I recently cleaned a lot of boxes out from underneath my bed. In one of those boxes was my hunting journal from when I was 12 years old. I have always been one to keep a journal. I still do, even to this day. I keep it electronically now, it may not be as romantic, but it’s certainly faster, and takes up a lot less space. Without further ado, the tale of my first deer, as told by my 12 year old self.
Sunday Evening October 17th 2004
Boy we were running late to get to Uncle Jims property. We just left grandma’s house to go to Uncle Jim’s place. We didn’t get there until about 6:25 and it took about 10 minutes to get suited. I power walked to my blind making as little noise as possible. I got into my blind and got settled in. I was sitting for about twenty minutes when a doe walks up. I let her eat 3 or 4 carrots then I pulled back aimed and fired, thump right into the deers flesh. I jumped up and said “God your to good to me.” I waited about ten minutes and went to get my dad and Katie. I went to a familiar spot and couldn’t find the trail to his blind, I screamed “dad” about half a dozen times, he came and I told him I hit one and he asked if I looked for blood yet, I said no and I could tell by the sound. He told me he hit one too. He showed me some blood he found. We looked for blood from the deer I hit, sure enough there was blood everywhere. We tracked my dad’s first, it ran into some other private property and they helped track it, we never found his deer. When we looked for my deer we had me, my dad, my sister Katie and 3 neighbors helping us. We were tracking the deer for about 15 minutes and Dave said “Look there’s the deer.” We all rushed over, I gave my dad a hug and we dragged her out of the woods and ate her.
I was not the best author when I was 12. I like to think I have improved since then. I remember a lot about that night. At the time it was probably the most exciting night of my life. We were running late to my Uncle Jim’s property. But most Hicks hunting trips, or Hicks trips in general, involve running late. At the time the average Hicks hunting trip involved stopping at my uncle’s property on the way up north Friday night, then at dusk heading further north to hunt my grandparent’s property the next morning. We would hunt there all day Saturday and early Sunday. Then on the way back home we would stop and hunt Sunday evening at my uncle’s property again. Like I said, we were running late to my uncle’s property…but it was partially my fault.
The short story is my dad thought I was lost in the woods and spent two hours looking for me while I sat in a warm home and drank hot chocolate. The long story is the night before I had missed a deer, but I thought that I hit it. So that night we looked and looked for blood, fur, any sign of a wounded animal and found none. The next morning I sat in the same blind. My dad dropped me off in his blue Chevy Astro before dawn and went back to pick me up at 10:30. I, well I was cold. so at about 10:00 I decided to start hoofing it back. It was a long walk but I knew (most of) the way. At the final fork on my way to the house I had two options, both led back to the house so I chose the one I was more familiar with. And because I was 12, I chose…poorly. I took the trail that is way too narrow for a Chevy Astro. So at about the time I walked out of the woods dad was climbing the hill to my blind wondering where the hell I was. I even recall asking my grandma, when I got back, “Where’s my dad?” And she said, “Oh, he’s probably still hunting.” So I went and ate a sandwich at the kitchen table. More time passed and I was starting to worry, “He’ll come back though.” I told myself. Hours later he did come back, out of breath and little voice left, he came through the door. He turned and saw me at the kitchen table. To this day I’ve still never seen that mixture of pissed and relieved. He chewed me out for a bit, but he also hugged me. There were a lot of things about that hunt that I remember, and that maybe I’ll write about one day, but that’s for a later date. But yes, we were running late to uncle Jim’s property, about two hours late. But as it turned out, we were right on time.