New hunter overcomes challenges to claim her first buck.
The 2015 hunting season turned out to be one of the most incredible experiences of my life.
I was 64 at the time and had only taken up hunting in 2012, when I retired from my nursing career due to significant health issues.
That fall, I received a crossbow for my birthday, and that was when hunting took on a whole new meaning.
Sitting in a ground blind, I discovered how the woods literally comes to life. The sights, sounds and smells caused me to revel in the new mystery of the woods.
The first evening, I was startled by a grand 8-pointer only 15 yards from the blind. I moved too quickly, and he darted away. All I saw was his white tail waving goodbye. I was disappointed as my heart continued to race, but I had fallen in love with the woods and couldn’t wait to come back.
I was determined to get a buck like that one and decided to name my dream buck Mr. Buckster.
I headed to the woods every day possible and continued to experience mysterious wonders there. I saw many Mr. Buckster candidates, but none offered a shot.
When the beautiful fall colors began to turn to drab browns, I began to grow weary. But giving up was not an option. Rifle season was approaching, and I knew I wanted to continue hunting.
The second day of gun season, I became extremely tired and had to go home to rest. I fell into a deep sleep, and when I awoke I had a powerful feeling that I would shoot my buck that day. I was so certain that I sat down and wrote this:
“Mr. Buckster, I know that you feel like the victor. You have stayed one step ahead of me, and you sense that I am beaten. Yes, I am feeling quite weary, and this has been difficult, but you have underestimated my conviction. Things will be different now. It is our time, and tonight belongs to me. Game on!”
Six hours after writing my letter to Mr. Buckster, I got him. I quickly got him in my scope when he stepped out of the woods, and while I knew he was far away, I also knew that he was my Mr. Buckster. The first shot was probably enough, but I wasn’t taking any chances.
Mr. Buckster turned out to be a 16-pointer with 165 inches of antler.
It wasn’t great shooting ability that made that long shot possible. It had been revealed to me in a dream that I would shoot my buck that day, and it was by the grace of God that I got him. I believe God had my whole season planned out. He had lessons for me to learn, and He wanted to teach me about His glory in the great outdoors.
Mr. Buckster represents a lot of things to me. Most importantly, that disabilities can’t hold you back when something is meant to happen. I thank Him, and the people like Ryan Olson and Dean Johnson who helped make that dream possible!
I wish to share my story to with people who feel they cannot hunt. There is no disability or challenge you cannot overcome. Persevere in faith!
Addendum: When I finally saw Mr. Buckster again at the taxidermist, I was overcome with emotion. I was awestruck as I gazed at this phenomenal deer. When we got home, I had more time – time to look him over calmly and recall our journey and how it ended. We were brought together at just the right moment.
To anyone who might have limitations but wants to hunt: Stay solid in your decision and pray for the persistence you will need. Face the challenge head-on, because even with help it’s up to you to make it happen. Have the courage to reach out to other hunters, because you will be surprised by their willingness to lend a hand.
True hunters want to see others succeed. Remember, victory comes from within and doesn’t always mean a big buck. Your reward might be something as simple as a glorious sunset.
Challenge yourself to grow into loving this sport and Mother Nature. That is when the unexpected will be yours to claim. Take it, and give thanks for all that hunting will teach you.
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