Our 15 year wedding anniversary was upcoming. I was quite excited but also a little sad, for October 15th would also be one month since my dad passed with metastatic brain cancer. The week started off with the excitement of knowing we would be going….hunting! Most of the other women at work just shake their heads at me when I tell them of my excitement of going hunting for our anniversary. A few days before our anniversary as I was driving home from work, my husband called to see when I would be home. I told him, “In about 15 minutes, I told you I was picking up dinner on the way home”. I arrive home and was on the phone with my mom telling her of our upcoming trip. He was standing outside waiting on me and looking anxious. We walked into the house and I told my mom bye while she wished us luck. I put the food down on the table but then was worried. My husband had such a perplexed look on his face, I began to think that something was wrong. I said, “What’s up?”. He says, “I got you something for our anniversary. But I’m not sure if I should give it to now or later. But I think, no, I know you can use it this weekend. But I’m not sure what to do”. So now my interest is peaked and of course I’m thinking – well if I need it for this weekend, he should probably go ahead and give it to me before we leave. So he still doesn’t say anything and I’m completely perplexed because he seems to be perplexed on whether or not to give it to me and if you know my husband – he’s never indecisive, so this makes for even more curiosity. Finally he says, “I guess I better give it to you now. It’s in the bedroom”. So I go into the bedroom and see nothing (at first). I look again and under one of the pillows is a brand new Mathew’s Passion bow, all ready to shoot! I am speechless!! WOW!! (yes, of course I cry, I AM a girl still – even though I hunt!) We hurry outside to finish sighting it in before dark.
Thursday morning (anniversary day) we were up at 5am and I’m so excited I’m ready a good 15 minutes before it is time to leave. My husband takes me to one of our hunting sites that he has set up a blind for me with a 30yrd shot. At first daylight a young doe and fawn come out. Later a mature doe comes out. She is very skittish and never provides me a good shot. The morning gets later but no shots for me with my new bow. We head back out in the afternoon to the same spot. A doe comes out around 6pm by herself. We confirm it is a doe and not a button buck. Husband says if I get a shot and want to take her we have plenty of doe tags to fill. I take my shot. We wait; however the rain is starting and dark is setting. We decide to see about a blood trail. We find my arrow in the woods but no blood trail. We look and look but no sign of anything. The rain does not allow us to look any longer. Husband says for us to “When in doubt, back out”. So we leave and he says he will return the next day with good light to look for her. I can’t believe it. I was so sure I had made a good contact shot.
Saturday night we are able to return again to the same spot. We leave at 3:30 to get to the spot to give us plenty of time to allow the woods to settle after our arrival. We sit and we sit – nothing. We even joke and husband says, “It can change with the twinkling of an eye”. Finally at 6:30 a little spike comes out. I know I won’t shoot him, but I’m grateful to finally see something that night. The spike is very nervous. You see, on Friday, while I was working, and Steve was out looking for my doe by himself, he set up a new trail camera. This little spike almost does a backflip to get away from the trail camera. It is almost 6:45 and I’m thinking ‘poor bow’. Husband and I are watching the spike and both at the same time notice he is looking intent to the north of us. We both comment saying, another deer must be coming. I think nothing more about it and begin to slowly gather my belongings. All of a sudden I hear my husband say “Babe, get your bow, there is a Big Monster coming. I am not kidding. I will back you up with my pistol”. I look up and all I see is antlers and I know he is not kidding! I say, “He’s huge”. He says, “Take your time. He’s coming within range”. Oh my goodness. He is beautiful. He stays at 28yrds broadside. But wait, I can’t shoot – he’s standing behind a 3ft small pine tree. I tell my husband to shoot him with his pistol. He is at one window and I am at the other in the blind. He has his pistol cocked and ready to go. He tells me, “You can do it. Take your time. Do you have a shot?” I reply, “No. He’s behind the pine tree. You shoot him”. The monster buck is still standing broadside at 28yrds but almost like he knew he was behind the tree. Husband gets ready to pull the trigger. We are both saying, “This buck is going down”. All of a sudden the trail camera clicks, triggered by the small spike, camera flashes and the buck bolts like lightening. We are both speechless. Not sure which one of us is more upset. I can’t talk and I’m even still shaking. The disappointment in the blind measured at a heavy 10. We finally gathered our disappointment and our belongings and leave the blind after dark. We walk together in silence back to the truck. We arrive back at the truck and both begin to laugh. We are in awe and cannot believe that had just happened. I tell him that even though we did not get that big buck that sometimes hunting is not about the kill but was about the experience. I told him I was thankful to have been given the opportunity to have seen that big buck and to have been with him and even though that buck was not in the back of the truck that I had a great time with him and wanted to thank him for giving up his own hunting time to sit with me. So the Mathews Passion may not have had a story about the first great kill, but I’ll always have a wonderful story of the Monster Buck on our anniversary. Just know this Mr. Buck – I’ll be back….hopefully you will too!