© Rankton LLC Copyrighted Material 1988,1990-1998, 2000 - 2016

Harvesting My First

Whitetail

contributed by Kip

"My step-dad lent me a light-weight sleeping bag, which came almost to my shoulders..." email: Kip@abZorba.com

...the deer I got...

...the deer I wanted...

Now, more than a quarter of a century later, after what seems like innumerable lessons, confidence is a lot easier for me to find. The hunter and the hunted are part of the cycle of life. Sometimes I take meat and some great stories home. More often though, the hunted, who live “out there” beyond my desk, are the ones chuckling over the human they outwitted. I’m OK with that too.   Do, Be, Live. If you don’t move, you’ll rust.

And Early Lessons Learned

It’s November 1981 and I’d been hunting Whitetail deer in Minnesota for 11 years and hadn’t gotten off a single shot at a deer. I’d shadowed a few friends and listened to countless lessons that “would bring me success”. I’d hunted with other friends while they unleashed a fusillade of lead downrange and even hit a few deer, but I’d been skunked year after year. Where were the deer that they saw? Where there really any deer in the woods at all? This year I’m standing on a rickety stand in the middle of an aspen grove. The leaves hadn’t fully fallen that year, and for a hundred yards all around me, the forest was golden in the midday. I was mesmerized by the woods, and it started me thinking about how I came to be standing here.

It all started with a winter scouting trip...

My first woodland experience, and almost my last, was a bit harsh and I was in trouble from the words, “Sure, I’ll go”. I’d just, unwittingly, agreed to go winter camping in December in Minnesota with a group of Eagle Scouts. My high school buddy, Roland took me, a city kid, into the winter woods to camp. I hope you can see where this is leading. Did I mention I was in trouble? My step-dad lent me a light-weight sleeping bag, which came almost to my shoulders. My “winter gear” consisted of a middleweight jacket, dress gloves, stocking cap, street shoes and short, rubber slip-on boots. Beyond digging the snow out of my shoes, I had no idea how deep in trouble I was. I toughed it out that day, helping to build two lean-to’s, digging a trench in the snow between them for the fire at night and throwing down straw to insulate the sleeping bags. Later that night I was brought into the warm cabin after waking the whole group with my chattering teeth. Roland’s dad had the cabin toasty hot from the pot belly stove. I learned some valuable lessons my first night under the stars. I learned the extreme value of being prepared, and most importantly, that survival was habit forming. I also learned to love the touch of wool after being wrapped in it. I have to admit that countless more lessons came after years of contemplation, surviving mistakes, and jawboning in the cabin around the glowing pot belly stove. It may not surprise anyone, but I’ve never gone winter camping again.

I’m back in the golden aspen woods...

I must’ve been a slow learner that after so many years, I’d just begun to see deer. Now, I find it amazing how they stand out in the woods. Before, the deer seemed magical. They were suddenly there, and they didn’t even twinkle when they appeared. That day too, I thought I was watching for deer, I’m sure I was. I blinked and, there was a fork buck, 35 yards away and staring right at me. He probably didn’t know what I was, just a bright spot in the tree. I guess we were both first timers, but I was the one with the gun. I harvested my first buck that year. Through those first eleven seasons I learned; I read a lot and listened hard to what did and didn’t work for my fellow hunters. I made plenty of embarrassing mistakes. I learned about clothing, tracking, how to “see” in the woods, shooting and mostly about being prepared. My first deer brought me great satisfaction.
abZorba Hunting - Camping - Fishing
© Copyrights 1988, 1990-1999, 2000-2006, 2010-2016 Leatrice Productions Unlimited, Inc

Harvesting My

First Whitetail

contributed by Kip

"My step-dad lent me a light-weight sleeping bag, which came almost to my shoulders..." email: Kip@abZorba.com

...and Early Lessons Learned

It’s November 1981 and I’d been hunting Whitetail deer in Minnesota for 11 years and hadn’t gotten off a single shot at a deer. I’d shadowed a few friends and listened to countless lessons that “would bring me success”. I’d hunted with other friends while they unleashed a fusillade of lead downrange and even hit a few deer, but I’d been skunked year after year. Where were the deer that they saw? Where there really any deer in the woods at all? This year I’m standing on a rickety stand in the middle of an aspen grove. The leaves hadn’t fully fallen that year, and for a hundred yards all around me, the forest was golden in the midday. I was mesmerized by the woods, and it started me thinking about how I came to be standing here.

It all started with a winter scouting trip...

My first woodland experience, and almost my last, was a bit harsh and I was in trouble from the words, “Sure, I’ll go”. I’d just, unwittingly, agreed to go winter camping in December in Minnesota with a group of Eagle Scouts. My high school buddy, Roland took me, a city kid, into the winter woods to camp. I hope you can see where this is leading. Did I mention I was in trouble? My step-dad lent me a light-weight sleeping bag, which came almost to my shoulders. My “winter gear” consisted of a middleweight jacket, dress gloves, stocking cap, street shoes and short, rubber slip-on boots. Beyond digging the snow out of my shoes, I had no idea how deep in trouble I was. I toughed it out that day, helping to build two lean-to’s, digging a trench in the snow between them for the fire at night and throwing down straw to insulate the sleeping bags. Later that night I was brought into the warm cabin after waking the whole group with my chattering teeth. Roland’s dad had the cabin toasty hot from the pot belly stove. I learned some valuable lessons my first night under the stars. I learned the extreme value of being prepared, and most importantly, that survival was habit forming. I also learned to love the touch of wool after being wrapped in it. I have to admit that countless more lessons came after years of contemplation, surviving mistakes, and jawboning in the cabin around the glowing pot belly stove. It may not surprise anyone, but I’ve never gone winter camping again.

I’m back in the golden aspen woods...

I must’ve been a slow learner that after so many years, I’d just begun to see deer. Now, I find it amazing how they stand out in the woods. Before, the deer seemed magical. They were suddenly there, and they didn’t even twinkle when they appeared. That day too, I thought I was watching for deer, I’m sure I was. I blinked and, there was a fork buck, 35 yards away and staring right at me. He probably didn’t know what I was, just a bright spot in the tree. I guess we were both first timers, but I was the one with the gun. I harvested my first buck that year. Through those first eleven seasons I learned; I read a lot and listened hard to what did and didn’t work for my fellow hunters. I made plenty of embarrassing mistakes. I learned about clothing, tracking, how to “see” in the woods, shooting and mostly about being prepared. My first deer brought me great satisfaction. Now, more than a quarter of a century later, after what seems like innumerable lessons, confidence is a lot easier for me to find. The hunter and the hunted are part of the cycle of life. Sometimes I take meat and some great stories home. More often though, the hunted, who live “out there” beyond my desk, are the ones chuckling over the human they outwitted. I’m OK with that too.   Do, Be, Live. If you don’t move, you’ll rust.

...the deer I got...

...the deer I wanted...

abZorba Hunting - Camping - Fishing