Recently, a friend kindly granted me private access to hunt on her land. I’ve hunted that small parcel for the last three years. It took me a couple of years to figure out which deer were living on her land—where they bed and what they eat on the property. I watched their various movement patterns and learned how they use the land I hunt.
My friend asked me to use my best judgment and to keep the deer on her property. I opted to keep untouched a particular doe that has twins each spring, as well as one buck that is now two years old. They both bed on this parcel of land.
The main part of the land is a funnel, and all the nearby deer move through this funnel. My concentration was set to re-route their evening pass-through with corn and persimmon. On this particular afternoon hunt, a herd of 12-plus does came through the funnel on their way to feed. It was an amazing experience to watch that many does surround me!
The herd stopped at my tree stand and listened in the direction they were headed. I was sure they could hear the thud of my pounding heartbeat. Then they slowly walked away. After a few very long minutes, I saw a buck lingering behind after the herd. I had identified this buck as one that passes through the funnel. The buck made a wide berth into the thick woods around my stand, so I had no shot.
I just had a wonderful experience with nature, yet I felt defeated. All of a sudden, I saw movement. Something had spooked the doe herd, and they had turned around and came back. I was blessed to experience the herd around me all over again!
I had been holding onto my rifle in a shooting position this entire time. At this point, it felt like it weighed a hundred pounds. I was completely focused and waiting to see if the buck would come back through. I finally saw him to my far right, walking the edge of a small water hole. I then lined up my rifle ahead of him to the one spot I would have a shot and waited. Suddenly, the buck stopped and turned to come up the hill towards me! As soon as his eyesight was blocked by a tree, in one fluid motion, I moved my rifle and body into shooting position.
My heart had been pounding for so long by then, I feared I may have a heart attack. I was fortunate that the buck decided the persimmon was too good to pass up. He came back to eat on the exact spot that I had set up for them (in my dreams, I never thought it would work). I took a clean 30-foot shot. He fell and didn’t even know he was shot.
Never underestimate the power of good ole fashioned hard work with a dash of luck!
~By Tarra Stoddard
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Tarra Stoddard is a seasoned outdoors woman. In addition to her position as Managing Director for ReelCamo Girl, Tarra currently serves as field staff for Prois Hunting & Field Apparel for women and was the Editor of American Woman Shooter for three years. She reviews products for women in the shooting industry and is a field product tester. Tarra loves to hunt, fish, shoot (pistol and rifle), and is an NRA Pistol Instructor and SC CWP Instructor. She also teaches local basic women’s shooting classes. Tarra enjoys hunting her local whitetail, hogs, and waterfowl.