Most Memorable Hunt: My most memorable hunt would hands down be when I harvested my first buck. It wasn't a buck with an incredible score or anything most would write home about. But for me, the experience itself was something I'd been waiting for. I'd been an athlete all my life and felt a huge void ever since college had ended. I'd immersed myself in the outdoors, hiking, learning survival tactics, and my favorite: living off the land. I wasn't raised in a family of hunters. But I was raised to work hard, to train myself to be tough no matter the physical conditions, and to appreciate the land. So, when I began hunting, I was learning from scratch. I was using my intuitions, but every book, magazine, and Youtube video I could find, I'd pour into them. I was able to make a few connections, but it mostly came from persistence and drive. I had already dropped my first doe two seasons before, and had been walked through the process of field dressing it. Then I took it in to be processed. When I went home, I started reading on the processing step, and realized I just cut myself short of an opportunity to learn. And to harvest my own deer all myself. I knew my next kill would need to be something I did entirely myself. But that's who I am. If it's feasible for me to do, you better bet I'll give it a shot.
I hadn't had a ton of time that season to hunt due to practices. But I'd made it out every time I could. It was about an hour within shooting light, and I was starting to get frustrated. My neighbors were having target practice a ways down. I figured no deer would even be moving across my path. But low and behold, a herd of 3 deer started making their way. I lined up, set him up in my scope, and click. Nothing. I had gotten so excited I hadn't cycled the bolt. After fixing my error, I struggled to find him again. I had to turn around the tree stand I was in. Adrenaline was pumping. When I finally spotted him, he was walking right past a tree. Boom. He ran about 20 yards and dropped. When I found him it was beginning to get dark. I called my mom, too excited to talk straight, which of course made her think there'd been an accident. Her only question was where we would put all the meat. Dad brought the tractor down, and we drug that big boy home to gut it, skin it, then I borrowed my uncle's meat processor, and processed that entire deer. and did my own European skull mount. I watched my share of tutorials that week. And realized how blessed I was to have friends I'd met via social media that I could contact about silly little questions. It was an accomplishment to me to be able to know I could fully take care of an entire deer.
Favorite Game to Eat and how to Prepare it: My favorite game to eat would have to be my venison. I absolutely love to cook, so I'm always trying new recipes. My favorite with it so far is the backstraps cut up, wrapped in bacon, sprinkled with brown sugar, and cooked in my cast iron skillet
Favorite Game to Chase: For me, I'd have to say my addiction is bowfishing. However, there is nothing like dropping a deer. The rush from both is a completely different feeling. Yet so exhilarating. As I advance as a hunter, I'm sure things will develop and I will set my sights on new animals to chase, but nothing will compare to the experience of dropping a deer on the land that built who I am today.