What first got you interested in hunting?
My father hunted my whole childhood, but I never showed any interest. Then I went to college to major in biology and minor in environmental sciences, I was still on the fence even though I knew hunting was required for game management – but I still didn’t want to try it. I graduated, got married, and had a baby….it was then I knew I wanted to be able to provide a fun experience for my family and supply them with food.
The first thing I hunted was Coon…and we don’t eat them. I started hunting coon in 2008. My husband and I went out one time with my cousin. I was scared because it’s dark and all I had was a mag light and you could hear the coyotes howling and hopping and they seemed so close. But then we had a coon in the tree..once it hit the ground I was hooked. We purchased a dog and I bought a gun a week later. Been doing that ever since.
I now hunt coon, deer, small game and predators. I am going to try bird and duck hunting someday, and I’d also love to tag some bigger North American game.
Tell us all about your first deer this year!
I have been deer hunting for 4 years in Edgewood Iowa.
- The first time I went I borrowed a shotgun, bought my tag and sat in the freezing cold waiting for a deer, but I had no clue what I was doing.
- The second year I went with my dad early muzzleloader season where I learned some basics but had no success.
- The third year I had to go shotgun hunting because I was due with my 3rd child right around when muzzleloading was and I was high risk when tags went on sale so I decided I could wait. Still no success.
Then came this year. I purchased my early muzzleloader tag the day after they went on sale (they sell out within 48 hours) and my dad and I started planning. Loaded up the 4 wheeler and the CVA .45 cal muzzleloader and were off.
First night we sat in one spot on a picked corn field. And waited…..and waited and waited. Nothing. Next night, same thing.
We had seen deer in other parts of the field but it was after shooting hours. We planned different spots…still nothing. He jokingly said I better stick to coon hunting.
Friday October 18th I had a feeling. We set up in a different spot but I told him I wanted to sit there. We had about 6 ft of some standing corn that was missed by the combine on our right side and a burlap makeshift blind on our front. It was kind of windy. We set up our decoy down from us in the field. And we waited. Normally I’m dozing a little by 5:30 but tonight I was wide awake even though I had worked my night shift the previous night. Then I saw a tail flicker…
I tapped my dad and showed 2 fingers. The first one came out…small doe. Then her mother came out…I whispered I’m going to shoot this one. I was shaking as I put the gun to my shoulder. Looking thru the crosshairs I saw another deer. I inhaled, prayed for a quick painless death for her and pulled the trigger. Smoke. I didn’t see anything. Then dad said she’s hit! And she fell not far from where I shot her.
After everything happened 6 deer ended up in the field. 2 small 4 pts, another small doe and another mature doe. My goal is always to provide meat to the freezer…can’t eat a rack. But if I saw a monster (something past the ears) I would shoot that. We watched them for a bit. And then we started the short walk to her. She was beautiful. Nice bodied. Perfect for my first. I kneeled down by her head and I smoothed some hair down and I thanked God for this beautiful animal…and yes, I did cry a little because of that.
What do you love most about hunting?
I love being close to God. I know it sounds cliche but when you are out in the timber and it’s so quiet and peaceful, you know there is a greater presence in this universe. The animals you see, the animals I have taken, were all provided to me. I always say a quick prayer for safety and for clean shots and kills. I don’t want something so beautiful to suffer because of a bad shot.
The natural environment is so calming to me. We get so busy in day to day life. Being a mother of 3 and working at a nursing home, cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring, all takes it’s toll on a person. Yes I love my life, but this simple “getting back to nature” is my time. My kids will be coming along sometimes, but it’s still my time.
Tell us why you love coon hunting the best…
I love dogs. And we hunt coon with dogs. It’s like taking your kids out. We have a bluetick and a cur that we use to hunt. Our bluetick, Jake, is the main tree dog, meaning he tracks the coon on its trip thru the woods and then he barks tree when he has it in a tree. Cricket, the cur, is basically just my companion and also our kill dog, which is when the coon is shot out of the tree she helps make sure it is dead.
They’re a perfect team. If ones in trouble the other comes and helps. It takes a different breed of person to go out in the dark with a light and a .22 and traipse around the woods at night. We have been chased by cattle, hogs, dogs, and coyotes. It’s a thrill. We don’t make too much money because hides aren’t worth much, but we do it for the dogs.
Any advice to girls who’d like to try hunting?
My advice….go out and try it. Who cares what people think. If I quit every time someone told me too, I would have never got started. It takes lots of patience, persistence, and definitely some heart but it is well worth it.