Thanks to the Wisconsin DNR youth hunt, this past season was perfect. The hunting trip started Friday, October 10th. My father, stepmother and I left our house in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, and set our sights set for Oneida County, where we would meet my uncle at his cabin.
As we drove, I started to play different scenarios through my head of what might happen during the hunt. We pulled onto the gravel driveway of the cabin, and Uncle Jeff dashed out of the cabin to greet us.
I awoke the next morning to chatter taking place between my dad and uncle: The day I could finally shoot a deer was here. We talked about hunting all morning as I sat and absorbed all the advice I could. We were positive deer weren’t moving by our stand until later in the day, so we relaxed for a while and enjoyed the beautiful day at the cabin. And then suddenly it was time to go.
My dad, stepmother and I left for the stand, which was a “house” in the trees big enough to fit all of us. As we proceeded, my mind was racing: What if this happens? What if that happens? When we were situated, I was in front near the shooting window, and my parents were in back against the wall.
Hours passed, watching nature in front of my eyes. Blue jays flew in and out, and grouse walked by in their graceful matter, but there were no deer. Time went on and the countdown until dark began: 45 minutes, then 30 minutes, then 15 minutes. I thought and thought, and finally accepted the fact I wasn’t going to shoot a deer today.
Three more minutes remained. Then suddenly I heard the sound of a branch breaking. My father whispered, “Tyler, get your gun ready!” I slowly reached for my gun when I saw him—an 8-point buck. I couldn’t believe it! He glanced at the stand as if he knew something was wrong, but my sights were already on him. POW!
I was shaking! My ears were ringing! I had done it! I’d shot a deer, and it was a buck—a big buck! I was in such shock I never saw the deer go down. We all quietly climbed down and headed for the cabin.
And there waited Uncle Jeff. We told the story to him—with all the excitement between he and Dad, I couldn’t tell if they were little kids or grown-ups! After a brief wait, the four of us worked our way back to where I shot the buck. Dad led the search for blood with me right behind him.
There was blood—but not much. Quite a few yards into the search, Uncle Jeff and Dad argued if we should wait until morning to continue tracking the deer. We all paused except for Dad. He went forward another 15 yards and asked, “Tyler, do you want to see your deer?” It was the best feeling in the world! I ran to the buck like I’d never run before.
After a bunch of pictures, Dad took care of the field dressing for me. We then hoisted the buck into my Uncle Jeff’s truck and went to register my first deer.