By Karla Chando
I work in retail, and my days off are few and far between. When my husband found out I had some time off, we headed for the deer lease. I was a little taken back. Spending Christmas at the deer lease was not my idea of a great way to spend the holidays.
I went along it with because my husband so badly wanted me to get my first deer. You see, I had been a dove, waterfowl, and turkey hunter for several years; but I had a hard time thinking about killing a deer. I finally said I would try. He, of course, took that as a definite yes and so the trip was on.
I didn’t realize all the preparation of getting ready for the hunt. We spent several days just packing—camo this, camo that—and my contribution was a small Christmas tree and gifts. After all, it was Christmas. Of course every present I opened from him was deer hunting related. It’s okay; men have a way of getting one thing on their minds and keeping it.
So we drove off to Zavala County in South Texas with everything but the kitchen sink. We arrived after 3 1/2 hours on Christmas Eve. Our son, who attends the University of Texas, met us there. We unpacked the gear for the weekend and prepared ourselves for a hunting experience. We hopped back in the truck and headed for the field.
My husband said, “It’s time to shoot in your rifle.” I had a .270 that I had never shot before. We drove onto the 11,000-acre lease to a sendero. We parked the truck with the wind blowing and the outside temperature already cold. How could it get so cold in South Texas?
I got out of the truck shivering, and all they want me to do is shoot my gun. Men! They set the target out in front of me, maybe 50 yards away. I stood next to the truck and couldn’t even see over it.
I proceeded to stand on a bag of corn, steady my gun on the back of the truck, and shoot. The target looked a million miles away. When I looked in the scope, it really wasn’t that bad. I astonished myself and shot the target on the first try.
My audience was not so impressed. So, I shot several more times until the true hunters were satisfied. We headed back to the bunkhouse to get ready for the big day that I awaited for with anticipation.
All of us were pretty excited the next morning. We dropped our son off at his stand first. Being his mother, I felt really bad leaving him alone in the dark up in that stand. He assured me he would be fine. After all, he’s a man and he had done this before.
Deer after deer started coming around our stand. Three does and a six-point were to my right, and four does with two spikes were on the left. Finally, my deer, a nine-point, came out in front with four does. I was starting to get excited. But suddenly, an eight-point came out of nowhere.
The two large deer stared at each other. My husband said, “Karla, get ready. This may be the only chance you have.” I opened the window slowly like we had rehearsed several times before. My deer was only 50 yards away and I was sure the neighbor in the next county had heard me open that window. But the deer only looked up for a second and went back to eating. I had my deer in my scope, and then in a flash, he was gone. He was chasing a doe.
My husband stood up and said, “Switch seats with me.” I was thinking I couldn’t do this, but I was all settled and ready to shoot my deer. He said, “The buck is going to come back, and when he does, make up your mind if you’re going to shoot him.”
He was right. My deer came back and I had made up my mind. I was going to get that nine-point. I put my gun up on the windowsill, took a breath, and pulled the trigger.
The buck went down. I calmly closed the window and started shaking. I didn’t know why I was shaking. My husband did. I had “buck fever.” “Everybody gets it,” he said. “Just be glad you got it after you shot.”
He went to check on my deer and told me to relax. He yelled, “He is huge. You did a great job!” A feeling came over me I had done something that made me proud. Then we had to put the heavy thing on the hitch and haul.
Because it’s all about whom you share it with, I was happy I had done what I had set out to do. I felt like a real hunter. When we got to our son’s blind, he popped his head out and said, “Merry Christmas, Mom. You got your first deer.”
Who would have thought this little princess would be deer hunting with the two men in her family? I’m here to tell you it’s well worth it. From now on they just call me the “Deer Princess.”
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