Allow me to introduce myself: the name is Beth Graham and I am lucky to call our intelligent and beautiful blogger, Melissa, my BFF. I also got to share a room with her while she was teaching in Ishpeming (I'm an SLP...look it up). But my bio isn't why we're here. We're here because it's deer season.
A year ago, on Thanksgiving Eve, I was exactly where all hunters want to be; sitting in my deer blind watching the does. I was a little edgy because I knew, in all likelihood, this would be my last hunt of the year. There was a lot of family coming to town for the holiday. This was my 6th year hunting and I still fell under the category of, "Buckless Yooper" (insert intense music here). Around 3:30 pm a decent sized spike horn started making appearances. But he was chasing one of my does and I never had a clear shot at him. My adrenaline was sure pumping though. Around 4:30 my girls started to meander on their way. Then HE came in. A beautiful 5 pointer. I set up my shot, clicked off the safety, and...
As I shot, the buck stood up on his hind legs to rub his antlers in a branch. Shit! Did I miss because of it? I knew it was a good shot but couldn't account for his movement. He bolted. That's when I got the adrenaline shakes. A hundred things were buzzing in my head, but I managed to get a text to my husband, Justin, who was sitting at our camp. "That was me! Five pointer at least. It ran. Oh shit." Justin isn't the most technologically advanced guy and I'm only allowed to text him during deer season. When he hadn't responded in 30 seconds I sent out eight more rapid-fire texts. He finally responded, "ok." I guess my adrenaline rush hadn't reached him. I promised myself I'd wait 15 minutes before going to collect Justin and start tracking my deer (you don't want to come up on a deer that's laying down and dying and push it further away). I'd like to say it was the longest 15 minutes of my life, but I only made it 10 minutes before I hightailed it back to camp. I know I was talking 100 miles an hour when I came through the door and found Justin reading. READING?!?!? He apparently didn't realize I'd just shot a BUCK! At this point, my version of the story and Justin's differ. But I'm writing this so you'll hear it how I remember:) He made me drink a beer to use up more time. He might as well have poked a hole in the bottom and had me shotgun it. Knowing I should wait and actually waiting are two horribly different things. Finally he started getting his outdoor clothes on. Finally we headed out.
First stop, the scene of the shot. Blood! And lung tissue!! We were on the trail. The blood trail was far apart and there was little snow. But I'm an excellent tracker and was literally running from one blood spot to the next. And then the trail ran cold.
My heart dropped.
My stomach dropped.
We split up and went down different paths. And then I saw it, blood! I called for Justin and he started to laugh as I was hunting for more blood to follow. "Turn around," he told me. And there he was, my first buck.
The rest of the night was a blur. Family and friends flocked to our camp and celebrated with me. And, of course, there was the traditional shot of blackberry brandy for the successful hunt to go with all the beer.
"The second week of deer camp, is the greatest time of year!" ~Da Yoopers, "Second Week of Deer Camp," 1987