November 29th, 2016
If You Don't Go
If there is one thing I have learned about hunting, there is nothing that is predictable or guaranteed. The animals are unpredictable, the weather is ever changing, guns jam, releases break and the list goes on and on. No matter the condition or situation if you don’t go you won’t be successful.
A few years back I was hunting mule deer with my rifle in Eastern Oregon. Deer season in Oregon is always a crap shoot; the weather can go from 70 degrees to snow in a matter of 24 hours. This particular year it was hot, dry and honestly kind of miserable. Opening day was a bust; I saw a few smaller bucks but nothing of my liking. Sunday morning was much of the same, it was noisy and the grass was crunchy. As the wind blew the sunflowers would rattle like a territorial snake. As the morning hunt ended I had a feeling about a hunt I wanted to make. It wouldn’t be easy and would be a pretty good hike, but the current hunts weren’t panning out. When I told my hunting party what I wanted to do I was told how stupid of an idea it was and that it would be a complete waste of time. Well that may be but if I didn’t go I wouldn’t know, and something was telling me to make the hunt.
So being the stubborn girl that I am I made the hunt on my own. The weather conditions did nothing but get worse. The grass was really tall and every step was crunch, crunch, crunch. By now the wind picked up and was blowing in what seemed to be every direction. I was about a hour into the hunt and jumped a half dozen beef cows. In case you don’t know what that is like, imagine Wal-Mart on Black Friday one TV left and six women with full shopping carts with their eyes on the prize. There is a lot of balling, running into one another and it is not pretty or quiet. Once the dust settled I just stood there and had pretty much written the hunt off. I continued on my way crunching as I went, the only thing I had going for me was the wind. It was at least hitting me on the side of the face, not the back. I made my way through a timber patch and just started onto a sagebrush bench when I thought I saw a buck. One buck all by himself, could it be? I actually rubbed my eyes because I thought I had so much dirt in them that I was seeing things. “He’s still there and he has no idea that I am here.” As I pulled my rifle up to my eye I was thinking so many things; this is a really nice buck, breath, the guys don’t know what they’re talking about, squeeze the trigger. BUCK DOWN!
I am not going to lie there was a happy dance performed. As I approached the buck, there was no question he was one of the biggest ones I had harvested. “Thank you Lord for leading me to this boy.” I think every bee in the county came to help gut out this buck, but I didn’t care, against all odds I had made a successful hunt.
As I reflected on the hunt, there was really no way that it should have worked out, but it did. It just goes to prove that if you don’t go then you can’t be successful. The conditions or circumstances will never be perfect, but if you go and follow your gut it may just work out.
-Brooke Smith, NP Pro Staff