that's how they got to be so incredible - smart guys... the bucks are safe and my blood pressure went so high we had to come home 3 days early. Had great "couple time" even though we came back with nothing for the freezer)
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.
Saved by His grace in 1974, from 9 years of professing atheism into His loving arms. RN for 23 years, missionary with YWAM then statistical analyst for Every Home for Christ over 9 years. Living with my husband in the middle of a mountain meadow. GRIN! Wanting to spread the good news