Adventure, Doubt, & Determination
Finally harvested some “Antlers”!
I was so close to giving up on hunting deer this year after two earlier expeditions with an opportunity standing right in front of me and I missed a 30 yard shot with my crossbow! Brushed myself off to go on and weeks later I missed again at 60 yards using my 12 gauge 870 (day prior we re-sighted in at 50 yards, dead-on bullseye after only 3 round adjustment) ugh!…and then there was ALL last year when I sat in a ground blind, drove 30 minutes from home, almost EVERYDAY, ALL season from November to February and never saw a deer or turkey! There was also an invite to hunt from a previous mentor who generously spent his whole day busting butt to find me some deer; when we finally got some action, I blew it as they “stampeded” past me! Another missed opportunity! That was the last day of deer season. I never spoke of those misses. Feeling ashamed, embarrassed, and heartbroken, discouraged, I began doubting my capabilities. My mind made me think that I wasn’t cut out for hunting deer, my heart had me feeling otherwise! Making excuses like “I started late in life”, “this was just my 3rd year hunting”.
Feeling so down, almost end of the season; why the heck would I challenged myself to climb a crazy, steep southern Ohio mountain with rough terrain? At 54 years old, I am not in great shape; it took me twice as along to hike up this time. I’ve been here before, had success with Ram, Antelope, Watusi and Hogs. My one and ONLY white tail deer was on Dec 4, 2015, button buck. Now, I’m back, where I’ve had good luck, down here in Southern Ohio, 4 hours from home. Its 29 degrees outside, 52 degrees in my cabin. There’s a cozy campfire going outside and I’m hardly able to sleep. The morning would bring the best possible adventure of all, or would it?
Determined and excited, every step upward is one that would challenge me physically, mentally and emotionally. Not sure of the exact elevation, there is a definite change in the way I’m struggling to hike up. Once we reach our destination, the woods are awake and so are we!
My hunt starts off great as some random rams naturally bumped some wild hogs our way, we dive into a box blind and quickly set up as they scurry our way. BOOM!
300lbs Razorback-Russian hog DOWN at 50 yards!
Fast forward, hours later. I’m now focused on the reason I’m here on this grown-up mountain. We scouted and chased this handsome 3 x 3 Sika buck (pronounce see-ka) up and down the hills for hours. Finally spotting him at 60+/- yards, I take a steady shot! Boom! My guide Andy, sees hooves up in the air and then I squeal, “I got it Andy, I got it!”…or did I? UGH! We found hair, some blood but no deer! Seriously, he dashed down the hill! My heart sank. “Could swear I hit it”, “oh, not again”. We scurried down the hill, looking for it everywhere to see if this is my big day! Or to make sure it’s not injured. Then there’s a call on the walkie-talkie “it’s over here, over here” well that’s like a 30 minute hike, so off we go. Another call, “no, over here”; the other side of the mountain! Yikes. This deer is wild! My buck is so fast, like a reindeer on Christmas eve, this guy is on a mission. He’s running all over the place; almost 200 acres of all over the place! He was spotted up, down, so fast, and so far away. I was ready, but he was too speedy and too clever. (Seems like I missed him, right?) My heart sinks, my brain goes into overdrive “Why am I here? Why do I keep putting myself through this?” My Savage bolt action rifle is awesome, I practice and I’m steady, so why can’t I catch a break? Well, stand by…..
Then we see more animals, a 2 x 2, an elk, Red stag, others. It would be easy to simply take on the next animal I see, but I am here for the Sika 3 x3, now known as Dasher.
Andy (#2) comes by; yes there are two Andy’s and one Mary. They are guiding me, though I am never with them all at the same time, we are all looking for this crazy wild deer! Andy ( #1) assures me I hit him on first shot. Andy #2 is eager to get off this mountain and slay the beast; he is a helpful, knowledgeable guide. Andy #1 is very instinctive, we’ve hunted together 5 times before. Mary encourages me to be patient and have faith. (Later is where a woman’s encouragement pays off). There was a third attempt at 100 yards that was a total miss (keep in mind, there’s only 3 rounds in my 30-06 box style magazine, one in the chamber, I already shot once at bottom of mountain and once at 60 yards, possible hit and again at that 100 yards).. Are you counting ammo?
Sure enough, couple MORE hours into this, my “Dasher” buck is running below me on a ledge, Mary and I run ahead above him. She motions to me to shoot while he's running, well that isn’t happening Mary! I trot ahead of her to a familiar tree, I steady myself against it, here he comes, full speed, with my barrel aimed in front of him, at 85 yards, swiftly take aim, I shoot and BOOM! He’s down! Or is he? NO! He’s up! Almost all the way up! YIKES! Out of ammo, I quickly move on a several yards, reloading one, directly into the chamber! With only one shot left, while briskly moving to 80 yards, he’s already falling back down, then BOOM again! By sheer luck I took out his hoof, rendering him unable to run!
This majestic animal is now rendered incapacitated and he gently expires. I’m in awe! Overjoyed!
FINALLY we have a deer down!
Now hugging Mary and then meeting up with Andy & Andy, we radio down to Eric at base camp “Sika down!” whew!....not sure, but I might have heard him say “bout time!”
Remember earlier when I felt so awful thinking I missed again? We inspect him and guess what? I DID GET HIM on the FIRST SHOT! Vindication! Andy #1 was right! We did see hooves up! Success! Feeling wonderful, thankful, and appreciative. We now kneel in prayer. “Thank you Lord, for the food we are about to receive, Amen”.
Wow! What a journey…choking back tears of joy, I’m elated! So lucky being able to experience that with people that genuinely wanted me to have the best experience possible. I know that when I get back home, only a few in my life with be as excited about this as I am. I don’t have many friends, even fewer that hunt. My husband doesn’t hunt, though he doesn’t mind that I go so often; he appreciates the need to continue on my quest to pursue the hunt I never had with my dad. I don’t hunt to get anyone else’s reaction but it’s great to have a sisterhood like ReelCamo Girl to share days like these; like-minded ladies that understand this need to be outdoors. I am so appreciative of the hunters in my life that help me EARN MY WILD. I hunt because I like knowing where my food comes from, I hunt to challenge myself past the limits of what time and age will eventually take away…selfishly, I hunt for me.
In conclusion, I learned more about myself again this trip. Haven’t lost faith, didn’t give up and because of that, I know that if my dad where alive today, he would be the proudest dad ever! Went on an adventure and turned my doubt into determination!
I proudly drove 4 hours back home with the following
- Sika deer 3x3 130lb His name is “Dasher”
- 300lb Razorback - Russian meat hog
- Roaster piglet for holiday dinner
Thank you for letting me share my emotional journey.
I’m always striving to “work hard, play hard, be kind, help others, have goals, love.
Get outdoors so you too can Dream it ~ Live it!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sherri R. Trivisonno
Products Expert, Paulich Specialty Company
Leadership Team Member A Girl & A Gun Women’s Shooting League
Volunteer Range Safety officer, Hunter, Outdoor Sportswoman
ReelCamo Girl Brand Champion
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ReelCamo Girl is a lifestyle brand focused on ladies who love the outdoors.There is a growing need for a place for women to share their outdoor experiences, as well as an interest in clean eating and self-sufficiency. Through our website and social media networks, we offer a safe place where the ladies can share their pictures, stories, wild game and fish recipes, and news articles about conservation and hunting perspectives.
ReelCamo girls are strong, capable, kind, compassionate, nature & country-loving individuals. We encourage responsible and ethical hunting. We care about the land and wildlife management and about long term sustainability. We hunt, fish, dive, shoot and hike…for peace of mind, happiness, pure clean protein & connection to the outdoors. ReelCamoGirls can shoot a gun, draw a bow, track an animal, get CAMOed up, bait a hook, clean a fish and still be feminine.