Confessions from My First Hunt: A Female View of Hunting and Taking the Shot
BAM! The rifle shot exploded in my ears, and the recoil made me stumble back a little, braced though I was. He went down, then leaped back up! Oh, no! My stomach lurched....I had to shoot again, even though I was pretty sure I hit him the first time, someplace. He fell again. We were far enough away, we couldn't tell how he was doing.
So Mr. V. and I went after him on foot. Except. He had disappeared! Was this some cosmic joke? I felt sick to my stomach. We searched and searched for about an hour. Where could he have gone? Finally, there he was, a good 50 yards from where he had been shot. Finally he was dispatched.
Mr. V. was euphoric.
I felt sick.
I cried, tears pouring down my face. When my husband turned to me and asked me to take the requisite hunting pride picture, he saw the tears streaming down my face, and told me, "It's o.k." He told me later he'd have that look on my face indelibly imprinted in his mind forever. It's not a look he ever wants to see again, he said.
So, please don't expect to see me in the usual smiling picture over my trophy. That's not how I view this. In fact, I had some reflecting to do, about the whole hunting trip.
I love animals. I hate pain.
So, you would think that hunting would NOT be part of my lexicon or experiences. Here's the thing, though: I grew up with a father, uncles, sons, and other family who hunted. Every year, the men would wait for deer season with bated breath. And now, my husband does too. Elk, deer, antelope, it doesn't matter. And I appreciate this, because our belief is to hunt for meat for the family to eat. It's not for sport, or meanness, or cruelty. It's always been to feed the family.
Here in Nevada, the competition for hunting tags has become unbelievable. If you get one tag, you are heroically congratulated. If you don't, well, that's the way it rolls. It didn't used to be this way. It used to be that it was very easy to get more than one tag for one or more animals.
This last year, after three consecutive years of not drawing a tag, Mr. V. asked me to take the Hunter Safety Course and put in for tags. As a new hunter, I was fairly guaranteed to draw out. So, I took the course. He put in for me on the computer with the Nevada Department of Wildlife. As luck would have it, I was the only one of us who drew a tag. He was happy. I tried to block it out til the last minute.
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Confessions from My First Hunt
1) I Believe in Hunting
Because I was raised in a family with a value system of raising your own food, hunting your own food, and living off the land, I learned that hunting animals for food has a valuable place in our world. It's how things have always been done.
And it's been all fine and good...until now. See, the men bring home the meat. I, the woman, prepare and fix the meat. Call me sexist, anti-feminist, whatever. It's just that this has been the way it always has been in my family. My dad brought home a deer. It hung in the back yard for a few days. Then he processed it. And my mom wrapped it up, and later cooked it throughout the winter. That's it.
But this year, I hunted.
I won't lie. It kind of did a mind-trip on me.
My value system, though, reminds me that hunting for our food is good. It's decent. It's our way of life, has been for centuries, and hopefully always will be.
2) The Adrenaline Rush....
Oh. My. Gosh. I can't describe how I got the shakes after shooting at that pronghorn. I guess that's the feeling that keeps people going in fight or flight stress responses.
Then you have to keep going! It makes you not get too upset...It's kind of like you are outside yourself or something. It's almost numbing. You see what you are doing almost through a third person view. It's weird.
When I got back into myself, and realized what was happening, I crumbled. That's when we started our search for an hour for the pronghorn. That's when I started my praying in earnest.
Mr. V. asked me what I was most worried about with this hunt. I had told him my biggest fear was not the killing of the animal, but the potential of injuring it and having it run off to suffer. That's my biggest fear. It still is.
So, when that was the thing that actually happened----I had more than the effects of the adrenaline rushing going on. It was desperation. We were NOT stopping until we found that little antelope.
At any rate, I've not felt a feeling like that since after I birthed my children. You know...the shakes. The "I can't believe it's over."
3) I Don't Think I'm a Hunter, But I Will Be, If I Need To Be
OK. I believe in hunting. I believe in harvesting our own animals. Luckily, I'm married to a man who has no problems with either of these things. Because...I can't do them. Not really. Not yet.
Mr. V. does all the killing/slaughtering/harvesting....whatever euphemism you want to call it. He brings me the meat. I prepare it. It's all good. I'm very grateful and thankful.
But when he asked me to hunt this year, I thought it would be fine. I thought I'd have no problem with it. It didn't go like that, though.
I'm glad I did this hunt. I discovered some things about myself. I learned I have some big weaknesses. In fact, I'm wondering if an intruder came into our house, would I be able to pull the trigger? I hope so.
Going on this hunt made me realize I need to harden up a lot. I need to live my belief system. I can't just believe in hunting and not be able to go out and do it, if need be. What if Mr. V. was laid up, and we needed meat? I have to be able to get out there and take care of business, if I need to.
4) Confidence: I Need to Develop It
I'm a decent shot. I practice. But shooting a moving animal is a lot different than shooting a still target. And shooting a live creature is WAY more different.
Therefore, I need to get out and practice even more. I need to not be so smug about my abilities.
In fact, taking this a step further, Mr. V. and I need to practice drills for survivalism. Going through the steps of what to do in this situation and that situation will translate very well into a hunting scenario.
Practice makes perfect.
I've been told that the first time you shoot an animal, you either get used to it and it becomes easier, or you are a person who just can't do it. I'm not saying one is better or worse than the other.
For me, I hope I'm the first person. Not that I enjoy killing. I DON'T. However, in a true survival situation, more power goes to the person with confidence and belief.
Final Thoughts on My Confessions of My First Hunt
I want to be a good wife. I want to be a self-reliant person, as much as possible. I want to be able to take care of myself. I want to be able to obtain our food if the need arises.
My deficiencies are pretty glaring in my face after this hunt. I don't want my husband feeling bad about my sorry feelings over doing something I believe to be honorable and good.
I just need to improve and get better. And maybe be a little tougher.
As I write this, I have antelope bone broth simmering on the stove. It's going on it's second day of simmering, and it will be healthy and good. We've already eaten a roast, and we have pounds more meat put away in our freezer for later. Not only is this meat lean, tender, delicious, but it is clean. It's healthy. It's meat I can feel good about serving people I love.
I welcome your comments and input. Leave your thoughts in the comments section!
If you are interested in survivalism and preparedness, you might like these articles: What Every Gal Needs in Her Get Home Bag, Why You Must Keep a Seed Bank, Stop Bleeding Fast: Make Your Own Quikclot---and there are many more on the website!
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Thank you for reading and being here!
Hugs & Self-Reliance,
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