I texted a picture of the darkened dashboard clock reading 6:19am to a girlfriend of mine and wrote, “If you can’t beat em’…join them. What it takes to see and be with my daughter.”
Its deer hunting season in Wisconsin and mine is a family that hunts.
That means waking up before dawn, dressing in layers of warm clothing and camouflage, driving to a designated spot and waiting…sometimes for hours…for the right moment and the right white tail deer.
My eldest daughter was home from college and this was meant to be her last morning hunting with her father. Realizing she had only a few hours before boarding her return flight to school, she opted instead to stay at the property and catch up on her sleep and studies.
I knew my husband was disappointed, but I also knew he understood.
I had accompanied my family on this trip to simply spend time with them – make meals together, listen to them tell me the details of the day’s adventures.
I stood there in the kitchen and heard myself say, “I’ll go.”
Like a kid on the sidelines suddenly recognizing a need on the field, I raised my hand and looked at my family and asked to be put in the game.
This was a first for me.
“Are you sure?” they asked.
“Yeah,” I responded. “I want to do this.”
There are many reasons why people choose to hunt. A fascination with the outdoors and a sense of tradition can certainly be considered top of that list. It’s a legacy for many of us here in the mid-west.
And it’s incredible for me to watch my husband, Tom, operate in such total solitude when he’s hunting.
Tom is a solutions man. He understands potential and opportunity and his energy is one of the first things people notice about him. He’s constantly moving, constantly on to what’s next and what can be done better.
So the idea of him sitting for hours in one place, very still, with nothing but fields on the horizon is a hard concept for me to fully reconcile with the man I see and know on a daily basis.
But there he was. Sitting next to me. Completely still. My sweetheart.
Just after 7am, we saw our first buck. This was the buck my daughters had been eyeing up the day prior.
I looked at Tom and said, “Can I shoot it?”
“You would do that?” he asked.
I smiled. “Yeah. I really would.”
Tom very quickly explained to me how to set up the compound bow and position it. The goal is to do it with one shot. No suffering for the animal. A clean kill.
But by the time we were ready, the buck had moved out of range.
Tom and I spent the next few hours together in the tree stand. He explained to me more about operating the compound bow and setting up the shot.
And then just after 10am…another buck.
It was an older buck. Grey in his fur and a broken antler.
I looked at Tom and he nodded his head.
I knew what to do.
We drew up the tiny window on our stand and I found my target in the scope.
I took the shot.
One shot. A clean kill. Exactly my intention.
In a moment when self-doubt could have taken over, I chose to take the shot instead.
In a moment when I could have stayed behind, I chose to be with my family instead.
Seize the day. Take the shot…even if you’ve never shot a thing in your life.