2007 Deer season was my first season of hunting any animal.  I got 3 weekends to hunt in our local park.
First weekend was the first weekend in October…95 degrees sitting in a tree being packed off by stand by mosquitoes. This was a bad first hunt for a guy!  By the time I got back that night, my back was covered in bites.  Second weekend (November) a small doe came in, but too far off to take a shot.  Pretty disheartening, really.
3rd weekend (January), I am sitting in a blind.  I get there about an 1 hour before sunrise and fall asleep in the chair.  I wake up just before dawn, but with enough light to see (and during legal shooting hours).  I awake about 2 minutes when 6 doe come barreling over the hill coming right for me.  I immediately crap myself and try to remember what I am supposed to do. Oh yeah!  The bow.  I slide off my chair and onto my knees, grab my bow and wait for my opening.  A couple smaller does are running around chasing each other.  Being the greedy guy I am, I am only watching the biggest doe here.  She was nice.  Probably 3 – 3 1/2 year old doe by my untrained eyes (she gets older/bigger every time I tell this story).  I decide that she is going to be the one to make me into a full fledged hunter.
By this time, I have 2 does at about 15 yards, 2 at 40 yards, and 1 at 20 yards.  But the one I have my eye on, the big one, is at 30 yards… and behind a tree.  I am trying to be patient and control my breathing.  I swear the 2 at 15 yards hear me and start to look my way.  I notice them staring at me and I decide to hold my breath.  Bad idea.  That just makes me start to breathe harder after I can’t hold it any longer.  Much to my surprise they go back to chasing each other again.  I decide to move a little to my left so I can get a better angle on my big doe when she steps out from the tree.  Then terror strikes.  When I start to move my knees to scoot over…I hear this awful sound that can only be described as velcro.  I slowly turn my head thinking my jacket is caught on something, but it wasn’t.  I try it again.  Again the nightmarish sound louder than a 12 guage.   I look up and thankfully none of the does notice.  I try it one more time, but this time very slowly. Sound is still there, but now I know where it is coming from.  My knees of my pants are stuck to the frozen ground.  Am I destined to fail at deer hunting?  I keep moving slowly, keeping the sound as quiet as possible, and eventually get them free.  I scoot over and am now looking through an opening in the blind.  Now sitting where I think I have the best shot, I see the doe start to move forward.  Game time, baby.  I lift my bow and draw back the shakiest draw I have ever made.  Breathing becomes even louder and faster, and I can’t believe they don’t hear me.  I have a decent shooting lane, except I have to shoot over this small branch about 5 feet in front of the blind.  Not a problem, I have been practicing since last winter and feel confident in my shooting ability.  I finally get to full draw.  She still isn’t out all the way.  Vitals are only halfway out from behind the tree, so I have to wait.  No problem, I have been practicing holding my draw since last winter and feel confident in my ablility.  About an hour later (probably 25 seconds, really) she is completely out from behind this tree.  Fantastic.  This is the moment I have worked for all season.  I pick my spot.  “Aim small, Miss small” as the elders in my hunting group always say.  No problem, I have been practicing since last winter and feel confident in my shooting ability.  I let her fly.
But I make a mistake.  A mistake I am sure many beginners make.  Something I have been practicing since last winter.  Something I felt confident about.  I got excited.  I “peeked”.  When the release let the arrow fly, I peeked over the bow to see where the arrow went.  I dropped my bow just enough to see.  I didn’t do what I practiced since last winter to do.  I didn’t follow through, by keeping the bow up.  The arrow came out below where I planned, and hit that small branch 5 feet in front of my blind.  It ricocheted off that branch and flew 2 feet in front of the big does face.  To my horror I saw all 6 doe look up, and run.  My heart drops into my boots and shoulders go limp.  Disappointment at it’s worst. 

But wow, what a rush!  I have never felt like that before.  Even missing the shot completely, the rush was indescribable.  Maybe this is what hunting is really about.  That was worth all the mosquito bites.  That was worth the sore butt from sitting 12 hours in a tree.  That rush was the most intense feeling I have ever felt.  And that was a doe!  I can not even fathom a big buck walking past my stand.  Even having completely missed my shot, the smile wrapped across my face is fantastic.  That rush has just made me a full fledged hunting addict.  My record 0 – 1.  But wait until next season.