I shot my first deer ever......
Not too long ago, I just started hunting. For a long time I was trying to find somebody i could tag along just to get exposed to hunting, without luck. Eventually I thought I have to take matter in my own hands and studied even more extensively the FWC web site, got quota permits for Three Lakes, Big Cypress...... I equipped myself with needed things.
I had the opportunity for a few times to get out into the woods and experience wildlife, I saw wildlife, hog, deer, bear..... never got to shoot anything, not in archery season, not in muzzle-loader season, not in general gun season.
Just accidentally I found a little note in an FWC informational email that there is a new-hunter-weekend in the northern part of Florida. Since the price tag was low I immediately signed up even though I didn't know at the time if my schedule allowed it.
Anyways, this camp was the absolute hit!!!! I learned so much there. The organization sponsoring this camp is FHF 'The Future of Hunting in Florida' (thefutureofhunting.org).
It was three days (Fri - Sun, 01.04 - 01.06), primitive camping (not so my thing, therefore I took a RV trailer up there). I had quite a drive up there since I'm from far down in FL. that was OK, that was definitely worth it!!!!
I arrived Friday afternoon and about 1 hour later i was already in a tree stand til the evening!! Every morning before sunrise and every evening before sun set we were in a different tree stand (they have about 15 tree stands set up on their lease property).
I saw wildlife every time i was in the stand, not legal to shoot, not a good shot - so i didn't. Until Saturday afternoon - I got in my tree stand, the sun was starting to make its angle downwards, it is so beautiful there, chilling cold, wildlife noise all around you which you are trying identify. Suddenly there it is, a deer shows up out of the brushes. I take my binocular and make a little noise, the deer's head moved into my direction and looks seemingly concerned. Not a big eight pointer - OK, not a young buck which is not legal to shoot but it is a doe which is OK to shoot according to the hunt-master. At this point it was facing its front towards me, about a hundred yards away, standing still and look into my direction. My heart was pounding, adrenaline trembling my body, keep calm I thought to myself, otherwise it will be gone. I decided not to shoot since it didn't give me it's broadside. With my rifle in position I patiently observed the deer and it eventually presented it's broadside to me. That is the moment I thought, my heart is pounding even harder now. I'm still hesitant to pull the trigger. My mind goes through everything, its legal, distance - preferably closer but definitely in my comfort zone - I think that is it!!! I eventually pull the trigger!!! If i hadn't, I'm sure I would have made too much noise and scared it away!!
The deer jumped and disappeared in brushes behind it where it came from and I lost track pretty quickly. The hunt master told us, if there is a shot, I want a text or call!! He said: 'Sit on tied there in your stand, we give it some time and track it later. There is a big buck in your area, if you see it - kill it!!" So I waited, tried to tame my excitement and the urge to track my shot. As time passed I heard buck grunting and I thought ' Wow, do I really get the second opportunity?!!' However just then I heard the UTV approaching and knew that the buck would be spooked away.
The hunt master told me to stay in the tree stand and to show them where I shot the deer, when they approached the spot and found blood, I saw all thumbs up and I went down to track.
According to the blood spatter I was told that the shot was placed very well. The hunt master asked then: 'You know what to look for now!?' and I answered 'Yes, blood, tissue and follow the track', which we did. When I looked up, he said: 'No, please keep your eyes down on the ground and track!!'
Then I saw it laying there, on the ground, about 20 to 30 yards away from the spot I shot it. I indeed had a good shot placement.
This moment makes you feel proud even though you took a creatures life. I apologized to the deer for taking it's life but also explained that it will serve some good meals to us!! Also we all know that deer management is a good thing.
We eventually went ahead to clean the deer and I ended up with nice meat in my cooler.
This whole hunting camp experience was a great success!! All things I learned, the people participated and the hunt master (s) who managed the camp, prepared meals and took good care of us. I would participate again at any time.
In the past (as they will in the future) they had camps for youth and I'm pretty sure they also do a very good job in introducing the youth to hunting.
In times between the tree stand we got educated, an FWC officer joined for lunch and educated about hunting ethics, did some clay shooting and we had nice bonfire discussions. There was a target setup in case you needed to sight in your rifle.
The future of hunting in Florida stays alive!!!