Holding a First Bow Kill Close to Heart by PSE’s Emily Anderson
By Emily Anderson
I hope the thrill of my first deer kill doesn’t fade away too quickly from my memory. There is something truly wonderful about the whole experience, and I’m sure I am not alone in the endeavor to hold a first bow kill close to heart, and safely tucked into the deep recesses of one’s mind.
I still remember the feeling – it was as if time stood still.
The morning of my first whitetail deer hunt I found myself up in a tree stand for the first time in my life, and just as I was getting comfortable with the distance from my feet to the ground below, the silence was interrupted by the sound of brittle leaves being crushed. Something was making its way along the path below, and closing the distance to our stand fast. I glanced up at my husband above in a tree stand, attached to the same tree as mine, and smiled. We watched together in anticipation of what was coming our way. It didn’t take long for the disrupter of the morning silence to make an appearance, and from our perch above the ground we could clearly see the mule deer as he made his way along the path below. Our tags said “whitetail” so we watched and admired the buck as he continued on his morning journey.
As a western hunter who is used to hunting from the ground, spot and stalk style, this new view from above had me intrigued and fascinated. I loved being above the action and felt like a giddy school girl when again the sound of *crunch* *crunch* echoed through the trees, signaling the closing distance of another buck. We watched a buck work his way down from the field above and mosey around a big oak towards my side of the tree. After a brief nonverbal discussion, my husband nodded, giving me the green light to take a shot. I slowly reached for my bow, took a breath, came to full draw, picked a spot and settled my top pin. The arrow released and I watched as it made impact on the chosen spot. Thwack!
I remember looking at my husband, looking back at my deer running down the path, looking back at my husband, and then starting to shake uncontrollably. It was an adrenaline rush like none other I’ve ever experienced. I had arrowed my first buck and I was hooked! After shooting that buck, I felt a sense of relief and sheer excitement all wrapped up together in a ball of emotions. Relief due to the sense that all the practice and preparation finally had cumulated into the desired result. My arrow flew true and found its mark. Buck fever had been replaced by a calming feeling just before the shot, and the instant flow of adrenaline as I realized what I had just done, had found its appropriate time to flow through my veins … directly after the kill shot.
When I first took up bowhunting, I often dreamt about and wondered what I would shoot first with my bow. That question has now been answered for me, and I’m proud to say it was a whitetail.
What about you? What was your first bow kill? Do you still vividly remember the details of that hunt? If it is starting to fade, I would encourage you to take a moment to write it down. You’d be amazed at how that moment in time comes flooding back when you start journaling it out.
Keep your eye out for the #elktour DVD over on huntography.com! Watch PSE’s Emily Anderson and Dustin Jones hunt elk DIY style on our amazing public lands in the Western United States. Huntography also films a deer hunting DVD called #deertour which you will be able to watch PSE’s Will Jenkins hunt whitetails. Huntography…filming America’s hunters, one at a time!