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Mary's First Buck

By Paul and Mary Askew

Last year my wife got her first taste of hunting during a one day unsuccessful rifle hunt. I had a broken foot, so we were very limited on what we could do. Because I am primarily a bow hunter, she wanted to do the same, so she purchased a Mission bow and started shooting regularly.

This year it was all about bow hunting. She biked and hiked in behind the gates for elk in the early season, spent several days scouting for late season archery, checked trail cams, and set up ground blinds for her late hunt.

Opening morning found us in what we refer to as Trail Cam 3 or now we call it Mary's blind. We hunted the morning and had no action by 10:00. The trail cams told us that most of the morning action was by 10:00 am and then picked back up around 4:00 pm, so we took a break and then got back in blind by 2:00 pm.

Just before 4:00 a fork that was a regular on cam showed up and started to feed. He stayed just behind a small tree with no shot. He had been there about 5 minutes when the wind swirled just enough for him to catch our scent. He looked up and we could tell we were busted. He just walked off.

About 20 minutes later a Spike and Half came in and Mary was ready to try and take the spike. He fed in front of us behind the same darn tree, but he finally moved toward a shooting lane. Mary waited until his head was down behind a fern, drew her bow, and let one go. It sounded like she hit him. We were hugging and giving high fives, and Mary was excited.

We gave it sometime and then went to check for blood. I made it close to where the spike was standing and Mary says, "I didn't get him". I asked how do you know and then she points to her arrow stuck in a small tree. She was bummed and a little mad at herself for missing. My friends were not real easy on her either as she developed a nick name "Tree Slayer". That really irritated her. A check on the cam 2 days later and the deer were back in later that night and the next morning.

Her next hunt was Tuesday afternoon and nothing showed up. The deer had seemed to hunker down because of the storm, and we stopped getting pics of the regulars from Sunday night through Tuesday.

We headed back out for an evening hunt on Wednesday the 21st. The cam showed the fork and some does back in at 4:00 am that morning, so we knew at least the fork was back in the area. It had been raining most of the afternoon, but we caught a break around 3:15 and the sun actually showed up. I told Mary that this was best case scenario. If the rain holds out we may just get some action.

Right about 4:00 pm Mary starts hearing something. I don't hear anything but I am half deaf from working around machinery for so many years. A couple of minutes later, she excitedly reached for her bow and said here comes a deer. I grabbed the camcorder and get it turned on and start recording. It is the fork in horn from opening day and I spot him at 18 yards. Mary has an arrow nocked and is at the ready.

The buck stops behind a tree at 15 yards to check out the situation, takes a few more steps toward us and starts to feed with his head down. Then he popped his head up and looked behind him. That was when Mary drew her bow, steadied for a second, and dropped the string. The impact was loud and the buck bolted. I saw the buck pile into an alder tangle and get caught up. He broke from the alder tangle and started to run, I popped my head out of the blind with camera in hand and could see he was in trouble and stumbling.

He made it 30 yards or so, and went down. I figured he was done right there. Mary and I celebrated her first ever deer and calmed our nerves for a minute. I told her that he was down. We stepped out of the blind and I did a short interview with the camera then retrieved our packs and went over to the buck.

He was not quite done, so Mary put another in for a quick dispatch. Mary was so excited, and it was the coolest experience that we have shared. She graduated from Tree Slayer to Buck Slayer. She was super happy to have this guy down.

Mary is going to have Tim Tuttle of Creative Taxidermy do a full shoulder mount of her first buck.