2017 Deer Season and a few Big Lessons
I haven’t always been a hunter; it wasn’t until I met my husband that I was even interested in it, even though I’ve always been a wild game eater. Now, 3 years in to being a huntress, I couldn’t imagine my life without hunting. There is nothing quite like spending a day out in the back country. Even though I have been hunting for 3 years, 2017 was my hardest year so far for deer hunting.
This year, we decided to set up a hunting camp in the badlands area of North Dakota. We set out opening day rifles and gear bags in hand. My husband and I like to hike in to backcountry areas when we hunt, so we set off into the badlands to find a place to sit for a while. The first day, we didn’t see much besides a few does and fawns, and being it was the middle of November it was a little chilly, so we got up and moved around every hour or two to stay warm. We packed out when it got close to sunset and headed back to camp.
These few days we had to hunt, were the most I’ve ever hiked, climbed, and skirted hillsides before. The scenery where we hunt is absolutely beautiful, just another advantage of hunting and spending time outdoors.
The second day, we got up bright and early to beat the sunrise. Once again we parked our pickup and set out to the backcountry areas. We climbed down fence lines, and up a few hills to get to a good vantage point. We sat and glassed for a good hour with no luck, so we got up and hiked out to a different area. The second day ended up being a bust to, just a few does and whitetail bucks (we had 2 mule deer buck tags).
On our last day we spent out hunting, the morning was super foggy, so we had no choice but to sit and wait a while for it to clear up. At this point, I started to get frustrated, why weren’t we seeing anything? Were we not in the right areas? We were tired and sore, so we stayed on the upper areas of the badlands instead of hiking back in. We saw a muley buck down in thick brush and when we got close, he spooked and ran up the hillside close to a road, so no luck with this one.
A few minutes later when we were hiking back to our pickup, we got a call from our friend saying he saw a decent buck on the opposite side of where we were. We hopped in our pickup and drove to where he was. I wasted no time, hopped out of the pickup, grabbed my rifle and headed into the brush. I could tell when I walked into the trees that this was a popular area for deer, there were tracks and fresh deer feces everywhere. I was thinking “Maybe we are going to get lucky and this will be it!” My husband came in behind me and we walked through the brush to a clearing, where we saw 2 muley does hanging out eating. We quietly started moving back to the tree line trying not to spook them when I suddenly thought I saw an antlered deer on the field with them. Not even a few second later, our friend texted me saying “He’s there on the field with those does!” So we moved as quietly as we could below the deer on the field, I was sitting lower than my husband and when the buck made his appearance, I didn’t have a clear shot. My husband took the shot, and down he went. We waited awhile, and walked up on him, he was a big boy, and we got more meat off of him than we ever have off any other deer. He was a 3x3 but his rack was wide. While I didn’t get to take the shot, I was so proud of my husband! We got him gutted, and back out to our pickup and loaded up.
We then set out to find another deer for me, with no luck the rest of the day. Our friends all tagged out within the remainder of the day. While I was bummed, I realized I learned a lot just from the 3 days we had been out there. For one, I learned that I had been missing out on the wonders and lessons hunting teaches you all those years. I learned that there is nothing that can beat being outside, with beautiful scenery, hunting your own food. There is nothing that compares to the quality time I got to spend with my friends and husband. I learned that hunting is hard work, rewarding work, and all worth the effort, time, and money you put in whether you tag out or not. Hunting reconnects you with nature in so many ways and teaches you so many lessons.
This was my 3rd year of having a tag, and not being able to fill it. Like I told everyone after this season, I will be back in 2018 and every year after. Like Fred Bear said “If you consider an unsuccessful hunt to be a waste of time, then the true meaning of the chase eludes you all together.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Avid Huntress and Angler
GoWild Field Staff
ReelCamo Girl Brand Champion
CONNECT WITH HER ON INSTAGRAM!
Instagram: Katey Bailey
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.