For a while, probably my first 15 years of marriage or so, Deer Season Opening Weekend was a time to spend with the other ladies in my family. Sometimes, when we could, we'd take the drive up to Branson, MO and do our pre-Christmas celebrating & shopping. Then...something happened. I think it must have been around 2001... I decided that if I wanted to see Hubby anytime at all in the following months (usually Oct. - Feb.), maybe it was time to look deep inside this transplanted Southern body and see if anything resembled a woman that could hunt and well...guess what? She was THERE! It also was around that time that deer hunting changed, probably not for the better, in our area. The local tree/land company Weyerhauser started LEASING their property, making it a crime to hunt it unless you had the "rights" to hunt it. And so it began - the family got together, pooled their money into the PKL, Inc. Lease and started hunting not 3 miles from our home in the woods.
I began hunting and ENJOYING it around that time and haven't missed an opening day since then. I am not "die hard" vs. other ladies in our area, but I can hold my own. I am comfortable using a fire arm and have harvested (the P.C. term for hunting and killing an animal) 2 deer. My first deer I got was within 30 minutes of stepping into the deer stand. Got me an 8 point!!! :)
From that point on, I knew I could do it.
Now mind you, for those who are compassionate towards animals ( and I am....) I have to stop and give a disclaimer here. In our area, if we didn't have a controlled deer hunt, the population would overtake us, spread all kinds of nasty deer viruses and cause way more automobile accidents! I am a firm believer that taking and using these deer, not wasting them, is a good thing. I do not advocate taking deer illegally or poaching deer when a season is not open. I do not advocate taking deer that are too young or under the size restriction. I do not always agree with the rules and regulations set forth by our game & fish commission, but it IS the law and I am bound to said laws.
Now, with that out of the way - let's go to this past opening day. It was a cool day, a little windy, and cloudy, but on to the stand I went. . . and what a stand it was!!! Similar in size and shape to the outhouses of olden days, I took my place in the dark, situated myself - my magazines (to pass the time) & my gear and settled in my little house. I always enjoy looking around at the natural beauty that surrounds our lease and I certainly wasn't disappointed this year!
As the sun began to rise over the horizon, through the clouds was the most amazing sunrise I've witnessed in a LONG time! It started out with billowing clouds, making their way from the horizon toward the west in long streaks. When the sun started peaking out, it made the most beautiful array of colors.... started out with greys and blues, went into reds and oranges and then it was like the sky was on fire!
As it would be, I didn't harvest a deer on this day, but I will forever - as long as the Creator will allow - remember this beautiful beginning to the opening day of 2011 Deer Season. I did witness 2 incredible and very cute "Bambi" deer who almost wanted to share my outhouse stand and another very tiny buck, but as I said - I pride myself as an ethical hunter and let them all live to see another day themselves. I may not have gotten anything to brag about but the pictures I have are all the trophy I need!!!