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The day started just like any of our workdays do, the alarm waking us at 5am. But today is a bit different since instead of heading our separate ways once dressed and ready and then spend the day dealing with separate issues, only to reunite again in the evening, today my wife Janet and I are hunting together. I will be hunting with my bow and her with OUR in-line muzzleloader. As parents of 3 kids (under 12) a day spent together in the woods without them is nothing short of intensive excercise in planning .Today we will need to drop our kids off at a friend's house on the way to our land, we told them it would be before 6, but it does not take long for us to realize that won’t happen as the kids are much more sluggish than us. I head to the land and my wife heads to our friends and drops of the kids and then meets me up there…time is about 6:40 and the gray of the moon is slowly being replaced by the gray of the sun. We take the ATV up to the camp, which is a long chilly uphill ride, frost is heavy on the trail, and we do some final preps on the porch in the gray. The stands we chose for the morning our only about 150 yards from the camp so the walk is short. We get to Janet’s ladder stand and I give her a good luck kiss and hug before she climbs up and settles in and gives me the thumbs up signal. I head over to my bow stand which is only about 80 yards from her…as I get to the ladder of my stand I watch a nice buck in the gray fade in and out on the edge of the food plot and head down into the thick clear-cut. I don’t think he spooked as he was in rut walk so I try my best not to spook him more in hopes he will come back. It is kind of funny, but I think the deer have grown use to the rumblings of my ATV as I am here every weekend, it never seems to bother them as I see them near the trail alot even after I just rode by. I get settled and together we wait good shooting light.

At 7:30 I hear grunting near Janet’s stand and make out a small buck that goes right underneath her stand, he gets to the trail and turns 90 degrees and heads down onto the bench. Two bucks around by 7:30…note made. The next couple hours go by without a deer sighting, but it was far from uneventful as there are a couple grouse flying into the tops of the cherry trees and one lands about 40 yards from me to grab some bounty. I shuffle for my camera. But he flies off, and it is then I realize I DON'T HAVE MY CAMERA…me without a camera when Outdoors is like a fish without water. I picture it sitting in the charger on our dining room table, in the hustle to get the kids loaded up I just forgot to put it in my pack…heck I had the small camcorder there too.

The duck hunters along the Brokenstraw in the valley let us know that the ducks are flying well as we hear the volleys down echoing of the hill til almost 8:45. Janet can only hunt til 11am, as she needs to pick-up the kids and then take Jessica to a Basketball game. She always makes so many sacrifices for me when I am in the woods, and today I feel some guilt about her doing it again, but she reassures me a few hours of hunting, fall colors and peace and quiet are good enough for her. The next couple hours are quiet, and I think about getting down and driving the clear-cut to try to speed things up. Then I notice some movement up on the top, behind the way Janet is facing in her stand, as I watch to try to make out the brown form… Boom! The inline fires and I look over to Janet’s stand to see it surrounded by smoke. I darn near dropped my bow from the stand when Janet shouts out “ I got her!! She went right down". I get over there as fast as I can and find Janet looking around the forest floor as I approach her we see the deer together and approach it. It is done, she shot for and hit it 4 inches down from the ear in the neck a perfect meat shot…I joke with her about being lucky, but even I know her history. Although this is her first deer with the one shot in-line, she has never shot twice at a deer or missed one in her entire hunting career. I have come to learn that if she feels really good about the shot she will take it, if not she won’t…she has let them go because of it, even some nice bucks as anything but a quick kill will likely haunt her, odds say it will happen, but if she keeps worrying so much about the one shot maybe not.

We kneel next to the doe and she gives me a big hug as I am telling her congratulations. The doe I recognize from my trail cam, a 1.5-year-old nanny without fawns and a bit of an overbite. I joke about the deer’s appearance and say “no wonder she don’t have kids”, although I know it is because of her age. But she is a beautiful to us and I step back as my wife does what compassionate hunters do over a fallen deer, I don't want to intrude on that moment…at this point I come clean on forgetting the camera…”Well that stinks, but it is not like I am you and need a picture of everything”…I kick myself inside as I no she would love to show our kids and her fifth grade students come Monday.

After gutting and tagging, I drag the deer the short distance to the camp and hang it up. Despite the fact we have got no pictures yet, I tell Janet I would like to use our next hour to get this deer cooling.” Do what you have to do, the meat is the important thing”. Janet pulls a chair up and takes a book out of her pack and begins reading while I get to work. The skinning is easy with such a warm deer; I take the hide to the wound high on the neck and cut it off. “Perfect shot” I say to her…like we bought this from a store. The doe has some fat but not much, since I started planting food plots for the deer I really like to gauage how healthy they are druing this porcess, her kidneys did have fat build-up around them which is a good sign. This one fed a bit up here, although the cameras say not recently.

I notice Janet reading her book intently and just taking in the great Fall morning sunny, chilly but beautiful as it filter thru the leaves…this is a perfect moment I think. he book is “Nights in Rodanthe”..which currently has a movie out. Knowing it is a bit of a romance novel..I say “ I bet Richard Geer never skinned her deer”…she laughs. I get the deer covered in a cheesecloth game sack and it begins to cool, I get cleaned up a bit and the time has come to take Janet down the hill to her car and get her on her way. The ride down is nice and I think about how lucky I am to have just spent the morning I did with the woman I married. Like I said it is not very often her and I get anytime alone, let alone time like we just spent on a hill that was both our dreams to own. I get her to the road, and give her another hug and she heads off to be Mom again.

I turn and look at the hill, it is just past 11 so lots of day left, so with the bucks on the rut move this morning I decide to head back up and rattle and grunt some. Back at the camp I grab my bow and other gear and head out. I have been getting many bear pictures on my trail cam this year including a momma with 4 cubs, although they have been fewer since the blackberries have disappeared. I think about the deer hanging at the camp in the middle of the clear-cut and tell myself it will be OK nothing will bother it while I am away. I pass my morning stand and decide to head down to the big double stand on the bench below so that I can stretch out a bit with all my gear and just take in the rest of the day. As I clear the rim to head down onto the bench I immediately notice a black form that is out of place. Sure enough there is Mom with 4 little cubs running and jumping and tumbling behind her. Tiny little things. I think of my wife now at home and our 3 kids are likely doing the same behind her as she runs them from here to there. Then my mind suddenly reminds me of that hanging deer at camp that is the direction they are headed. So I retreat back the trail and decide I will load up the deer and take it down to the camper by the road and hang it so it is safer, then just hunt down by the fields. I get to camp and get everything loaded. I clear the first bend in the trail and just about where the gut pile is and there they are coming up the trail…momma don’t like the apporaching form and turns and goes back into the slashings..I creep by on the ATV and hope that I don’t scare her off too much as I’d much rather have them get first pickings up above then any others, raising 4 cubs has to be tough. I clear the area and head down the trail, about 100 yards downhill I make out a deer rump on the trail quite a ways down. I pull over the four wheeler, check my backtrack in case the bear picked up the sweet scent of the fresh meat being carted by then grab my bow and grunt tube and sneak down the trail. The rump does not look huge so my guess is the deer is younger. I get about 60 yards from him and he backs up onto the trail, I drop to my knee but have no cover so he notices me. He flicks his tail and just walks into the clearcut, the section I happen to leave for a sanctuary. I see a cut oak stump right off the trail that should give me a better view of the hillside, I jump up on it and grunt a few times figuring he may just think I am a buck. The crunching of the leaves tells me he is coming, and I see him going thru the briars and look ahead to find an opening. He gets there and stops…about 35 yards with just the neck and head visible, I look over the rack and he is a nice 4 point with G2’s about 8” high, he has a small crab claw on the end of one beam (not an inch) and a bump for a browtine on the opposite side. A nice young buck and I curse myself again for forgetting the camera as he just stands and looks around amongst the colored leaves. He wanders off into the thick and I start to worry about the deer laying on the ATV and the bears, so I head back up to it and continue my way down to the camper and hang the deer on the meatpole there.

Time is about 1:30 now and I hike the trail and settle in a stand that is at a good evening crossing. I do a few series of rattling and grunting, but get no response. I start to think about where I should finish up the day and my cell phone hums..it is Janet asking if I am hunting til dark. She says that the B-ball game went well, and she is making stew and wants to celebrate her doe, and watch the Penn Sate game. I look around the woods and tell her I will be home soon…after all its Mother’s Day.





Well I unfortunately have no pics of the deer, I guess this pic of Janet and the Backstraps will have to do.
 

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Congrats to the Booster flock! Way to go!
 

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Congrats to Mrs. Booster


And great story, John!
 

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Congrats, excellent story. You almost gave me a heart attack though when I read the title of this topic, thought I forgot to send a card until I checked the calendar!
 

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Great account Rooster
made me feel as if i've been on "your hill" before! congrats to the Mrs. i've not yet persuaded my better half to take up hunting but she does enjoy our walks in the woods, spotting, and especially fishing. i think once the kids are a little older and things slow down a bit she'll give it a shot. Good luck to your clan the rest of the season!
 

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Congrats to Janet!
 

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very nice nice story i enjoyed it alot , rooster thanks for sharing that, and congrats to your lady.on a fine doe . what a great way to spend mothers day. PERFECT!!!
 

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Congrats to the BOSS HEN.....Hats off and a WELL DONE to her with fresh venison in the freezer. Having some child-free time alone for both of you is great, but the harvest is icing on the cake. It's a shame about the camera...Oh, well, you two can enjoy the memories shared for a long time.

Continued success......Zumer
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks All...the day certainly seems to have grown in importance to us as we headed back into the daily grind this week.

Opening day of deer (and also the first Saturday) will find Janet and I back on the hill together again and staying at the camp for the overnight as well, but this time we will have our 11 year old son John there too as he tries to make it 2 in a row on bucks...looking forward to that
Since I will be mentoring John again no gun for me those days,but I won't miss it one bit.
 

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Post scared me too, thought I forgot to take mom to dinner. Great story! And congrats to your wife. Seems like ya'll have a pretty sweet setup


... now its your turn!
 
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